Nobody's Daughter Haewon ★★½

50/100

Gratifying though it is to see Hong stretching himself a bit of late, I still feel like he's running on fumes. His films are getting wispier and wispier, and here we finally see what one looks like absent the usual structural gamesmanship (though there's still some nebulous dream/reality waffling à la Night and Day). Some choice comedy early on, but dramatically it stagnates, with many scenes lurching about haphazardly as if the actors are inventing them on the spot sans guidance. It's possible that some aspects flew over my head—as a teetotaler, I'm never clear on how much soju consumption should be considered "normal" (joked to friends afterwards that this film should just be called Lady Alcoholic; for all I know, that's the point), and apparently the couple that shows up in the second half are characters from Hahaha, who I didn't recognize even though I quite liked that one. And is the professor/director's (yes, again) obsession with that hideous techno rendition of Beethoven's 7th meant to be funny, or weirdly poignant, or...? Just never got a handle on what Hong's aiming for with this. It's a shapeless experience, pleasant but enervating; my pulse never spiked.