Would you like to watch a heartwarming and romantic film this winter season? Perhaps “Christmas in August” is the one for you. It’s not a typical merry and festive movie that you would see in most holiday films. This movie may leave you feeling sad, but it’s guaranteed to warm your heart and make you appreciate the little things in life.

“Christmas in August” is a classic film from 1998 and is one of the most popular romance films in Korea. After its theatrical release in January 2014, it amassed 4 million moviegoers which was (and still is) a huge number. It received many accolades; the director and screenwriter received multiple recognition at major year end film award shows. In addition, Shim Eun Ha (the lead actress) received the ‘Best Actress’ award at the Blue Dragon Film Awards, and Han Suk Gyu (the lead actor) received a nomination for the ‘Best Actor’ award.

It left such an impact that it was re-released in theaters in 2003. Japan made their own version of the film in 2005 with the same movie title.

“Christmas in August” tells the love story of a photographer, Jung Won, a man in his 30s who owns a photography studio. He has a terminal illness that could kill him at any moment. One day, a young woman, Da Rim (a parking agent working for the city government), walks into the studio to have a photo enlarged in order to show proof of a parking violation. Little did he expect that she would come into his life, and that he would become her first love. He has already accepted his fate that he could die at any moment and is peaceful with his life as well as with himself. Da Rim, on the other hand, is an easy-going, optimistic, and youthful person who approaches Jung Won with curiosity. She asks him nosy questions such as why he isn’t married and the like. She has no filter but is a genuine and innocent person. Compared to Da RimJung Won is more reserved. However, both are caring people and there are a lot of cute moments in the movie that show how kind-hearted and caring they are. There are no dramatic scenes nor any exchange of ‘”I love you” between the two leads. He is happy that she came into his life, but he is in a situation where he can neither stop her from approaching him nor prevent her from leaving him.

The plot is not as deep or as dramatic as other melodramas; it won’t make you cry buckets. Instead, it is more of a pure love story that will make you feel soft this holiday season.

The main characters’ acting are very natural and show their personalities well. Han Suk Gyu is known as the king of romance movies. He has a soft and soothing voice that is suitable for this genre. Shim Eun Ha is known for her “first love” image that she portrays in many of her roles. She effectively shows how Da Rim’s pure love for Jung Won blossomed over time.

“Christmas in August” begins in August and ends on Christmas. Though it takes place in a shabby town, it still has its charms. You can see the town’s lovely scenery and the change of seasons throughout the film with its display of summer rain, autumn leaves, and light snow flurries. I like the beautiful and poignant melody during the emotional scenes such as when Jung Won sees Da Rim through the glass wall in the coffee shop, but he is unable to approach her.

This movie presents a profound message — life is precious and daily experiences should be appreciated. Jung Won treasures his day-to-day occurrences such as watching the television with his dad, eating meals with his family, and going out with friends. He tries to make the most of his life. Even though he is ill, he never loses his passion for photography. He diligently takes portraits of his customers in his studio and works to ensure that he edits the pictures to the best of his abilities. He believes that photos create wonderful memories, and that these memories should be treasured.

So how does this authentic love story end? Watch the film to find out. It’s not for those who are looking for action or comedy nor is it for those who are looking for strong Christmas themes such as the existence of Santa Claus, reindeer, the exchanging of presents and such. If you want to feel moved and learn to appreciate the wonders of life, I would strongly recommend watching this movie. It’s a masterpiece with a brilliant plot demonstrating how pure love develops between two people. Their stories are guaranteed to uplift you in this cold, wintry season.

Plot: 8.75/10
Cinematography: 9/10
Acting: 9.5/10
Sound: 9/10