Project Makeover is only the second Korean movie I’ve watched. That said, it was declared the worst Korean movie of 2007, so I went into this one with minimal expectations.
Even after watching Project Makeover, I felt that the title was a bit unfair and harsh considering that this movie had a few redeeming qualities.
At its core, Project Makeover is a story about being true to yourself and not living a life full of regret and sadness over events that have transpired in the past. For that reason alone, I can give credit to the movie’s positive message.
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Na Jeong-ju is a thirty-year-old seamstress. Fashion is her one-true-calling, but she’s been stuck as a lowly assistant when all she really wants to do is design. Whenever something inevitably goes wrong in her life, she shifts the blame to her first love, Hani. Jeong-ju fell in love (insta love alert!) with Hani in high school, but after sleeping together, he breaks her heart. As he is her first love, Jeong-ju spends a long time regretting and hating Hani. She never finds peace or the ability to move on with her life.
But thanks to a computer program that mystery appears on her laptop one evening, Jeong-ju’s able to travel back in time to 1994. One of the greatest messages of this entire movie is that you can’t change your past—no matter how hard you try. You can change your present, though. That’s an important distinction to take with you.
Jeong-ju tries with all of her might and strength to change her past by coaching her younger self and also by coaching dorky Tae-Hoon. It takes her most of the movie to realize that she can’t really change her past, but she needs to accept what’s happened and find a way to move forward.
Yes, Jeong-ju has her shallow, materialistic moments, but no one’s perfect, and I appreciated this movie for giving Jeong-ju some flaws to work out. There’s nothing more disappointing that a perfect Mary Sue character that can do no wrong and says all the right things. It’s just not realistic.
Speaking of things not being realistic, my biggest problem with this movie is the time traveling. If you’ve seen movies like The Butterfly Effect, you know that traveling through time and changing anything can have disastrous effects on the past, present and future. It wouldn’t take much to throw the timeline out of whack, and I really believe that Jeong-ju had altered things enough to impact her present. I feel like the writers never took the time to explain why things were unchangeable.
I have a fairly open mind, but a lot of the time travel semantics got lost in translation. Sorry, writers. You really dropped the ball here.
- How was Jeong-ju able to communicate with her eighteen-year-old self when she was in the present? I think that if some kind of explanation had been presented—I would’ve been more likely to let it slide. But I can’t buy any of it just for the sake of it.
- What did Jeong-ju see in either guy? Don’t get me wrong, Tae-Hoon was a great guy. Despite everything, he was always in her corner. Although, his interest in her was a bit creepy at times. It was especially when present day Jeong-ju kept interfering with Tae-Hoon and her teenage self. He’s a huge improvement over d-bag Hani, but I really didn’t think that the actress had chemistry with either guy. Sadly, this left me feeling underwhelmed as the credits rolled.
- Does Jeong-ju really like Tae-Hoon romantically? This could fit in with my commentary from the last question. Was I missing the obvious signs because of a total lack of chemistry? Because I honestly couldn’t find a reason to root for these two together, romantically. They seemed like a better fit as friends. Was I the only one?
Ko So-Young did a great job acting in this movie. I may take the time to check out some of her other films and dramas. Her work was really the only thing that stood out for me. At the end of the day, Project Makeover was an “okay” movie with a great message.
Unfortunately, it falls into the trap of “instantly forgettable.” One watch was more than enough for me.
If you’d like to see my thoughts on other dramas and movies, check out my review page here.