NYAFF 2022: Perhaps Love

Directed by: Cho Eun-ji
Distributed by: Next Entertainment World

Written by Alexander Reams


I am a big fan of slapstick comedy, especially when it’s used properly. It’s used far too seldom in film and while I appreciate director Cho Eun-ji’s sophomore effort, her use of slapstick comedy is too pervasive, a similar woe to recent box office hit “Thor: Love and Thunder,” it goes for the joke too often. The film follows writer Kim Hyun (Ryu Seong-ryong) who has been victim to every writer’s fear: writer’s block. Hyun has been suffering from writer’s block for seven years, and when we meet him he is in his aforementioned seventh year of writer’s block and has a slightly skewed look on life. Hyun is still dealing with his ex-wife dating his publisher, an awkwardness that Eun-ji managed to craft without it playing as cringey, a line that is very hard for comedies to walk. Hyun’s life subsequently plays out with the goal of getting as many laughs out of the audience as possible. 

While Eun-ji partially succeeds, it comes at a cost, any moment of dramatic weight is void of importance because of the aforementioned goal of the film. Yet, her care is evident throughout, it’s obvious that she has care for these performers and their characters. I found this not only confounding because of the dramatic aspirations that “Love” has are not only voided but seemingly disrespected because of the number of times this happens. Eun-ji’s creative decisions made no sense and also rendered most of the performances inconsequential to the overall story, the slapstick comedy was well executed and did serve the purpose it was brought in for, despite nullifying the senses so that by the end nothing is shocking or surprising. “Perhaps Love” is a mediocre film that makes no use of any of the far more interesting avenues that present themselves. It is unfortunate that director Eun-ji and writer Kim Na-deul failed to mix slapstick comedy with real-life drama, but it was a valiant attempt nonetheless.

“Perhaps Love” Trailer

“Perhaps Love” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the New York Asian Film Festival.

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