Woman on the Beach is that rarity, a genuinely fresh romantic comedy that slyly and subversively spins the conventions of the genre in new, unpredictable directions. Comparable to Eric Rohmer, it depicts attractive, talkative young people tripping over their own paradoxes as they follow a twisting path of self-examination and self-deception.
In preparing for his next movie, filmmaker Joong-rae finds himself suffering from writer’s block and unable to finish his script. Looking to take a break, he pleads with his friend and production designer Chang-wook to join him on a trip to the west coast. Chang-wook has already made plans with his girlfriend Moon-sook, but he eventually resigns to his friend’s wishes, and decides to join Joong-rae. Bringing the vivacious Moon-sook along, Chang-wook and Joong-rae set off to visit the cherry-blossom covered Shinduri Beach Resort. Not long after their arrival, Joong-rae and Moon-sook are sneaking off for long walks on the strand.
Already a fan of his films, Moonsook falls for Joong-rae’s advances and the two spend a heated night together. Filled with anxiety the following day, the fickle hero can’t commit and he awkwardly parts with Moon-sook before hastily retreating to Seoul. Soon the narrative splits into two halves that mirror each other in a playful pattern of rhymes and variations. What had been a sardonic Jules and Jim turns into a burlesque Vertigo when Joong-rae returns to the coastal resort and attempts to recreate the original romance with a woman who resembles Moon-sook. Surprisingly, Moon-sook herself shows up and the onslaught of distractions and adversities inspires Joong-rae whose stalled screenplay begins to blossom...
Deemed by many critics to be Hong Sang-soo’s (Turning Gate, Woman Is the Future of Man) most sheerly enjoyable and satisfying film, Woman on the Beach satirizes the immaturity of Korean men and the misalignment of art and life, as the mysteries of the heart and the mysteries of artistic creation collide in ways that are both ironic and affecting.-Hkflix.com