’20th Century Girl’ is a Korean rom-com based on Na Bo-Ra, who follows a boy on her friend’s instructions as she has a crush on him, but finds herself in the middle of her own love story. It is now streaming on Netflix.
In 1999, Na Bo-Ra (Kim Yoo-Jung) is instructed by her friend Yeon-Doo (Roh Yoon-Seo) to keep an eye on Baek Hyun-Jin (Park Jung-Woo), a boy she has a crush on before moving to the US for heart surgery.
While following him around, Bo-Ra finds the constant company of his best friend, Poong Woon-Ho (Byeon Woo-Seok). The two begin to get closer, and Bo-Ra finds herself infatuated with him, and vice-versa.
But the situation gets complicated when Yeon-Doo returns from the US, and a specific revelation threatens to unravel all the friendships and relationships.
The majority of the storyline is a flashback after Na Bo-Ra received a certain tape in 2019 that makes her reminisce about her school days.
Yoo-Jung is the star of the film, both in terms of screen time and performance. She convincingly portrays the fumbling No-Ra.
Her character comes off as extremely likeable, who always wants the best for her friends, even though she doesn’t always make the best decision.
Byeon Woo-Seok does well as Woon-Ho, her love interest. Their chemistry is apparent and helps make the film more engaging. Park Jung-Woo and Roh Yoon-Seo have less screen time but are convincing in their portrayals.
The film is set in the 1990s, and it incorporates various elements that existed during the time period; giving a sense of nostalgia to the viewers.
Right from the start, you are shown things that would be etched in your memories if you lived through that period; complete with old-school computers and pagers.
This adds freshness to the plot as well, which isn’t anything novel, but the 90s backdrop separates the film from the generic rom-coms you see today.
The various twists in the film are enough to keep the viewers engaged and the conclusion tugs at your heartstrings. The music is effective in the sentimental scenes and elevates them.
Although the time period makes it different, there are still cliches that it isn’t able to avoid. In fact, the core narrative is similar to many rom-coms of the past.
Some aspects of the films needed more explanation. The background of Woon-Ho’s parents and brother, Joseph, is never provided in detail. Joseph even features prominently towards the end of the movie and it is hard to connect with the character.
‘20th Century Girl’ is one of the better rom-coms on the platform and will definitely appeal to large sections of the viewership due to the sheer nostalgia that the narrative provides.
20th Century Girl
Director: Bang Woo-ri
Date Created: 2022-10-21 18:22