Director Choi Ho’s modern romance, Who Are U ?, tries to capture the essence of the N (Network) generation, Korea’s young people who grew up with e-mail, instant messaging, cell phones, and the Internet in one of the most wired nations of the world. The film centers on an Internet game called “Who Are You” a sort of ultimate dating game where players pick partners and interact in a simulation of the real world. As far as romance movies go, the plot is nothing new. The role of new technology in the realm of dating is a subject that was explored in 1995’s The Contact, with actor Han Seok-Gyu and actress Jeon Do-Yeon, and again in the 1998 Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film “You’ve Got Mail”. Who Are You? is simply the latest version, a technological update of this genre.
However, as a snapshot of today’s youth, this film is highly relevant and asks some hard questions. In one scene, Hyung-tae outlines the Seoul skyline with his fingers and says that from that angle, it looks like a scene from a game, an interesting commentary on the increasingly blurred line between the real world and virtual reality.
Although the film’s ending was not really to my liking, finding it lacking in a certain satisfying, emotional impact, I was nonetheless enamoured by the overall youthful and energetic feel of the story, something perhaps lacking in an essentially stolid and mundane real working world, not to mention the wonderful and romantic possibilities existing only within the walls of a deftly crafted film world. For that 100 minutes as I sat in the theatre, I wish I was living it.