BY HanCinema | Dec 25, 2016 07:14 AM EST
With the preparations firmly in place all there is for Yeong-hee and Cheol-soo to do now is actually get married. Surprisingly, the final steps of the process aren't actually all that intricate or difficult. I suppose this is the main advantage of the South Korean pseudo-Western wedding format. Is it impersonal? Sure. But with all the complicated planning that has to go into making a wedding happen, it can be reassuring to leave the actual ceremony to professionals who pull it off several times a week.
That's the impression "Birth of a Married Woman" gives off in totality. The project is not ambitious or unique so much as it is painstakingly universal, whatever the specifics may be in Yeong-hee and Cheol-soo's relationship. Because really, whatever minor fights they have at the last minute, what's the real reason they're getting married? Sure, Cheol-soo is not always the best communicator. But he's always right there when it counts the most.
For all Yeong-hee's worrying in the first episode about how she is getting too old to not be married (especially in comparison to all her married friends), ultimately, when we see her send out those invitations and talk about the impending nuptials, it's because she wants to. Neither Yeong-hee nor Cheol-soo is showing off or anything. They're just happy, excited, and a little scared that their lives are undergoing imminent major change.
This makes "Birth of a Married Woman" that all too rare love story, which is about the boring everyday qualities of steadfastness and faithfulness rather than the more exciting dramatic ones of action and danger. Ultimately, Yeong-hee and Cheol-soo are just simple office workers with decent working relationships. For them, restlessness in anticipation of the big day is all the excitement they can really tolerate.
These two are easy to root for even as their main difficulties are logistical rather than dramatic. So it is too that one of the surprising bright spots here is that the last two episodes end with mini-documentaries about real-life elaborate marriage proposals. Truthfully they aren't really that elaborate- but we know from what we've seen in "Birth of a Married Woman" that the simplest plans can be painstakingly exhausting to follow through on, especially when it involves very open and direct confessions of love through a microphone. Then again, if you can't do that much, why get married in the first place?
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