A Good Film That Never Quite Reaches Its Potential
I have a real soft spot for Korean dramas. Hotel Del Luna’s ending made me sob uncontrollably, Designated Survivor: 60 Days had me gasping during big plot reveals while Memories Of The Alhambra’s ending frustrated me more than most other shows have managed. And that’s just in 2019. When it was announced Netflix would be showcasing this Korean romance film, released earlier this year in Korea, I simply had to watch it.
Tune In For Love is an interesting film of peaks and valleys, one that manages to achieve some decent dramatic heights and touching individual moments, but falls flat far too often during long stretches of the film. Relying heavily on 90’s nostalgia and with a noticeable lack of chemistry between its two leads, Tune In For Love is a decent enough idea, despite not being wholly original, but the execution doesn’t quite hit those dramatic heights other films and shows have achieved in the past.
Our tale begins in 1994 with Hyun-Woo applying for a job at a bakery during the Christmas season. As the two slowly grow closer together, fate pulls them apart. It turns out Hyun-Woo holds a dark secret but as we jump through time, the pair continuously cross paths and separate, leading up to a climactic confrontation in the third act that sees Hyun-Woo’s secret revealed and a big decision forced upon the pair for the future. Without giving too much away, the ending is pretty good too and is certainly one of the highlights of the film.
My biggest gripe with Tune In For Love comes from the chemistry between the two leads. This year alone we’ve seen some amazing pairings in Korean dramas but unfortunately this film lacks that same spark to help it stand out. The cast do their best with the script of course but sometimes pairings just lack that X-factor to elevate a performance from good to great, and that very much feels like the case here. Don’t get me wrong, they both do well and share some memorable moments, but it’s not quite enough to really make you feel like these two are destined lovers through the ages. Still, it’s not all bad though and both protagonists certainly show off their range through this 2 hour film.
Stylistically, Tune In For Love relies heavily on its nostalgic elements and whether it be Windows 95 or specific K-pop album releases during its era-spanning soundtrack, Tune In For Love certainly does well to add some variety to proceedings. The visual cues between years is a nice touch as well, including hand-drawn segments that show the streets of Korea changing and evolving through the years, before fading back into real time again. It’s a small inclusion but certainly one that helps elevate this.
There are some nice ideas in Tune In For Love though and the story is pretty good, despite a deliberately slow pace throughout the 2 hours. Unfortunately a lack of chemistry for our two protagonists and some lacklustre plot beats hold this back from being a better title. Whilst far from being a bad film, it’s hard not to come away a little disappointed with this given how bountiful other Korean romance offerings have been this year. Still, Tune In For Love is a decent romantic offering nonetheless and worth checking out.