Sweet and Sour is a South Korean romantic film directed by Lee Gye-byeok and starring Jang Ki-yong, Chae Soo-bin and Krystal Jung, alongside other cast members.
Lee Jang-hyeok falls in love with Jung Da-eun when he is admitted to the hospital for Hepatitis B. In the midst of being shunned by family and friends, Da-eun proves to be his saving grace. He starts doing things for her that no one would and their relationship blossoms. Later, he also promises to lose weight, which he eventually does.
When he gets a great job at a huge organisation, he thinks that his life has turned around, only there he meets Han Bo-yeong, another new recruit of the same division. Bo-yeong is a feisty woman who can do whatever it takes to rise the ranks of her new job. What will Jang-hyeok do in this situation?
Sweet and Sour, as the name suggests, is a somewhat light-hearted movie about the various situations Jang-hyeok faces in his personal and professional lives. While it’s mostly smooth-sailing with his hard-working nurse girlfriend, the sourness comes from Bo-yeong. As he goes through the various situations in his life in order to make his work life better, he learns various valuable lessons. These sweet and sour moments turn out to be the building blocks of his life.
However, things don’t always go the same and Jang-hyeok’s tough work schedule and the fact that he has to travel a lot puts a strain on his relationship. On the other hand, successfully working on different projects with Bo-yeong strengthens their relationship.
However, if you had made up your mind about Sweet and Sour after watching the situation unfold till now, then you’re in for a whammy. The film totally gives a googly at the last minute and you’re left to wonder what the hell you watched till now. Not going to lie, I was totally blindsided by the revelation and was absolutely taken by surprise. It made watching this drama even better and I couldn’t help smile.
Having said that though, Sweet and Sour doesn’t do anything with the great twist that it gives us. The film rises to create that twist, does everything to make us understand how it fooled us but afterwards, it just ends awkwardly without a lesson or saying anything in particular. That’s a shame because I kind of enjoyed the film till now – sure, other than the twist it doesn’t do anything too new, but it still could’ve done well with the twist had it landed the ending.
Sweet and Sour is also funny at the right moments, although it shifts dramatically later and becomes brooding until the twist is revealed. The change in shift isn’t necessarily horrible, but it does dampen the overall feel. However, if you like relationship dramas and the like, that wouldn’t bother you too much.
Jang-hyuk and Da-eun as characters are twisty and not good or bad – they are both consistently on the grey area. I felt that Da-eun was self-centred and Jang-hyuk, obviously, was neglectful and gave up too soon. However, actors Jang Ki-yong and Chae Soo-bin do a great job at bringing these flawed characters to life.
Sweet and Sour would’ve done some good with taking the narrative someplace other than making the love triangle between the three leads so in-your-face. I didn’t hate it, however, after a while, it felt a bit repetitive. The pacing, too, suffers because it’s the same thing over and over again – how far can Jang-hyuk go to become the most a-hole he can be; that is what it feels like. The movie again picks up pace at the twist and the wackiness comes back, but by then it’s a tad bit late.
Summing up: Sweet and Sour
Although enjoyable, Sweet and Sour can get very gloomy in the middle. There are some very heavy themes that the film tries to deal with but fails at the end, that bring the pacing and narrative down. Had it not been for the upbeat beginning and end, I would really have been bored. That being said, it’s still enjoyable to a certain degree, and might just be your cup of tea for a one-time watch.
Does it capture the various flavours of a relationship, however? Not in my opinion.
Sweet and Sour is streaming on Netflix.
Also Read: 5 Romantic Movies Without a Happy Ending