What would you do if every day since you were 18-years-old you woke up as a different person? That in the span of the time from when you fall asleep to when you wake up your sex, age, and race can change dramatically.
You’re still the same person on the inside. Even though nobody else can see it. They only see you as whoever you are that day. So, how would you live? What could your job be? Can you be in a relationship? Not to mention: what would your closet even look like?
Now flip it: what would you do if you fell in love with a person that changes completely every day? That nothing about them is the same from one day to the next. You don’t get to memorize the sound of their voice. You don’t get to see the particular way they smile. You don’t get the same comfort of when they touch you. You don’t get to get used to them, keep any part of them because it all goes away the next day.
However, you know that it is them on the inside and you know that you love them. But it’s not tangible so you search for something physical to latch on to. Even though it’s not possible because nothing physical stays.
This is what the movie The Beauty Inside a 2015 South Korean romantic comedy, based on a 2012 American social film of the same name, is about.
We watch two characters fall in love and the consequences that can happen if one of the characters physical change every day.
There are one hundred and twenty-three actors that play the lead male character Woo-Jin so it is quite fun to watch him and lead female character Yi-Soo (or E-Soo depending on the spelling) getting to know each other and going on dates. Two fun scenes to watch are when Yi-Soo and Woo-Jin are first dates and Woo-Jin stays up for 3 days so he can keep the same face. Another is when he turns into a 6-year-old boy for one of the earlier date nights.
Obviously, because this is a romantic comedy the director treats this subject lightly.
But The Beauty Inside does show some real world consequences that can happen. This is especially true for Yi-Soo who is slut-shamed by her boss and has a mental breakdown. Woo-Jin enters himself into voluntary isolation because of his physical changes by making and selling furniture online to avoid interaction with people.
Despite their own issues Yi-Soo and Woo-Jin continue their relationship and it’s not simply just because of love.
In most romantic comedies love is the fix-all balm. Any of the problems the characters have with each other is fixed because of their love for one another.
This is not true for The Beauty Inside. In the movie, love is treated as the thing that causes both happiness and suffering for Yi-Soo and Woo-Jin.
It is the reason why they are in this mess in the first place. But the reason why Yi-Soo and Woo-Jin stay together because they have an understanding and acknowledgment of the realities of their situation and relationship. This is what makes their love stay strong and why it feels real. It causes their story to be romantic but not romanticized.
The Beauty Inside is a romantic comedy that strangely has a dose of realism, morphing boyfriend aside. Because at the root of the movie it is about a couple that exits the honeymoon stage of their relationship and tries to figure out if it is a relationship they should be in.
The longer they are together problems are unearthed but it’s the acknowledgment and understanding of their problems that allows them to be together. That is why they choose to still be together and be in love. Which is nice compared to the candy glitter rainbow hearts we get from other romantic comedies.
The Beauty Inside check it out if you can and if you do make sure watch the credits. It’s quite cute.