Whoever said simple love stories were outdated was wrong in every way possible. Princess and the Matchmaker will easily change their sour views on light romance films because this delightful movie is definitely worth every bit of your time.
Plot Summary: During a time when face reading, astrology, and fortunes to determine one’s internal energy matter, King Yeongjo (Kim Sang Kyung) decides to marry off Princess Songhwa (Shim Eun Kyung) in order to put an end to a drought and the misfortunate plight and negative yin and yang energy of the kingdom. A reader of the divine powers, Seo Dooyoon (Lee Seung Gi) is brought forward to find the most harmonious match for the Princess.
The King decides to grant an open selection in order to find a husband for the Princess, narrowing it down to four prospective candidates with different fate signs and energies. Princess Songhwa however, is determined to see the face of the man she will wed before her marriage ceremony and decides to meet each candidate through various disguises. What she doesn’t count on is running into Seo Dooyoon at every turn, her Matchmaker and the only person who looks at her beyond her status.
Rating: Must Watch (5/5)
There are so many wonderful things to say about this film! I didn’t have much to go on other than trailers and a few teasers, knowing very little about the characters or plot but the movie took me by surprise with it’s simplicity and endearing characters.The Director of the film describes it as being, “not your everyday historical drama; it is a very cheerful and heartwarming film.” It takes such a unique subject such as fortune reading and astrology, intersecting it with romance and comedy from the closed doors of the palace to the larger world a naive Princess has never seen before.
Princess and the Matchmaker comes from the Producers of The Face Reader, and is the second instalment of a historically based, three-part series (The Face Reader being the first). It’s also brought to us by the same team that made Train to Busan, a crew that knows how to deliver films that entertain and leaves audiences’ feeling satisfied.
Personally, the film had me checking off a list of what makes it so good. From an excellent cast, beautifully produced cinematography, and a modest storyline coupled with divine fortunetelling makes this movie remarkable. It’s different than other historical romances out there for these very reasons, and the characters themselves aren’t complex or unrelatable to viewers. I could place myself in the Princess’ shoes or that of Seo Dooyoon, being able to empathize with them and fall for them as they get to know one another.
What makes the film such a great watch as well are the four candidates. Not only are they vastly different in personalities, age, and appearance but they each teach the Princess something about the world outside of the palace. Whether its cruel Nam Chiho (Choi Wook Shik) with a frigid exterior, power hungry Yoon Sigyeon (Yeon Woo Jin) or the playboy Kang Hwi (Kang Min Hyuk), they each reveal something about themselves and the world in which they live in to provide the Princess with perspective into why they want to marry her and how they’re able to use rank and status to their advantage.
And I praise the movie for its simplicity but the leads aren’t ‘artificial’ or lacking depth. We have Songhwa who is innocent yet knows more about human nature and its fallibility through her own experiences growing up in the palace. Seo Doyoon on the other hand, is modest and perceptive, being able to read into the hearts and intentions of people.
I don’t want to spoil the movie, but what has me truly calling this film special is its ending.The Princess makes an innocent decision in the beginning which leads to all kinds of mishaps but her choice at the end of the film marks growth and maturity, defying both her King and birthright in order to live happily. The sacrifices Songhwa and Seo Doyoon choose to make are impactful and beyond a doubt, makes Princess and the Matchmaker sweet and heartfelt.
With an incredible cast, gorgeous cinematography, straightforward plot, and Kang Min Hyuk’s abs, Princess and the Matchmaker is a gem worth watching. We should all invest our time into this sweet Joseon romance.
Release Date: February 28, 2018
Note: All information & official stills belong to CJ Entertainment