Burning ★★★★½

Hae-mi is eccentric, bold, charming and comfortable like a manic pixie dream girl, but she isn't one because she's not interested in Jong-su. He becomes attached though, and so instead of Hae-mi opening up Jong-su to exploration and enlightenment (the function of a tried and true manic pixie dream girl), she opens him up to obsession. A brief glimpse into connection accentuates the pain of loneliness and creates a stronger need to fill the emptiness. Jong-su is head over heals in love with Hae-mi, in a way that is decidedly not healthy. Not just seeing her with, but also being forced to hang out with a man who excels in all areas Jong-su feels he fails exponentiates that pain, and it's even someone who is, by Jong-su's standards, a bad person. But he, once again, has the wrong idea of Ben, and it's only his own flaws or loneliness that elevates his perception of Ben to something rather sinister. Ben is decidedly mysterious, but perhaps not so vile. Circumstances culminate into something perceivably nefarious, but of course that's the mystery of it all. Most of the negative reviews of this I have read seem to confuse the intricate character work for something vain and simplistic, but I think the three leads here are refreshingly real, interesting and insightful, each in their own unique way. I found this astonishingly clever. Packed to the brim with wonderful moments and capped off with a ravishing finale. Some things about it I found initially off-putting but I haven't been able to get it out of my mind and all that thinking led to realizations that this is immaculate. Cursing myself for waiting so long to watch this but it's now on Netflix for your pleasure and it's a definite must-see.

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