Never Forever

"Very Good"

Never Forever Review


Despite a slightly stilted setup and a couple of cinema-style coincidences, Never Forever is a tight, sexy, and compelling melodrama that tackles some tough issues. It's the kind of date movie that will definitely give the two of you something to discuss over dinner.

Beautiful Sophie (Vera Farmiga) is happily but claustrophobically married to Andrew (Davis McInnis), a Korean-American whose devoutly religious Korean family has kept her at arm's length. The withering looks Sophie gets from that coven of hatchet-faced crones are devastating, but she gamely tries to fit in. The problem is that Sophie and Andrew can't conceive a child, and it's his fault, an unbearable humiliation for him that has driven them to fertility clinics time and time again.

Desperate to make her husband happy, especially after he tries to kill himself, Sophie asks the sperm bank to impregnate her secretly with any Korean's donation, but they won't do it without her husband's signature. How lucky, then, that she spots the handsome Korean Jihah (Jung-woo Ha) being rejected as a donor at the clinic because of his illegal immigrant status.

The desperate Jihah, who works several jobs from dry cleaning delivery boy to meat cutter in order to scrape by, is willing when Sophie approaches him with an indecent proposal: $300 for each sex encounter until she gets pregnant, and then a $30,000 bonus. Meeting secretly in his shabby apartment, this most unusual affair begins.

It's all business, but it's obvious that emotions will start to complicate the situation. With her huge blue eyes and blond curls (she looks like a younger, thinner Virginia Madsen), the kind and desperate Sophie is irresistible to Jihah, who even buys a new bedspread to match her eyes. And though Sophie enjoys every creature comfort in her lovely Brooklyn home, she needs to escape from her tense husband and his rosary-clutching mother and aunties.

Can this arrangement possibly work out? It's unlikely given that this lopsided triangle includes an unstable and jealous husband. As Sophie's and Jihah's assignations become less business-like and more erotic (and by the way, director Gina Lee does erotic very well), the suspense is intense. Will Andrew find out? How might he find out? And what will he do if he does find out?

Sophie is a misfit in her marriage, and Jihah, who tells her he left Korea because he didn't fit in there, hasn't fit into America yet either. They're two lost souls who try to cling to each other despite divisions of race, class, and even language, all of which they struggle against mightily in the short bits of time they steal together. Every scene is powerfully packed with those conflicts, and the movie races along to a very uncertain climax.

Farmiga shines here; Lee's camera absolutely loves her, and there are so many extreme close-ups of her (those eyes!) that you'll feel as intimate with her as Jihah does. New York, especially Chinatown, looks great through Lee's lens, and she's a good writer too, raising all those great thematic questions: Do the ends justify the means? Who's taking advantage of whom? And does love truly conquer all?

That's one way to get a green card.



Never Forever

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th April 2008

Distributed by: Prime Entertainment

Production compaines: Now Films, Vox3 Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gina Kim

Producer: Brian Bell, Chang-Dong Lee

Starring: as Sophie Lee, David Lee McInnis as Andrew Lee, Joseph Y. Kim as Pastor, Shirley Roeca as Tania, Ha Jung-Woo as Jihah

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