The Naked Kitchen

AKA: 키친 (Kitchen) AsianMedia | HanCinema

Cast: Shin Min Ah, Kim Tae Woo,  Joo Ji Hoon

Happy first anniversary to newlyweds Mo Rae (Shin) and Sang In (Kim)! Mo Rae goes to an art gallery to find a gift, and meets a dashing stranger. They are forced to hide behind a screen to avoid being caught, and unexpectedly have sex. Mo Rae can’t bear the guilt and confesses to Sang In. He refuses to let her speak of it after that night, instead focusing on the opening of his restaurant. He has always wanted to be a chef, but lacks training. So he hires a young Korean professional from Paris to live with them and teach him. It turns out to be Du Re (Joo), the man from the gallery, and a risky game begins.

This movie presents a question: how do you define love, and is there more than one kind? Mo Rae and Sang In have known each other since childhood. He has always taken care of her, and she has always been the only woman in his life. Having never known any other man, Mo Rae becomes confused after her amourous encounter with Du Re. Is it possible to love two men at the same time?

Using a free-spirited couple to tell the tale was definitely the right move. This is a modern romance, and traditional Korean values need not meddle with the purity of the script.  It deals with infidelity without being overly-dramatic like every other drama or movie. It focuses instead on Mo Rae’s choice. The two men want an ultimatum, and tell her to follow her heart. This was quite a pleasant surprise from the usual “I’m the man, so do as I say,” mentality that so frequently haunts other stories in Korean entertainment.

Joo Ji Hoon plays the carefree young French-Korean, Du Re, who knows food, and treats everyone with an unabashed sense of honesty. He starts with teaching Sang In about cooking, but ends up teaching him about love, too. Despite being the youngest of the three, he seems to be the most mature and hides that with a whimsical smile and a lazy facade. When he wants something though, he’ll fight dirty if that’s what it takes to get it.

Shin Min Ah is our wide-eyed heroine who finds herself faced with questions bigger than she can handle.  Mo Rae is both endearing and fragile and easily captures hearts and sympathy. Through this whole ordeal, she comes to realize a lot about herself, the two men in her life, and love. As a result, she matures emotionally while still retaining that purity.

Kim Tae Woo’s Sang In may be the adult of the group, but maybe he’s not ready for all the responsibilities that come with that title. He may not have seen as much as Du Re, but he knows what he wants and will give his all to get it. But he’ll do it the honourable way.

Definitely a great modern tale that is tasteful in the issues that it raises. The movie itself shares Mo Rae’s purity, and in case the viewer happens to choose a man they wish to be happy, they needn’t worry about his feelings being hurt. Highly recommended for those that like a lighter atmosphere when dealing with somewhat heavy issues.

Rating: 4/5

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