Chungmuro/Film News
Point-counterpoint: Pursuing beauty in 200 Pound Beauty
by | April 9, 2009 | 171 Comments

In last week’s Open Thread, a back-and-forth developed between two commenters that caught my eye, because it dealt with a point that had been at the back of my mind for a while. Ever since I first saw the smash 2006 romantic comedy 200 Pound Beauty [미녀는 괴로워], in fact.

The comments dealt with 200 Pound Beauty‘s plastic-surgery themes, and echoed some of my own reservations with the movie. Don’t get me wrong; I totally enjoyed watching it — it was light, funny, nicely acted — but something just didn’t sit right with me at the end. And the conversation that emerged last week captured that debate very well, I thought.

So, I asked both Sere and Samsooki if they would be okay with furthering the discussion in a sort of point-counterpoint conversation (similar to how Dahee and I discussed a particular drama character previously). They’ve both graciously agreed to go with it, and here’s the result.

Hope you enjoy!

SONG OF THE DAY

200 Pound Beauty OST – “Beautiful Girl” by Kim Ah-joong. [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


 

For those who are unfamiliar with the film, the gist is:

A good-hearted, overweight backup/ghost singer, Hanna (Kim Ah-joong), has a beautiful singing voice that goes underappreciated given her looks. She’s a sweet optimist despite the demeaning treatment she is subject to and dreams of being a singer (on her own) and has a crush on the producer for whom she works (Joo Jin-mo). When the cruelty goes overboard, however, Hanna decides to get full-body plastic surgery, and for the next year she goes “missing” — cutting off all ties to her former life — as she receives multiple surgeries. When she’s finally “ready” to be revealed in her new body, she’s a beautiful, slim, completely different-looking woman. With her new looks, she gets signed by her former producer and promoted as a “natural beauty,” and takes on the new identity as pop singer “Jenny.” Jenny becomes a smash success, but Hanna (as sweet-hearted as ever) finds it difficult to keep up the lie about her identity.

 

 

SAMSOOKI: I watched 200 Pound Beauty with my wife, and I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie… Kim Ah Joong… I didn’t really think the fat suit worked (didn’t look real at all), but who cares. Kim Ah Joong just blisters the screen. Just…. awesome. The songs, the movie, the scenes, the characters… really good.

 
SERE: I need to know: what’s so great about it?

 
SAMSOOKI: Well, I thought it was charming: it’s a fairy tale that every person wants to believe in — that we can all turn from ugly ducklings to beautiful swans. And in this case, the transformation was from an obese woman to an unbelievably beautiful girl. But in this case, rather than a magic wand, it was the hand of a plastic surgeon. And in addition to the fairy tale, the acting, the comedy factor and catchy songs sung by the main character, Kim Ah Joong….. hard to ask for more from a movie.

 
SERE: Personally, I *hated* it. I can’t even begin to list the reasons I feel that way because the sheer number of them frightens me. This is coming from a girl who’s (1) never been slim in her life and therefore can relate to what the main character felt and (2) been through plastic surgery several times (true, I hadn’t them done for the heck of it or to appear more beautiful, but cos it was necessary. I’m talking about reconstructive plastic surgery in my case… but whatever, SO not the point). I do not *get* it.

The premise of the movie feels wrong and the end message of the movie is nothing if not poisonous to girls and young women, imho. Plus, major plastic surgery not only sucks, but it hurts like you wouldn’t believe so anyone willing to put herself through a year of that kind of torture, again and again, is nuts. Of all the patients I met at the plastic surgery ward — and I met many — not one of them underwent an operation with a light heart and no one of them did it *just* to get someone’s heart. I know it’s only fiction, and that there’s some nice music and all, but I truly cannot see the appeal of this movie. So if you can let me know what you see in this, I’d be forever and ever grateful. I’m genuinely curious.

 

 
SAMSOOKI: Well, if the audience were to take the movie literally, then we might have problems because the promotion of radical surgery to make your dreams come true is… at the height of irresponsibility. Yet, even without this movie, those ideas are there anyway. And, I don’t think 200 Pound Beauty is trying to say that plastic surgery is the way to go to make your dreams come true. It is merely on a side item. Like, take the movie Terminator 2 with its violence and gun shot victims every minute, etc. Does this movie promote gun violence to achieve one’s goals, because the main characters utilize extreme violence to achieve theirs? The gun violence is not really the point and we accept it to advance the plot.

 
SERE: But see, that’s exactly the point. Even if you — and it’s a general you, not you Samsooki — don’t take the movie seriously or literally, there’ll always be a number of girls who might shake their head about the message and yet, on some level they’ll be exposed to it. The cat would be out of the bag, so to speak, and I do think that cat, even if it was intended to be mindless entertainment, may be more dangerous than the average one. You know?

You brought up movies such as Terminator…well, of course nobody thinks that it promotes violence, but it’s a sci-fi movie…people do realize it’s not to be taken seriously. With movies like 200 Pound Beauty, the lines are much, *much* more blurred cos it does tackle issues that are contemporary and… real. You said it yourself, beauty is important…we are exposed to it and to its clichés everyday: people get even discriminated because of their looks. That’s why I can only see a potentially dangerous message to this movie.

 
SAMSOOKI: Or for another example, take almost any romantic movie… Usually, it goes like this: boy meets girl, then take your pick — (fish out of water, mistaken / unknown identity, contract / fake relationship, forbidden love, competing love interests etc.), then boy and girl get together at the end. Does this accurately depict what happens in a relationship? Does anyone know ANY couple whose lives actually resemble Breakfast At Tiffany’s?

 
SERE: Of course not. But romantic movies usually do not have ulterior motives, so to speak, they just try to fulfill one of the most common fantasies of young women: find their Prince Charming and live happily after. Which is an element that is in 200 Pound Beauty as well: throw Prince Charming in the mix, and you’ve got an explosive plot that kids will find irresistible. Add a stellar cast, nice music and a little humor in and there’s no contest. I’m not saying I never cracked a smile during the whole movie or that I didn’t enjoy the songs — I did! — but the message it gives totally ruins it for me.

 
SAMSOOKI: And yet: we live in a world where beauty does matter. People discriminate based on looks almost as often as they breathe. And beauty as an “end” in and of itself is also a goal of almost every culture as well. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter to me either. 200 Pound Beauty is about how a woman, trapped in a world where she could not express herself because of her obese condition, ultimately finds happiness. The “moral” of the story is that her ability to obtain that happiness was predicated on her being able to live with herself, and so she had to be honest in the end. That’s the message. That, and Kim Ah Joong is pretty hot.

 

 
SERE: See, if Hanna (Kim Ah Joong) had done surgery, extreme and unrealistic may it have been, for herself or because she felt discriminated against and humiliated or cos she wanted to sing, then I may have frowned, but I would have understood. But no, mostly she did it for someone else, to appeal to her crush. Remember when she said — in the same sequence you mention — that when she was being sliced open on the operating table, she could go on because she only thought of him? So no, she didn’t do it to feel better and comfortable with her body or to “fight” for her rights against an unfair society. And besides, even if she went through a great deal of pain, physical and not, and even if she did realize that being true to yourself is important, the message that comes through, in the end, is, “Look, boys and girls, you may suffer, but in end, it might be worthy. You’ll be beautiful, rich and successful in love, too.” How’s that for a fair message? It is hopeful? Maybe I’m too cynical, but I’ve seen too many 16-year-olds *begging* their parents to get breast implants and I’ve heard *horror* stories about teenagers from my plastic surgeon…and honestly, I’m not making this up. It’s a reality… that’s why the premise bothers me so much.

 
SAMSOOKI: I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but I think you point at 200 Pound Beauty because the movie deals literally with the issue of cosmetic surgery as a viable means to achieve one’s goals, but you might be pointing your finger at too narrow a target.

 
JAVABEANS: I’m popping up there to say that I don’t think that’s exactly the problem that people have with the film. Or I’ll speak merely for myself and say that that my problem with the film is not merely that the movie deals with cosmetic surgery as a lifestyle choice. I have no problem with plastic surgery. It’s the flippancy with which the movie delivers its message that “You’re valuable even if you’re ugly or pretty! Hanna’s pretty on the inside, and that’s what counts!… so at the end of the day, you might as well be pretty!”

 
SERE: Exactly!

Do you remember what’s the last scene? It’s about the surgeon who’s bragging about his skills and a young woman who wants to get a complete makeover. It’s like even TPTB are saying, “It’s going to happen again anyway so why are you even trying to resist? A little surgery, what can it do? Do it, do it, and you’ll be just like Hanna and get everything.” It’s like the whole point of the movie was moot, IF it was really trying to say: stay true to yourself and accept yourself as you are. It failed in that, imho. Had it ended with, say, Hanna tearfully realizing what’s important in her life, I would’ve still frowned, but it would’ve been a lot better. So in conclusion, I have problems with the premise of 200 Pound Beauty *and* also the ending.

You know, there’s a movie — Shallow Hal — with Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow that tackles the same issues, minus the surgery: beauty, love, how society discriminates, etc., and compared to 200 Pound Beauty, it is 100% better imho (still not my kind of movie, but that’s beside the point). Even if both movies wanted to give the same message, one managed to do it nicely even though it was slapstick for the most part and the other, the way I see it, did not and it may be potentially dangerous, that’s all I’m saying.

 

 
JAVABEANS: I have to say that the last scene was the part that ruined the movie for me. I was enjoying it, although I did feel a little uneasy at the message, until that last scene just undid all the goodwill the rest of the movie had built up. What’s worse is that the woman who asks for surgery at the end is Hanna’s friend — the backup singer friend who had been the “prettier” of the two, back when Hanna was “ugly,” and who was then relegated to being the uglier friend after Hanna’s transformation. She’d always seemed to be the example of a woman who was secure in herself and who would look down on cosmetic surgery as a way of conforming to societal pressure to be beautiful. In having her opt for surgery — full-body, head to toe, just like Hanna! — it sends the message (perhaps unintentional, but distasteful all the same) that after seeing the way Hanna’s life has transformed, she wants the same, and this surgery will achieve that for her. This brings out my STABBY HANDS.

 
SAMSOOKI: Let me see if I can’t distill the argument against the movie. 200 Pound Beauty promotes the message that “girls, if you want to be successful and happy, you must be 99 lbs and look like a supermodel — so do WHATEVER it takes to look like that.” And this message is wrong and extremely dangerous. Here’s my response to that.

Take a look at any Korean actress under 30 y/o that you find on dramabeans, and here’s what I found when I looked at six who had been recently featured – Kim So Eun (97 lbs, 5′4), Jung Ryeo Won (99 lbs, 5′6), Lee Yo Won (106 lbs, 5′7) Gu Hye Sun (92 lbs, 5′4), Im Yoon Ah (97 lbs, 5′5), and Kim Ha Neul (99 lbs, 5′6). What’s the hidden message that the k-dramas are sending out, when every actress hovers around 100 lbs and is between 5′4 and 5’6? But its all fantasy, isn’t it? These movies and dramas deal with impossibly beautiful people, with impossibly easy jobs, with impossibly unrealistic speed-check-ins at Incheon Airport, and have impossibly loyal friends who have no life other than to hang out with you. I think the audience understands they are dealing with fantasy. If they do not, then they have bigger issues to deal with.

And if you want to argue that 200 Pound Beauty sends the wrong message, it is not the movie that created the message — its the culture.. Every commercial, every music video, every movie, every TV show, the women are all the same — rail thin, elf round eyes, and paler than a surprised ghost that never goes outdoors. 200 Pound Beauty brings this issue up to the surface, but the message has always been there. Can we point our fingers at 200 Pound Beauty, and not also hit every single k-drama and every movie?

 
JAVABEANS: I don’t think a movie has to be entirely fantasy or entirely literal. That’s a little too black and white for me. There are motifs and themes in fantasy (Lord of the Rings? Harry Potter?) that apply in the real world, just as there are fantasy elements in much more “realistic” films and dramas.

The fact is, messages are important and people take away certain ideas from uber-popular movies like 200 Pound Beauty whether intentionally or not. It’s a bit like the Britney Spears argument, “But I never asked to be a role model!” Whether or not a poptart with tweenage fans wants to be a role model, whether or not a movie intends to convey a pernicious message, it has to deal with the responsibility of being a bearer of that message. And it’s up to the movie to treat it with thoughtfulness, or not.

I agree that 200 Pound Beauty is certainly not the only offender — as you point out, there are dramas and pop culture at large to point fingers at, too — but the debate isn’t whether those are also culpable, just whether this one is. And to me, it is.
 

 
SERE: I think you’re missing the point, Samsooki. True, most of the actresses out there — Korean and non-Korean — are skinny, more often than not even skeletal, but it’s not like the point of the drama/movie, the key storyline, is to say, “Look, they’re skinny and beautiful and therefore they’re good and successful and even got a boyfriend or a husband.” Is there a storyline like that? The only one I could think of when the weight of the main character is mentioned *at all* was My Name is Kim Sam Soon, but it was done in such a way that it wasn’t recklessly dealt with: it was very realistically and sensibly done.

Anyway, yes, many actresses are skinny, and they’re most likely chosen because of their looks (after all that’s how the system works, and we all know that), but whatever the reason, the message of the movie itself isn’t strictly linked to the weight of the actress. What I mean is, you’re one step ahead of me. There are 2 ultimate messages to movies/dramas, imho: (1) the one of the movie/drama itself which (a) revolves around the plot and the characters, (b) is the most direct and (c) is supposed to grab the attention of the viewer, not only entertain him/her; and (2) the one which you speak of, which is about the casting and society in general. But in my opinion, this message is quite obscure and most likely it wasn’t even meant to go through. Hm, I don’t know if I expressed myself clearly here.

Anyway, 200 Pound Beauty takes what are extremely serious issues — plastic surgery, weight problems, discriminations, perception of Self — and treats them *extremely* lightly. And *that* makes me uneasy. If you want to argue that it’s just fantasy, that a simple movie cannot be blamed for the cultural mishaps of an entire society, well, of course I can’t blame it for that… nobody can. But, even though I firmly believe that movies should be entertaining and fun, there’s also the tiny little problem that treating sensitive topics in such ways is always quite dangerous.

 
SAMSOOKI: Yes, the movie did treat plastic surgery lightly. But, it is merely a movie device used to move the plot along. Some stories use magic wands, others use a time machine, or a genie in a bottle, whatever. Now, again, I agree that the movie’s use of this device (“magic” plastic surgery) was problematic, but if so, then I really think that we are just treading on the edge of a much larger issue, which is the way that Korean culture overwhelming supports a singular notion of physical beauty.

 
SERE: But it’s not the plot device itself I have a problem with. It’s how and why that plot device is used. It’s used in an otherwise realistic — or as much as a rom com can be — “chick flick” aimed at, I assume, young women. And that might be confusing. BTW, that notion of physical beauty? So not only Korean!

 
SAMSOOKI: You have issues with how the plot device is used? So if the main character hadn’t used magic plastic surgery, but had gone through 8 months of severe diet and physical training (still not realistic, but again, we are dealing with fantasy), then would your problems with the movie disappear because plastic surgery was not used? To me, the issue would STILL be there, because the larger issue is how Korea (and other countries) champion the ideal of physical beauty.

 
SERE: My problems with the movie wouldn’t disappear entirely, but most of them? Yeah. Look, I could have even accepted the plastic surgery plot device, but IF and only if the character had gone through such a change for herself and herself alone (for her health, whether mental or physical, etc.) rather than to be pretty in order to be noticed by the guy she loved. You could argue that if that *ultimately* finding love is for her own benefit and yeah, I suppose, but do you have to completely forget who you are in the process? All I’m saying is that all the topics mentioned in this movie are rather complex, and using or abusing them in such a movie — and do we agree it was meant to be a “light and fun” rom com? Cos if we don’t, then this whole discussion is sort of pointless — can trigger all sorts of tricky problems and reactions. My main issue with 200 Pounds is that The Powers That Be treated serious problems in a light way, totally disregarding what the message they were sending was. Serious issues + light rom com = not a great combo, imho.

I do agree that there’s a much larger issue at hand (the ideal of physical beauty), but you can’t change society in a day, right? You can, however, start making small steps in that direction with, say, movies. But this is an entirely different problem, I think.

 

 
SAMSOOKI: By contrast, we can look at an American movie which also deals with issues of obesity, fat suits, beauty inside vs beauty outside, etc. — Shallow Hal. The message of Shallow Hal seems to be a good one: “Hey, everyone, beauty is more than skin deep.” If you haven’t seen the movie, the main character has a spell put on him where he sees women only through their “inner” beauty. So, if he sees a supermodel who is a bad person, then he’ll see that person as ugly, whereas this obese woman who has a heart of gold (played by fat-suited Paltrow), he sees her as the beautiful Gwenyth Paltrow without the fat suit.

I know that people will argue that it is only when you ARE good that you look beautiful, but the reality is that nobody can tell if you are good or bad from just your appearance. So the perverse result is that Shallow Hal’s the subliminal message is to associate beauty with “good” and ugly means “bad.” And that message is actually worse than the one in 200 Pound Beauty.

 
SERE: Premise: I’m not saying Shallow Hal is a work of art (on the contrary, I actually think it has lots and lots of flaws), but I also believe it dealt with the same issues 200 Pound Beauty tackled, but in a less horrifying way. What you said it is true: the clichés and stereotypes you mentioned are there, no doubt, but if you think about it, Hal’s prejudices, however shameful and wrong they are, are exactly the same of Society. So in the end, the movie actually mirrors what is, canonically, considered beautiful and what is not (FYI, I’m in no way saying that I agree with THAT message). I mean, Hal always thought beautiful people were only hot supermodels, he never even **considered** inner beauty, but then he changes his mind (I’ll never forget the scene with the girl whose face was burnt). And yeah, the clichés are awful, but the ultimate message of the movie is: everyone is beautiful no matter how they look. Period.

The ultimate message of 200 Pound Beauty is, on the other hand, slightly different: it’s more like, yeah, yeah, everyone is beautiful, but it doesn’t really matter because if you aren’t, you can fix that and yes, you might suffer, but you’ll get your happy ending in the end. Honestly, that last scene in 200 Pounds left me really, really bitter and quite speechless.

 
SAMSOOKI: Bottom line: I really enjoyed watching 200 Pound Beauty because it brought together everything I enjoy in a movie — compelling character brought out by great acting, comedy, romance, songs, etc. The story line may have problems from a “message” standpoint, if you take what is otherwise a minor plot device (really, no different than a magic wand, but nobody criticizes the use of magic to make limousines out of pumpkins) as the message, but if we point at this movie for pushing beauty as an end-all-be-all goal for women, then we can blame all of Korean pop culture for the same thing. And I don’t see anyone doing that.

 
SERE: I liked the songs and her singing, but I cannot help but thinking that maybe TPTB could have achieved the same success, still have filmed a nice rom com, but without the potentially nasty message thrown into the mix. I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more!

 
JAVABEANS: I have to thank you both for taking such time and effort into this discussion! This whole plastic surgery issue is so relevant in pop culture in particular and society at large, and you both have been wonderfully eloquent about expressing your thoughts on both sides. Already I’m eager to see what kind of comments and discussion this sparks below.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: ,
171 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Orchid

    After reading the lengthy discussion, i feel really shallow. I watched the movie and enjoyed it for what it was – entertainment. Although i do not believe that one should subject oneself to plastic surgery just to gain another person’s approval, favour…or love.

    • 1.1 dbsklove

      OKAY THANK GOD. I thought I was the only one who watched the movie just for entertainment/enjoyment whatever you call it.
      HAHA plus joo jin mo <3

      • 1.1.1 YChase007

        Me too… lol – I thought the movie was excellent and it didnt make me want to go and chop off all my fat. I completely understand that was the main characters method… lol

        • 1.1.1.1 Nam

          Just read this thread in 2013 and I still agree with SAMSOOKI.

          I watched TPB because it was entertaining and not because I was looking for some movie to influence or change my life. I don’t get why people like bashing TPB because of its skewed message about beauty. It’s like were supposing that people are that weak willed to be easily swayed by a simple movie to just go to any plastic surgeon to change their appearance.

          Come on.

          Give the viewers some credit of having enough EQ and IQ to just watch the movie and take it as just a form of entertainment. It’s like the argument about the Harry Potter movies. The religious fanatics are bashing HP because it promotes witchcraft and blasphemy yada yada, but helloo… I think we’re not that dumb to actually believe everything we see on the big screen or on TV.

          Anyway, basically my point is that I don’t believe that a movie like TPB will turn women into raving plastic surgery addicts. It’s all about the viewers’ core values. If you’re a person who is confident about yourself and know where you stand when you see the movie then you’ll remain the same. If you’re a person who is not averse to having plastic surgery then you’ll remain the same. If you’re a person who loves plastic surgery then you’ll remain the same.

          Some may argue: What’s the use of watching the movie if it doesn’t affect the audience?

          My answer is simple:

          “Just take it as it is. Don’t be too serious. It IS a CHICK FLICK so don’t expect too much about the plot/message. And just appreciate it for its visual/
          artistic value. :D”

          • 1.1.1.1.1 Madilicious

            I think most of the concern over the message isn’t that women aren’t intelligent enough to stop themselves from turning into raving plastic surgery addicts. I think the concern about this film is the same concern many mothers, and other women have about the way popular media portrays women, and their bodies. While most of us understand they are an impossible ideal for most people, and that models and pop singers don’t represent a large part of the world population… The effect that media has on young women, especially teens, can be different. They often don’t have the maturity and hormonal stability to understand that this is NOT an expected ideal, and these body traits are not typical.

            Plastic surgery has become so common place in Korea, even with teen girls. This movie (which I enjoyed, really) presents the idea that if you’re fat, you’re not worth anything other than what other people can garner from you, and it blatantly puts out there that plastic surgery and becoming “beautiful” will make you worth more as a person, and be deserving of love and attention.

            So, I don’t think it’s just this particular movie people are upset about. It’s the message that popular media sends to young girls as a whole. And this film just puts it more blatantly.

  2. soysauce

    WOW, loooong discussion…will be back to read 😀

  3. Soy

    I also thought the movie’s message was rather horrifying, but still enjoyed the movie for what it was nonetheless.
    Why I disapprove is that not every girl who watches the movie will be like us, who have their priorities and insecurities in order, and will inevitably take in the wrong message- which is basically saying that plastic surgery will make you pretty, you will go through a little hardship (physical and emotional), and then you will get what you want in the end.
    But I also saw the ending as somewhat truthful. Because in the end, no matter what people say, there will always be people who will want plastic surgery to solve their problems, and really, there’s nothing we can do to stop them. That’s life, and I guess we have to accept that fact too.

  4. Christinaaar

    wow…. such a great debate. you should have more arguments like this javabeans

  5. soshee

    When I was watching this movie, I wasn’t even thinking much about the plastic surgery message. I watched it as pure comedy, laughing and crying through much of the movie.

    Now that the topic of the movie’s (un)disturbing message has been brought up, I really think that the “go do plastic surgery to get the one you love” was not the MAIN message of this movie. In contrast, after watching this movie, I admired Hanna’s sacrifice (physically in the immense pain associated with multiple surgeries, as well as emotionally in the need to disappear from her past life and completely reestablish herself) for the man she loved.

    And I really do not have a problem with Hanna’s decision to go for plastic surgery to get a man, and actually, I don’t think that was the only reason she did that. She also had her own dreams and ambitions to be a solo singer, and more so, was just tired of all the jeering superficial “beautiful” people directed at her. As much as she was emotionally strong, enough is enough sometimes. But for the sake of argument, even if she did go under the knife for a man, what’s wrong with that? Why is it more horrendous when it’s for a man, as opposed to when it’s for personal satisfaction, growth, etc? When it’s for a man, it’s in essence for love, which I believe is more important than success (to me).

    Furthermore, I have no problem with plastic surgery, and so have no problem with the repercussions this movie’s “pro-plastic surgery” message has. However, I do have a problem with lying about plastic surgery and this movie nicely addressed that point. Hanna ended up confessing that she was not a natural beauty, and through that confession, experienced further success, personal growth, and ultimately success in love.

    And as for the final scene of the movie during which Hanna’s friend goes for plastic surgery… I viewed it as a comic scene, with no real significance.

    Oh… and I have more to say. Plastic surgery is the result of an individual’s physical and emotional pain and money. Who is to say that the result from plastic surgery doesn’t belong to them? (I’m quoting indirectly from Boys Over Flowers here… I just relate everything to BOF lol.) It’s the same as using money to buy designer clothing. Yes, plastic surgery is “fake” but in a society with such advanced technology, even beauty can be bought and synthesized, as is almost everything else. So, I find nothing disturbing in the movie’s concentration in plastic surgery and the benefits to be gained from it.

    • 5.1 Ron

      Good points. But have to disagree with you on the one about doing something because of someone. Much as the idea of doing something because of someone is ‘honourable’, it’s also pretty stupid. Especially in this situation. This MAJOR situation, which is a matter of changing your body. My friend got plastic surgery recently, I’m pretty okay with it, other than the fact that he did it because his mom kinda pushed him into it. I had a big problem with that. It’s your life, your body. It’s for you to decide what’s best for you, not for someone else. They have no right. So what if he/she COULD BE the love of your life?! Personally, my life, my body, my decision. I’m certainly not going to do it FOR anyone.

  6. Sere

    Sarah and Samsookie, thank you again for this. It was really interesting and challenging!

    I can’t wait to read all the comments of your readers, JB!

    PS: I’ll come back to read everything tomorrow. Again with the time zones. It’s past 4 am here. *headdesk*

  7. Tea

    Oh, man, I was so excited to read this!! I love intelligent conversation about movies (a few honors film classes having ruined me), and so I really looked forward to this, lengthy though it was. It has been awhile since I’ve seen the movie, though, so I feel ill-equipped to post my opinion (and if I watched it again, I might even have to rescind my comments).

    But honestly, for all my ambivalence about movies (it’s sometimes tricky to negotiate between feminism and hopeless romanticism), I think reading this point-counterpoint just exhausted me. I don’t really know where to comment or what to say. I think there were some excellent points brought up, and while I do agree more with Sere and you, Javabeans, I applaud Samsooki for arguing his points.

    Some key points that I liked: this movie is flawed, but it’s one of many in such a culture (same can be said in all cultures, though). I find it interesting, the micro-analysis of one movie in a sea of media that perpetuates the same message, though. I also definitely agree that the last scene was entirely offputting–in fact, I was actually liking where the movie was headed with its message until the last scene, which completely reversed the way I had read the movie. I understand it was for comedic value, but that tiny scene undermined what I had interpreted to be the message of the movie, for (even more) commercial appeal, perhaps.

    Perhaps it’s been too long since I’ve seen the movie, but I was under the impression that the plastic surgery failed to produce what Hanna wanted. Wasn’t that what the climactic scene was about: that she had lost her self along the way, and that it was the fat, ugly girl who was more important? Was I wrong in thinking that she hadn’t necessarily found love with Joo Jin Mo’s character?

    After reading the point-counterpoint, I feel like I didn’t understand the movie at all. I thought the movie sought to, in some way, bring to light the double standard of beauty and plastic surgery (so taboo, and yet the best plastic surgeons are in Korea). The movie is unquestionably flawed and has several issues, but that it was so commercially successful and popular seemed like a step forward, given that it even confronted the topic.

    Ultimately, for me, perhaps the most tragic offense is that even considering the movie, there was such an uproar over Kim Ah Joong’s own plastic surgery.

  8. Enkhee

    I’m completely with Sere. I hated the movie too. I might have enjoyed the first part, but the ending completely and utterly ruined the whole thing for me. If i ever have a kid, she’s not watching this movie. That is, if I can’t raise her any better than a senseless simpleton. I feel sad for the future.

  9. hahaha

    I would definitely agree with SERE. I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon and criticizing, but I did notice what SERE was saying when I first saw the movie a few years back. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I couldn’t help, but notice the extremely wrong and dangerous message of the movie. The music was nice and the characters were too, but at the end I wouldn’t say I liked the movie. I think the reason why I ultimately didn’t like the movie was the whole of idea of conforming to society’s standard of beauty, which was a total turn off for me.

  10. 10 Jane

    LOL, Orchid, I feel EXACTLY the same way. I watched the movie and I completely loved it and enjoyed it, and that last scene with Kim Ah-joong’s best friend didn’t disturb me at all either. I guess saying that just now makes me look a little dense or stupid, but I really just enjoyed the movie because it’s a piece of mindless entertainment! And, yeah, I agree that everything out there has messages and things attached to it and producers/directors have responsibilities in making sure that they’re conveyed responsibly, but really! I just watched it and loved it and enjoyed it as a movie, period.

    (Good job on the discussion though guys, I really enjoyed reading it! :])

  11. 11 DramaVampire

    “…I admired Hanna’s sacrifice (physically in the immense pain associated with multiple surgeries, as well as emotionally in the need to disappear from her past life and completely reestablish herself) for the man she loved.” ~soshee

    Well that’s a bit scary…It’s not like she was sacrificing through pain etc. for the good of the guy she loved or to save him from some horrible fate, she was doing it to conform to his own shallow ideals and the ideals of the world. To admire someone for losing themself and conforming so completely (and dangerously I might add) in order to gain the affections of some guy is not a passionate or amazing sacrifice, it’s disgusting self-deception (on Hanna’s part) IMO.

    Thanks javabeans for posting this and for all your hard work. I’ve been following this website for quite awhile but this is the first time I actually felt like posting.

  12. 12 Toya

    Actually, I have the same problem, I liked the movie, but not the message. The only reason I liked the ending is because she didn’t get with the Producer in the end and I thought that was great because he never liked her for who she was when she was fat, why should that change since she’s slim. The hypocrisy of his attention for Hanna post-surgery is what turned me off. She was the same sweet loving person before that and he suddenly likes her now that she’s a mantis.

    I’m chubby, and have been chubby most of my teenage to adult life, and have only considered plastic surgery because diabetes runs in my family and my mother keeps telling me to lose the belly but I have no way to get to a gym, and I work practically every day so I don’t get in enough exercise.

    I could never change my voluptuous self just for a man, because, honey let’s face it, if you don’t like a woman you can hold on to then you aren’t the man for me.

    My sister is chubby and she has guys lined up around the block (though now is engaged, <3 Brother-in-Law) so I know there are plenty of men that love a chubby woman so I have never really been insecure about my shape.

    My point to the personal info rant? I think if you are secure enough in your own image, you’ll be fine watching the movie. If you are not, your insecurities will get the best of you and you’ll be saying to yourself, “Maybe I should do that”. I mean, come on, there are women out there with mustaches with husbands and 2.3 kids, you can’t tell me there is no one for the chubby, well kept women.

    Ok that’s my two-cents. Night <3

  13. 13 javabeans

    “Wasn’t that what the climactic scene was about: that she had lost her self along the way, and that it was the fat, ugly girl who was more important?”

    @Tea, yes, you’re right. My issue with this point is actually that they ALMOST had it right… and then they ruined it. (If the movie had been totally off-base on all counts, I would have dismissed it entirely and not cared at all.) The movie definitely makes the argument that Hanna wasn’t fulfilled by the surgery alone… and yet it also kinda has the cheeky point that Hanna was better off after the surgery anyway. Like, AFTER she became pretty, she could say, “Inner beauty is all that matters!” Because while Skinny Hanna missed Fat Hanna, I don’t think she’d take back her former life — it’s essentially Hanna having her cake and eating it, too.

    • 13.1 scarecrowslady

      I think that’s my problem with the film. If she was a 200 lb beauty, she’d have stayed that way. I think even the naming of the film seems to be a misnomer, in the sense that she was a 200 lb beauty but ends up not being that at all. Perhaps they used that title to get attention?

      Anything that promotes changing yourself for other people however you do it – gets a thumbs-down from me. It pushes a sub-conscious idea that you aren’t beautiful if you don’t fit the ‘norm’. Note I put quotes around ‘norm’, b/c I do think that changes as time goes on…

      I don’t think that shows like these are fantasy at all – not if you go by the standard English Lit definition (Engl. B.A. speaking here) – and as such are very damaging for sensitive, low-confidence people. I live in China currently, I’ve seen enough K and J-Drama to know that Asians are as obssessed with weight as NAmericans are – and it can get out of hand… (remembers eye surgeries, a la “You’re Beautiful”)

  14. 14 Sere

    Ok, I can’t help it.

    @soshee
    DramaVampire beat me to it. I was gonna reply pretty much what she said. I think what Hanna did was losing herself *completely* just to get the guy. And that, in my humble opinion, is a bad thing. Also? It’s not like she didn’t know what she was going to happen: true, she might have not predicted everything, but a basic plan of what she was going to say and do was there.

    And another thing. If you really knew how unbelievably painful plastic surgery is, you wouldn’t admire her. You’d think she was somewhat stupid to have gone through such pains JUST for a man. No matter how great a guy is, if he doesn’t “see” you, he’s not worthy. Just my 2 cents

    @Sarah
    I recall you mentioning a sequel. Is it going to happen?

  15. 15 soshee

    “Well that’s a bit scary…It’s not like she was sacrificing through pain etc. for the good of the guy she loved or to save him from some horrible fate, she was doing it to conform to his own shallow ideals and the ideals of the world. To admire someone for losing themself and conforming so completely (and dangerously I might add) in order to gain the affections of some guy is not a passionate or amazing sacrifice, it’s disgusting self-deception (on Hanna’s part) IMO.”

    @dramavampire
    hahaha I didn’t mean to sound like a crazy delusional supporter of plastic surgery, but what was Hanna supposed to do when it seemed to her that the man she loved couldn’t see past her ugly exterior. She couldn’t make him, and she was also under so much pressure from other people who kept on making fun of her. What I meant to convey in my previous comment was that she went through hardships to get the beauty she ended up with. And in the end, I feel that the guy loved her partly for her inner beauty and not just because she became beautiful.

    Adding on, it’s not always deceiving to try and conform to the ideals of the man you love. It just shows how much she was willing to give up for him. And in the end, she didn’t completely lose herself, even if she did for a period of time.

  16. 16 julier

    It has been awhile since I watched the movie so I can’t fully join in the discussion. I wasn’t crazy about it. But, I do remember being bothered by the notion that her transformation was done through plastic surgery. Maybe surgery could give someone the start, but it would take a lot of hard work to get *that* great of a body. So I remember thinking it was very unrealistic, and it bugged me that the dr got all the credit. No way you can go under the knife and wake up like that. I too saw the plastic surgery as just the vehicle for the change and a side issue (again an unrealistic depiction of it too!). I think anyone going from being obese to thin and healthy is a transformation for the better. And, I think anyone going through a big change like that would deal with some identity issues…kind of like when Al Roker quickly dropped 100 lbs thanks to gastric bypass surgery and it was very controversial. People had trouble accepting him as thin. I admit- I am a big fan of the Biggest Loser and I love seeing people transforming their lives, but I can imagine there is a lot of emotional baggage that needs to be sorted out along the way.

    The plastic surgery that bothers me is the otherwise gorgeous healthy woman that nips and tucks her way to some sort of perceived perfection. Also, I agree that the super skinny is also a bit much. I’ve had several friends get surgery…eyes, boobs, tummy tuck (she had lost 100 lbs and really needed it tho!). Sometimes I do think it can get a bit crazy, but with each friend, I understood it. Who am I to say? Oh well, sorry I can’t comment more fully b/c it has been so long since I have seen the movie. Thanks javabeans for highlighting the discussion.

  17. 17 Jen

    I felt much the same way Sere did when I first saw this movie. It got to the point where I blogged about it and told people not to watch it because the message was awful. However, I admit that when I first saw it, I already had preconceived notions about the movie and its message. My thoughts were somewhere along the lines of, if this movie deals with a chick undergoing plastic surgery just to be loved, I will hate it. Even so, I gave the movie another try, and I found that it had another message: happiness is the ultimate goal.

    For many of us, plastic surgery would be an extreme way of achieving that goal, but who’s to judge those that decide to undergo plastic surgery to feel happy? In the movie, Hana was at a point in her life where she was so unhappy that she wanted to kill herself. In a way, it was the plastic surgery that saved her. And, she might’ve done it because she wanted the love and attention, but she wanted love and attention so that she could be happy.

    Of course, she also discovered along the way that she risked a lot in getting the plastic surgery: her health, her ability to be touched (LOL), her father, her friendship, her career, etc. And, if this movie were all about how plastic surgery is the solution to unhappiness, then I don’t think the movie would’ve touched upon the negative consequences of Hana’s actions.

    Hana had problems even after her plastic surgery. She lived in constant fear of being revealed as a fake. And, even after it was revealed that she was not a natural beauty, she had antis saying and writing negative things about her. In addition, even her love interest was turned off at the idea of her having had plastic surgery.

    Eventually, Hana had to realize that everyone has problems — pretty or not. Beauty doesn’t always equal love. Beauty may garner attention, but the question of its sincerity will always be lingering. And, ultimately, it wasn’t because Hana was pretty that she became a hit sensation. It was because she was talented. She had an amazing voice that sold records.

    I still found the ending to be off-putting, but I think it’s because I wanted Hana’s friend to have seen her struggles and to realize that there’s more to a person than just looks. Even so, hey, if it makes her happy.

    • 17.1 scarecrowslady

      Ah… so if it makes you happy, then it’s ok? This is a great philosophical question, right…. And a slippery slope. Even if you approach it, like the Wiccan philosophy, “Do as you will as long as it doesn’t harm another”, you’ve got a problem because no man is an island. It is arguable that your actions to make yourself happy can result in harming another. Unfortunately, we all have circles of influence and in the movie, you could argue that a side victim is her friend at the end. Because something like plastic surgery for beauty’s sake/love’s sake only is self-perpetuating in a superficial society.

  18. 18 djes

    Interesting discussion.

    Like many others, I was watching this movie for fun, and more like drooling over Joo Jin Moo. And for a split second, I agreed why Hanna took the surgeries, for THAT man.

    But in real life, I really hate women who do everything, change their lives just to please their partners..especially when it comes to their physical appearances.
    Relationship is about take and give, and accept who you are, not how you look like.

    The discussion above, is more interesting because held between male and female, to show how we have different approach to a problem.
    I mean, the rate of men doing some kind of “sacrification” like Hanna did must be lower than women do.
    I would like to hear more opinions from male readers!

    In other note, I praised Kim Ah Joong for taking this role, since herself known for having plastic surgeries. And also Bada ( of SES ). the one who took this role for the musical, also did surgeries…and sorry to say, failed. She was beautiful before, and the surgeries…made her look weird.

    • 18.1 scarecrowslady

      Other than Michael Jackson? Well… you bring up an interesting point about men here.

      In nature, the male parts of the species almost always are “prettier” and have to do all the dancing/strutting to get the more dowdy female.
      Historically speaking, depending on the culture, men have had to go to great lengths to stay ‘handsome’ (think France and Italy between the 1300s-1600s).

      But I think somewhere in the pioneering stage, men have got this whole thing of “I’m a man, I’m buff, gruff, unshowered and hairy – and women love me for it.” And there are women who dig Aragorn and Wolverine. But… I do think it’s interesting that only lately has another kind of man come onto the scene (some could label it metro or something else), where one’s looks are as important to them as looks are supposed to be for a female. I welcome it.

      I’m very egalitarian when it comes to externals. If I shave, you shave. If I groom, you groom. In some cases, if I put on makeup, feel free to put on your own. If I have to nip/tuck to be beautiful, you need to as well. Just saying… guys need to stop taking the process girls take to be beautiful for granted.

  19. 19 annieeee

    to be honest, when i finished watching the film, i was disappointed too, for many of the same reasons sere and dramabeans pointed out. i anticipated the film dealing with the issue of plastic surgery seriously and thoughtfully, but that was obviously not what happened. so to me, the film was very much overrated. true, it was fun to watch. but besides the catchy tunes and beautiful actors, there was little substance behind it. and of course, the ending left a potentially misleading message for many young viewers. the ending seemed to imply that yes, being yourself is more important, but if you also happen to be really gorgeous, then everything’s gonna go well for you.

  20. 20 sophie

    SAMSOOKI, while reading the different standpoints, I wanted you to get the last words.

    I found 200 Pounds Beauty to be a lovely and happy movie. It’s a solid piece of entertainment.

  21. 21 soshee

    “I think what Hanna did was losing herself *completely* just to get the guy. And that, in my humble opinion, is a bad thing. Also? It’s not like she didn’t know what she was going to happen: true, she might have not predicted everything, but a basic plan of what she was going to say and do was there.
    And another thing. If you really knew how unbelievably painful plastic surgery is, you wouldn’t admire her. You’d think she was somewhat stupid to have gone through such pains JUST for a man. No matter how great a guy is, if he doesn’t “see” you, he’s not worthy.”

    @sere, again, I don’t think she COMPLETELY lost herself. She gained much of it back towards the end. And really, her acquired beauty was just that extra push to get the guy to “see” her. Even at the beginning of the drama, despite the fact that he seemed to be using Hanna, he really did care for her, but her ugly exterior was just a turnoff. He needed to get past that, and Hanna really didn’t give him a chance, and immediately went for plastic surgery. When she came back all beautiful, there was no more of that “ugly exterior” obstacle for him (what’s his name btw… loll) to overcome. In the end, of course he appreciated that she got prettier, but he still loved her for her inner beauty.

    And because I reread this post, I really don’t think that this movie will influence girls out there to get plastic surgery for the man they love. 1) this movie is not entirely realistic and people will be able to see that. 2) unless a girl is so head over heels over a guy (like Hanna was), she wouldn’t subject herself to the immense pain of plastic surgery. and 3) this movie has such a comedy feel (i didn’t even think of the plastic surgery message when I first watched it) that, truthfully, the majority of people will not be thinking of the message this movie is putting out.

    just my opinion. feel free to disagree~~ I love debates =))

  22. 22 Oatmeal

    I think as we grow older we become protective of the younger generations. Sometimes OVERprotective. Yes, i do agree that the movie’s message can be negative (plastic surgery will make your dreams come true) or that it can be positive (its the beauty that’s within). Whichever way you look at it, its your opinion and should be left at that.
    I do not really think the movie was bad, life can be cruel, life is not all sugar and cotton candy. We might condem the movie for portraying something that IS REAL in life, because it has a negative effect on the younger generations but GIVE SOME CREDIT to the younger generations. They are not all stupid.
    I do agree that there is a FACT that certain movies affect people so much that they actual role play or believe in the messages. But then there are FACTS that certain people do not take movies literally, and often see it just as entertaining. We live in a world where we like to point fingers, its the TV’s fault, its the schools fault, or its the environment. We can all continue and destroy bad movies, bomb cigarettes company, shut down bad internet sites ETC. but in the end its up to US who decide what we want to be in life.
    We have to let the younger generation see, learn, make mistakes, and grow. Lets not think so low of them. And if they are too young to understand, then slowly teach them to make good decisions. And if they do stupid things, its THEIR decisions, because they made the choice to smoke or have plastic surgery. Some people are more impressionable then others, so what do we do? continue to put those people in boxes and cross your fingers they grow up fine? (destroy 200 pund movie?) NAH!!

  23. 23 katyyyyygirl.

    i agree that it isnt the greatest message. i also agree that the korean pop culture seems to be pretty okay with plastic surgery (it seems like everyone does it) and that pop culture even promotes the sometimes frightening thinness with celebrities and stuff. i dont think that 200 Pound Beauty really covered the topic well. I’ve been huge all my life (srsly, at 17, im a fxcking WALRUS. true story.) and i dont think that i could get plastic surgery to look good for someone else and be okay with that. if i were to get plastic surgery (which i so could never afford, so more like, diet and exercise like mad for years or whatever) it would have to be for myself. because enduring that for someone else wouldnt make me feel any better. it wouldnt make any of my self image issues go away. it wouldnt make me like myself any more than i do now.

    i think, still, though, that the movie was popular because it was entertaining. a lot of people i know who have watched it (i dont want to assume everrryyyyyonneeee was like this) watched it light heartedly, and took it at face value, without looking too deeply into the ‘message’ that it sent or anything of that sort. they just took it as a romantic comedy type thing, and were like whatever about everything else.

    “What’s worse is that the woman who asks for surgery at the end is Hanna’s friend… [who] always seemed to be the example of a woman who was secure in herself and who would look down on cosmetic surgery as a way of conforming to societal pressure to be beautiful.”

    This bothered me (in the film, not in writing). That last scene really just did NOT bode well with me, at all. it really struck a chord with me, though. dont get me wrong; i dont mind plastic surgery much, unless a person becomes like, addicted to plastic surgery and is always having something or other done (in which case it DOES bother me and IS a huge problem). in this movie, though, it’s treated too…i dont know. it just seems to promote the idea that a fat girl can get plastic surgery, look pretty, and all her problems will be solved. it worries me that this film was such a hit, because no matter how you look at it, its a negative message to send to girls, especially teens and preteens, because girls our age are so impressionable. we may think we’re mature and grown up or whatever, but we really are more susceptible to media influence than we think we are.

    saying that the ideas were already present in korean pop culture doesn’t condone the message that this movie sends. although thats true, movies like this only fuel the fire, and add to the problem.

    eepies, i`m gonna get ranty if i go on anymore. i mean, i already am kind of ranty, so i`m sorry if my reasoning/arguments are circular, not solid, or not very argument-y at all….yeah okay i`m done :0)

  24. 24 Samsooki

    Okay, I think I need to jump in here.

    Many people seem to think there is a difference between doing something dangerous and extremely painful (with no guarantee of success) when you have a “good” reason as opposed to doing it for a “bad” (or no) reason. But I’m not sure that there is, at least, not in the way that people think.

    Here’s my contention. Hanna is an adult. If she wanted the plastic surgery, just because she wanted to wear a nice floppy hat once in a while, that’s her right to do so – as long as she understands the risks and the consequences. And I don’t think it is anyone’s business, really, to ask why she chose it or whether she should have done so at all.

    If Hanna was a minor, or if she were incapable of rational thought, then others would have to debate it for her, but honestly, if she wants surgery to get a guy, or to get a job, or to wear nice clothing, or to get out of speeding tickets, or whatever, that’s her right, no? As long as she is willing to live with the consequences and she understands the risks?

    ***

    THAT SAID, the reason I think that 200 lb Beauty might have been irresponsible is because it reinforces a cultural stigma against people who aren’t skinny and attractive. This forces people into making decisions they may or may not have otherwise made.

    So, Hanna’s decision may or may not have been made entirely by her free will – she might have been influenced by cultural stigmas (which this movie, 200 lb Beauty, btw, perpetuates) that exist in Korean society.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, in the movie itself, I saw no evidence that Hanna didn’t know what she was doing, and didn’t have it in herself to just say no. She decided to do it, and she could have said no, but she chose the plastic surgery.

    For me, that ends the discussion. Hanna is a grown woman, and she chose a potentially catastrophic full-body surgery that could have ended her life or severely compromised it forever, out of her own free will.

    ****

    BUT, that does not answer the question of why all of us, including all the readers of Drama Beans, shake our heads and tsk tsk against movies like 200 lb Beauty and STILL follow the cultural markers and STILL drool over all the Korean actors (who are like 6+ feet tall and weigh 155 lbs) and sigh over Korean actresses who are 5’6 and weigh 100 lbs….

    We all share in the hypocrisy.

    Let’s not wag our fingers and roll our eyes too much, else we might take away from our time ogling the latest photos of Gong Yoo, Yoon Eun Hye, and Yoon Kye Sang…. (btw, Yoon Kye Sang is 6 feet tall…and weighs 133 lbs).

    -Samsooki

  25. 25 Renee

    Great discussion–I also found the film too squicky to be enjoyable. What really got me, though, wasn’t that she changed herself for someone else (because in the end, that’s a selfish motive), but that that someone else was so unworthy. The horrible things he said about her pre-surgery disqualified him as a romantic lead for me–I couldn’t find him attractive after that, and lost respect for her for still liking him.

    Plus, by having him end up with her (rather than, say, pining for her while she finds someone nice), it’s like the filmmakers endorsed his attitude toward her pre-surgery. Which really ticks me off.

  26. 26 Anon

    Am I the only one who thought the movie was totally boring?? I got about 45 mins into it (which was a struggle in itself) and ended up turning it off. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………

  27. 27 soshee

    @samsooki, I complete agree. I think people are against this movie b/c it explicitly deals with this whole plastic surgery controversy. The fact that actors and actresses nowadays are super skinny, beautiful, and plastic-surgerized (for the most part) seems to be an indirect reference to the plastic surgery controversy. It seems more “idealistic” to reject this movie, making it seem as if one is morally opposed to this outright promotion of plastic surgery for disrespectful means (for love). However, the same people support actors and actresses who have gotten where they are through plastic surgery, which is in essence, supporting plastic surgery for disrespectful means (this time, to gain popularity, fame, etc, or to just feel good about themselves). So it just seems a bit hypocritical to me…

  28. 28 nycgrl

    I can’t say really liked the film but I’m one of the few who also didn’t like “pretty woman” much either. Also interestingly enough I find the message in Pretty Woman much more disturbing than 200 pound beauty. Julia Roberts makes being a prostitute seem down right glamorous and wholesome. I have problems with these types of films as I do with any Disney fairy tale film.

    I do understand why people would enjoy these types of films since it deals with fantasy of transformation and who doesn’t fantasize about transforming themselves but I have an issue when the complete happiness or solution to a protagonist’s problems is centered around the guy. I think I would have been more appreciative if Hana got the plastic surgery because she knew realistically that she wouldn’t make it as a singer with her current looks or if she wanted retribution against the producer or the star singer. To me it is creepy and pathetic when a female character defines herself based on a man and not on her own wants and aspirations.

    Even as a complete aside from the message of the movie, I found 200 Pound beauty to be rather cliched and I watched it with a threadbare amount of interest. I actually wished it pissed me off enough to get me all worked up and angry so I can violently disagree with it but it was one of the those movies whose storyline is overall well trodden and meant to cater to the masses and was just eh for me. I think the most interesting part of the movie was her job as a phone sex worker. I thought that was the most interesting part of the movie.

    • 28.1 scarecrowslady

      I agreed about “Pretty Woman” and Disney stuff. Apart from Mulan… maybe… I mean, like… “Little Mermaid” – you don’t need to say anything to be beautiful. You’re beautiful mute. I’m sure there are tons of beautiful mutes out there in the world – but if we are talking about regular women here, it’s sad that the guy is totally ok with falling in love with a girl who he doesn’t even TALK with. And then we wonder why divorce rates are so high.

  29. 29 fizzle

    Well, I could never enter into an argument like this because I am not one to take movies very seriously. I havent seen that many Korean movies but 200 Pound Beauty is probably my favorite so far. Though I was a little confused about what kind of message they were trying to convey, in the end it was a fun and enjoyable movie that made me laugh and that’s all that really matters to me.

    Interesting points from Sere and Samsooki, though! Great read.

  30. 30 :)

    haha i admit, i liked the movie but it always bothered me about the whole surgery thing. i personally think that if ur happy with how you are, you shouldnt get surgery just for approval. i would understand surgery for heath problems though.

    watch this like a couple of years ago but just that surgery thing always irked me a bit. haha

  31. 31 acems

    @Renee, I agree; my problem with the movie also stemmed from Joo Jin Moo’s character. It would’ve been better if he somehow showed guilt/remorse, changed his demeaning attitude in some way, but he didn’t do anything to redeem himself. All he has to say is ‘I’m sorry, I love you’, and she forgives him for everything? Messed up.

  32. 32 carpediem101

    oh 200 Pound Beauty. I remember when I watched this I had heard such good things and so was super excited. From just the poster, I thought it might be along the lines of Shallow Hal… which I thought had been a pretty cute movie. The beginning wasn’t so bad.. but then as the movie rapidly continued.. I remember cringing and thinking “what is this movie telling us about self-image here?!” and yes. the end KILLED it. KILLED ME. and then it KILLED ME AGAIN because while kim ah joong was wearing an oversized bodysuit, the friend.. was not. and she may not be stick skinny, but dare i say, she’s NORMAL??? what was so wrong in leaving the friend secure and happy within her own skin and snabbing a guy just as she is?? as if that can NEVER happen in real life. as if everyone has to look like kim ah joong to find happiness (which may or may not come in the form of romance and a guy all the time.. c’mon now kmovies/kdramas) i refused to watch it ever again just cuz i was so disappointed, frustrated, and pissed off at society after watching the film.

    and the fact that freaked me out the most? not the movie itself persay, but the fact that SO MANY PPL were applauding it! i get the acting and music was solid. but that could be said for so many other movies out there and they STILL don’t get the rave reviews that this movie got. did everyone just not see what I was seeing? hear what I had heard? did everyone else AGREE that going under the knife for an entire body transformation (or any for that matter) to appeal to a GUY (who imo was kind of an A$$ if I’m recalling correctly.. but this may be just because I was getting really angry and frustrated as the movie progressed). and frankly, if they really wanted to get through the message that INNER beauty was what really counted, they shouldn’t have focused on having to completely fixing the outside to conform to certain obvious set standards of external beauty.

    and this is so totally not fair to kim ah joong.. but i’ve never been a real fan since. :/ just because it’s such a negative association built in there. she’s a role model because she became big through this film… she became a role model promoting a film with this saddening and unfortunate message. grrr..

    i also think that i might have softened if her character had really really REALLY done this all for herself. because then, some more agency could be claimed in her decision. but it was mainly based on having to reconstruct herself to the ideal notions of what everyone else thinks to be beauty. and while one could claim there’s some agency in her choice to do so… it was influenced by so many wrong ulterior motives.

    overall… i’m glad i’m not the only who felt this way. there’s still hope! while i did completely attack the film, realize that i DO understand that it’s just that: a film. and films/media are meant for entertainment. i know. but they also have a tendency to reflect certain ideas/beliefs of our current culture and society, and this along with the seemingly warm and complete embrace of the film by mainstream korean society was what deeply disturbed and saddened me.

    thanks for posting this debate btw. awesome idea 😀

    • 32.1 scarecrowslady

      “i’m glad i’m not the only who felt this way. there’s still hope! while i did completely attack the film, realize that i DO understand that it’s just that: a film. and films/media are meant for entertainment. i know. but they also have a tendency to reflect certain ideas/beliefs of our current culture and society, and this along with the seemingly warm and complete embrace of the film by mainstream korean society was what deeply disturbed and saddened me. ”

      Exactly. I don’t think we can blame the film – but we need to look behind it to a society that is incredibly looks focused – not just for women too. I remember vague Jang Geon-suk being called fat once… and I tutored 3-4 Korean families whilst living in Asia and they are very much about looking at externals. NA isn’t much better though.

  33. 33 Bonnie

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I just hated the movie, period. The message was awful, but the acting and writing was also completely mediocre. At first I was bored, and then I was embarrassed for the actors and cringing over the fat-suit. (I’m not saying I liked Pretty Woman, either- fairy tale TV or film is only good, I think, when there’s a positive message at the end).

    There are just hundreds of Korean films better than this one. I’m not criticizing anyone for liking it, just giving my opinion.

  34. 34 HyeIn

    This debate is a prime example of why I choose to read at Dramabeans over any other place. (ie. Soompi)

    It’s because I am a grammar and spelling freak. It disturbs me greatly when I see misspelled words.

    And, I feel that when I read all of these insights, I feel as if they’re giving me more wisdom.(Which I seem to lack greatly)

    Well, I enjoyed reading these comments. And I must say, that when I first watched the movie, I didn’t think of any of the issues that the others mentioned. I suppose that I’m just a tad naive. ;]

    Thanks as always Dramabeans, Samsooki, and SERE 😀

    -HyeIn [btw. The song from your recap of ROI episode 14 is stuck in my head. “Quando quando quando”]

  35. 35 Anonymous

    #26, You are not alone. LOL.

    But unlike you, I was able to finish it. I just don’t understand the hype of this movie. I watched it a few years ago and all that I can remember was that I didn’t really like the movie. It was an okay movie but I don’t understand why people kept saying how great it is. I didn’t really like why the girl would still want to be beautiful just because of the producer. He’s a total jerk. And when she’s already beautiful, she still liked to hook up with the jerk producer. Tsktsk!

    I don’t have much fuss about surgery but I do think that it should be done for the right reason, not for a shallow one. There are different ways to feel beautiful, it is just a matter of choice by the person, whether to do it surgically, or to do it naturally, but I’d like to emphasize that the problem lies within. Even if you do surgeries or not, if you don’t have a peace of mind about these things, you’ll never be satisfied.

  36. 36 bengalifob

    now i know why i didn’t like the movie even more!

    Plus the Prince Charming really pissed me off for liking her NOT for her, but for how she looked to OTHERS!

  37. 37 biela

    wOw…what a discussion….yeah it is true that the society these days are typical…they do like discriminate n judge people based on their physical terms…and also those plastic surgery is really horrofying n terrifying…people would do anything to get other people attention including those extreme plastic surgery…i HATE PLASTIC SURGERY!!! it just like we are making changes on what GOD gave us…I JUST EXTREMELY HATE PLASTIC SURGERY & BOTOX!!

  38. 38 kimchii

    Really good topic and discussion (:

    I feel bad for not really thinking about the message of the movie.
    Like Orchid I just took the movie as entertainment.
    Which is what it is, but I didn’t dig deeper.
    Thanks for this post. Interesting read (:

  39. 39 hawaiianasian

    I watched the movie and enjoyed it for what it was for entertainment value. Cultures have different views as to what “beautiful” is. Korean entertainment promotes the “thinner is inner” point of view. I don’t make this statement next statement lightly – in the last year and a half to two years were any of the stars that committed suicide fat? no. Were they happy? Obviously not. So does skinny equal happy – NO. American entertainment was the same for many years thin, dangerously thin, was in…like Ally Mcbeal for example. As of late I see the tide turning and they are letting the big girls in to play like Queen Latifah and America Ferreira to name a few. I think American entertainment is starting to realize that we are a diverse nation and the old notion of “beautiul” is no longer the norm and to appeal to the masses the regular Joes or Janes are growing in value. Here in Hawaii it is a totally different concept. Hawaiians ( not transplants ) come from a rooted belief that the bigger the woman was the more beautiful she was. Queen Kaahumanu the wife of King Kamehameha #1 was a huge woman, close to 400 pounds and yet she was valued as beautiful and respected as a Queen (sorry for the history lesson – trying to make a point eventually ) . Here culture has changed a bit with times and since we are an equal mix of Asian, European, Latin, American – global influences beautiful could be the hula girl with full curves, or the “hapa” girl with caucasian features, asian eyes and a golden tan …here there really is no norm.

    I dont think cultural “norms” nor a MOVIE should influence a young woman who finds herself in a similar situation. I believe parents need to do a better job of raising “WOMEN”. They need to be teaching girls to have a sense of self respect, confidence and to love themselves. These are values that should not be taught by society…much less by a MOVIE. One must love themself before findng themselves love worthy and if one loves themselves first it won’t matter if a few kids in school called you fat….maybe they were ugly!!!

    I myself am fat and proud …my motto “don’t like it ….don’t look. I have as much right to take up space on this planet as any one else”. Everyone has flaws whether they are external or internal. Again love yourself first…then others….then enjoy a MOVIE for what is was made for ….ENTERTAINMENT :-) Aloha …..

  40. 40 Ender

    Wow, cool discussion. Although I wouldn’t say that the movie is sending a message, so much as is simply being a reflection of the reality of plastic surgery.

    The reality is: If an overweight and unattractive girl can transform into a lithe and attractive one, then the attractive version will have a better chance of being more ‘successful’ in life(at least career-wise…I’m not sure about spiritual/psychological issues) Simply put, attractiveness matters in both careers and in grabbing a potential mate. I believe this has been shown in multiple studies.

    And the movie reflects this reality: After her surgery, Kim Ah Joong moved from backup singer to a successful solo act, and even had a chance at getting Joo Jin Mo at the end.

    So no, I don’t think it’s a good message. But the movie only reflects what we encounter in our everyday lives.

  41. 41 emtee

    It’s been an age and a half since I’ve watched the movie, but this discussion intrigues. I fall in the camp of people that just didn’t see the appeal of the movie.

    I went in with high hopes for entertainment (not social commentary) value, after all, I like my movies fluffy and hopeful and full of prettiness. Usually, I suspend belief as needed, accept plot devices without a question. No problem. I endured all the crackpot seasons of Alias. I am familiar with waving and gesticulating madly at television screens. Oh, sidetrack. Sorry. Anyhow. Somewhere in the second half, in spite of my best efforts, the film completely lost my interest.

    I didn’t twitch at the fat suit — even though it offends on all levels and has never worked in any movie I’ve seen — as it was a means to a plot end. I didn’t frown at the plastic surgery — her body, her choice — though her motivations were sort of murky and vague to me. I didn’t even feel like kicking in Joo Jin Mo’s teeth because I think his character got dealt a bad hand — so he missed Hanna, but not so much that he thought twice about wanting to makeout with hotass Jenny? I digress.

    I lost the desire to watch because I couldn’t fully support Hanna, and that’s not supposed to happen, right? She’s the underdog, right? She endured the pain, the humiliation, the non-existent self-esteem….so she gets to deal out some comeuppance and some turnabout, yeah? But the composite of the character just didn’t add up.

    Perhaps I need to rewatch? I couldn’t get through My Sassy Girl the first time around, but loved it during the second and third watch. But somehow I doubt that a second watch of 200 Pound Beauty will make me grin stupidly like My Sassy Girl. Unfortunate.

  42. 42 Enkhee

    The people calling us hypocrites because we didn’t like the message, thus not liking the movie also, even though we drool over all the fantastically handsome actors and actresses should find their answers in all their own defenses. Korean movies are for pure entertainment. Most of the time. Not all girls dream of Lee Jung Jae to be their lawfully wedded husband, just as not all guys dream of Hyori to be their lawfully wedded wife. We don’t take all the ‘oh, the Stars’ that seriously. Although it seems like it, not all girls live just to look like a Hyori. Korean stars are not our role models. True, when they’re good, we love their movies, when they’re bad, we’re are a loyal fan base. True, we like them when they’re good looking. But most of the time, they’re just gossip. Tabloid news. Only the movies they make matter. So, we don’t like it when the movie comes out and says “If you’re fat, nobody will love you. Get plastic surgery! Everybody will love you! You’ll be happy forever!” Especially when the movie itself is a total hypocrisy. It tries to end on the “Inner beauty is what counts”, actually it didn’t try, I’m sure it was just trying to appear better than the waste that it was. I saw nothing but a shameless promotion of plastic surgery.

    • 42.1 scarecrowslady

      One of my favourite Japanese singers has a huge snozz, and some people might be like… “Get that fixed!” Thank God he’s intelligent and does his own thing.

      For me, I can’t get into actors and actresses as much, I think, because so often, the media defines their identity – I mean… It is rare for them to say what they believe in film. I can get behind and look beyond looks for singers because top quality ones write what is in their hearts, what they are thinking about… and a rare handful talk about deep things in life.

      I wonder why tho’ we are all so attracted to the beautiful?

  43. 43 Angela

    Honestly, I don’t remember much about this movie, other than the fact that I watched it and really loved the song Maria… but I do remember my dissatisfaction with the message and the romance. Sure, I realized it was for entertainment purposes, but I still thought it would have been a much better movie if the weight loss had been for a better reason. But overall, I still enjoyed it.

    My problem was that I couldn’t cheer for the romance. After that bathroom scene, I just did not feel like he was the right guy for her… so for her to go through all that pain and suffering for some unappreciative ***, really rubbed me the wrong way. I would have liked it better if she’d used the transformation for revenge (purely in an entertaining, comedic way) and that she’d find someone better in the process. I think the message would have been a lot better if SHE had chosen to love someone who wasn’t considered conventionally handsome. And if the guy she went through the plastic surgery for, realized what he lost.

  44. 44 hana

    ya i liked the movie but i really hated the message! that kinda ruined it for me but whatever.

  45. 45 Hannieoon

    Interesting debate.

    I just watched it for fun – purely for entertainment- and never thought twice about messages the movie conveyed. But why not comment on it. LoL. I agree with Samsooki, especially what was said in the comments section.

    Another thing…. this is a movie to TARGET the Korean audience. We have different cultural norms than in Korea so they probably don’t have such a big issue with it as we do. We’re going to think differently when watching dramas/movies and that’s because we don’t live there. For instance, I hate watching movies/dramas where the main female character is helpless and is dependent on a guy (example: Only You:: Hate that drama soo muchhhh) because I grew up knowing that I have the same ability as a man to succeed in life. But I also get reminded that most woman in Asian countries don’t really have a career after they get married. There’s a lot of marriages based on family background/ education background/ salary/etc…. not necessarily because of love. So we’re all going to have problems when watching dramas/movies, no?

    As for messages, yes, the last scene of the movie probably wasn’t the best to use. Hanna’s friend didn’t say anything about getting plastic surgery except when “Jenny” started to get on her nerves and acted like she was better. Her friend was disgusted by her personality change when she transformed into Jenny. And I think that the main point of the movie was that even with plastic surgery, no matter how beautiful you become, you can still be “ugly” by your personality. But it didn’t point out that plastic surgery is bad. Her friend wants to be happy. Her friend was suicidal because her boyfriend was trying to sell a product. If plastic surgery is a way to get a good boyfriend, then why not go for it?

    I also think it’s a bit of a satire as well but the cards weren’t played right in the movie (and with the last scene it’s not really one). Korean society is obsessed with looks/size/plastic surgery. Going back to the movie, an example that comes to mind is my cousin who lives in Korea and had issues growing up as a kid because she was constantly told that she was ugly (by neighbors/people who knew her family etc). Yes, she got plastic surgery but she still has issues with her face/appearance and puts people down to make her feel better. Within ten minutes of meeting her she called me fat and gave me back-handed compliments (which she continued to do throughout her stay -__-). Interesting though, her attacks were all based on appearance. She also attacked my sister (who is very pretty) a lot more. The sad thing is that my cousin was approaching her thirties and is about ten years older than I am. I think she’s a prime example of a person who gets plastic surgery but is still considered ugly because of her personality.

    Luckily, for Hanna she understands that she actually changed for the worst despite being beautiful on the outside. He reasons for getting plastic surgery may have been for the wrong reasons. But the main point is that she redeems herself at the end. She confesses about her past and people accept her. And she gains self confidence as well. She used to be bossed around by the guy she likes but the table are turned at the end. So instead of zeroing on the last scene, maybe we should be looking at the movie as a whole.

  46. 46 insearchofagooddrama

    This is one of my favorite movies. I’d have to say that I agree with Samsooki’s perspective. People make choices, and they are 110% entitled to do so. Of course I do not agree with the message that the movie conveys to the viewers on plastic surgery, but I think that this was all calculatively done with a much deeper meaning. Where’s the enjoyment in watching a movie that you can’t ponder over when it’s done?

    It’s no secret that Korea is huge on plastic surgery as a growing trend, and I think that the writer revolved the movie around something that people could relate to, and to an issue that those in opposition to may be curious about. I think that more than the idea of Hanna choosing plastic surgery, the movie dealt with the superficiality of society. Like the guy that was bleeding down his face and telling her it was okay when she rear-ended him, or the cop that was agreeing that it was the guy’s fault.

    Aside from her physical appearance, Hanna was a very beautiful woman. She had a beautiful voice, a kind heart, and a loving soul. She may have gotten plastic surgery in the hopes of winning the love of Sang-Jun, but the way I saw it was that he already had feelings for her even before she had any work done. One of my favorite scenes was the conversation that Sang-Jun and his partner had while “Jenny” was singing. His partner asked him if the reason he liked her was because she was pretty, and his response was that only bastards like you would say that. His partner then asked if it was because she was innocent, and his charming response was that only guys like me would say that. So, in other words, what he liked about “Jenny” was the same quality that attracted him to Hanna.

    This movie was very entertaining with the combination of the chemistry between the two leads, the music, and the message that I got in the end. Hanna was able to find herself through this life-changing process. She realized that in the end, being true to herself is what really brought her happiness, and I think that this is the general message of the movie as a whole. Sang-Jun also showed her that she needed to be happy for herself before she could make anyone else happy. He encouraged her to go on with the concert not for her fans or for anyone else, but for herself. Yes, the ending with her friend wanting to get plastic surgery just added fuel to the negative message on plastic surgery, but I think that bit was put in for sheer entertainment. It totally caught me off guard and I thought to myself, oh goodnesssss here we go again…

  47. 47 cranky

    I didn’t watch the movie for exactly the reasons stated by Sere. I read the synopsis and watched the trailer, then decided this wasn’t something that I wanted to spend two hours of my life for. Simply putting yourself into the pains of plastic surgery for a guy is so not a message I want to read/ watch anywhere.
    And I find it really disturbing that girls, young girls, are encouraged to get plastic surgery instead of being taught to embrace oneself.

  48. 48 Biscuit

    Yup, I remember at the end the guy says he fell in love for the real Hana and not her beauty…

    So after all the plastic surgery, it was the true Hana that everyone fell in love with. I think thats what the movie was portraying… while there are benefits in having beauty, in the end it’s a person’s inner beauty/character that mattered the most.

    I don’t believe the main purpose of the movie is siding with plastic surgery or not… rather, it’s more on the plot of inner beauty.

    That aside, it’s based after a Japanese manga. And considering plastic surgery popularity in Asia, it’s probably considered a heart-warming comedy where everyone could relate to and realize that plastic surgery has nothing to do with inner beauty.

  49. 49 ella

    Wow, that was some profound discussion. So who won?

    Hahah jk :] I thought both sides had interesting arguments. Overall, I think the movie tried to tackle contemporary issues of Korea (and perhaps other countries), and it tried to highlight some of the insecurities that many people have. The movie was made light and fluffy so as to not *scare* or offend people, but the message at the end was sacrificed – it could’ve been handled a lot better

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but when I think more about it, the movie’s message is a bit messed up. lol

  50. 50 jenjen

    Taking the perspective from an outside person looking in, I believe that based on one’s values, obviously we all have different views. For example, my friend had raved to me about how great 200 Pound Beauty was and that she highly recommended to me. Reading the summary before watching it, I decided maybe I’ll take the time to watch it. This was during our senior year of high school, I was not then into Korean movies and didn’t realize that they were quite different from American movies. I’ve watched many American movies and I’d say I critique them to no end. Similarly so, I give the movie a try and my reaction was mixed. I believe they dealt with the plastic surgery issue much lightly than I expected. First I was applaud with the action she was taking and after the first half of the movie, I decided to let go of my own judgements and just watch the movie as it was. Surprisingly, I found her surgery, not justified, but slightly reasonable. I am a person who is all about being natural and valuing what you were born with, however this movie made me accept that I cannot fully understand the lives of those who are different from me thus I cannot really judge them. Yes, the movie associates beauty with beneficial consequences, however, it does not , innitially to me encourage others to behave in that way. I think, logically, they expect the viewers to see it as extreme, and rarely would someone undergo such treatment. My opinion has changed however.
    Sadly, I’ve been noticing now that plastic surgery has been on the rise and several celebrities have them performed, thus the influences that it has on the fans/younger generation worries me.

    Fans these days are becoming very accepting, rather to the point of defending their stars when plastic issues come up. It is viewed almost as a norm on webs forums like soompi and what not and THAT is what I find disturbing. Although, we’d say a movie like 200 Pound may not have a great influence, we may be up for a surprise. People below the age of 20 especially I think are proned to these influences since they not only are oftened exposed to them by the movies and celebrities but also the social scenes.

    I’m not sure whether I make any sense, but back to the movie, although it was indeed entertaining, the damage the movie may cause is underestimated.

  51. 51 Carolyn

    Reading through some of these responses was quite interesting, as I observed something. If possible, maybe actual statistical data from a poll would provide a better picture for what I thought was a (slight) reoccurring pattern.

    I’ve noticed that, and I mean no harm by this, (I stress this, so, so, so very much) but that some of those opposed to the movie’s message are (self-proclaimed) “chubby” or “fat” (That’s relative, and furthermore, whether or not that’s even true or an exaggeration is unknown). This is pure conjecture on my part, but is it possible that “those” with poor bodily self-esteem may have perceived the depicted plastic surgery with more gravity than “others” who didn’t otherwise notice?

    I don’t want to sound like an asshat, but I enjoyed the movie without even a thought about its societal notions of beauty until I encountered this discussion. Actually, I had more problems with the fact that she ditched her friend and her father. I have more issues with interpersonal relationships (i.e. connecting to people) than I have body-image issues, so I guess that was the main problem I had with Hanna’s character: the fact that she would value her friendship and family so little like that, when I would kill to have such a close, stable friend and a loving dad as hers.

    What I’m trying to say is… everyone interprets a movie’s message in their own way. Everything in life (not just movies, celebrities, etc) is bound to trigger at least one or two insecurities in everyone. Even a supermodel with the “perfect life” will see something out of this movie that she’s missing. In that perpetual lose-lose case, I think it’s best to just watch the movie for what it was intended to be: two hours of amusement and fantastical escapism. I know that’s what worked for me to enjoy BBF/Twilight.

    Haha, I think my point just went all over the place, but I’ve said what was on my mind.

  52. 52 jadetaia

    I watched this movie a year ago or so, so I may be fuzzy on the details, so please excuse any errors I make in regards to the plot …

    When I watched the movie, I saw it as mindless entertainment. It wasn’t believable at all to me, not the fat suit or the plastic surgery that amazingly left NO scars whatsoever even though she’d had just about everything done. I ignored the movie’s flaws because I was more entranced by the catchy songs (like many, I enjoyed “Maria”) and wanted to see what the hype was all about.

    That said, I did realize how shallow the movie was. In an effort to round itself out, the mindless comedy/chick flick tried to give itself a conscience, but it was only a small gesture, and seemed really out of place. Had they not had one serious moment, maybe I could have thought of it as a total joke or maybe even a parody of show biz.

    I’m not sure where I stand on the topic of plastic surgery. Women who are growing older want to make their wrinkles and sagging skin vanish. People want bigger eyes, more shapely chins or noses. Breasts come in one very round shape, and often in sizes that are freakishly large on the skinny women who sport them. (I’ve watched Dr. 90210, and it’s amazing how many women want larger breasts when they are already very beautiful. Often, the larger breasts make them come off as slightly porn-star-ish.) But this is just a continuation of beauty trends going way back. Who made it a rule that women should remove “unsightly” facial hair or shave under their armpits? Who thought it would be a good idea to wear corsets? Who started the trend of wearing cosmetics?

    Also, I realize that a big glaring part of this movie is about plastic surgery, but aren’t we also forgetting other important issues that were presented in the movie? In the beginning, Hanna makes money by providing phone sex for clients. Hanna, once she becomes Jenny, rejects her father and stops contacting him. And when she confronts the conman in the elevator, the producer/love interest makes it look like the man was trying to rape her. In all this, Hanna is made to be a blatant instrument of sex or sexual attraction and in order to pursue her dreams of becoming a solo singer, she abandons every single thing that reminds her of who she was before her transformation – that is, except her now “uglier” female friend and the guy whose attention she so desperately seeks.

    • 52.1 scarecrowslady

      “Who made it a rule that women should remove “unsightly” facial hair or shave under their armpits? Who thought it would be a good idea to wear corsets? Who started the trend of wearing cosmetics?”

      I think the movie isn’t bad as much as it is sad. Because she sells out and buys into society around her. You are right, we should be looking at society. It’s interesting because in China right now, women are just starting to get with shaving.

  53. 53 Vicky

    Like many others, I enjoyed the movie. Hey, it’s entertainment!

    But obviously, the underlining message it conveys is…well, horrifying. Shocking. And totally true at the same time. To obtain something that badly, we /would/ go to that extent.

    Sure, everyone knows it’s all about “inner beauty,” but does society as a general group really follow that? No, because you don’t see many different types of actors in a certain country; they’re all unbelievably beautiful/handsome, regardless of their talent/abilities in acting. For example, like the argument mentioned above, many Korean actresses are less than 100 lbs. and are between the heights of 5’4 to 5’6.

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is: yes, the movie was wrong to show that she underwent plastic surgery for someone else, but then again, if you want to change yourself, it’s your decision. If it makes you happy, go for it. Think about it, as individuals, we all find flaws about ourselves, however small or big and regardless if others notice it or not. /We/ notice it.

    I used to be against plastic surgery, but then I realized it was stupid for me to decide for others. They want to change themselves because they want to fix their flaws. For example, many actresses get nose jobs because they have a small bump in their nose. Who actually notices it? Nobody, except them. What about other problems, like issues with perfect and smooth skin? I hate my skin, nobody notices, but /I/ still want to change it.

    Yes, you can argue that this movie was about full-body plastic surgery, and therefore different, but this is a movie! Many girls have the common sense to realize this is unrealistic to an extent. Sure, we may be somewhat affected by the subliminal message, but our common sense overrides that. Only when subliminal messages are rehashed again and again, do they truly affect us.

    After reading this argument, I want to watch the movie again. :)

    Great idea, Javabeans!

  54. 54 Anonymous

    I think everyone is focusing too much on this one theme- I feel like the criteria is too narrow.
    To me, this film meant that whatever you do, stay true to yourself, or you will regret your actions.
    While plastic surgery is used in the film, entertainment as a statement is supposed to be exaggerated. Only in that way will it effect the viewers. I agree the last scene doesn’t sit well, but the overall theme of the movie was not promoting plastic surgery, but rather using it as an extreme example of how the world is fkced up and it pushes us to bad paths. Realizing when to turn back, now THAT is the theme of the movie. :]
    Just a few thoughts.
    I really enjoyed the debate!

  55. 55 popcorn

    Wow….I would love to join the debate but it’s quite late at 3 am so I’ll just summarize my thoughts.

    My first impression of 200 lbs beauty was merely just a movie to pass time with my friend. It was quite late and tired that I watched it so it never occurred to me the theme. I didn’t like it, actually, but I enjoyed it. I think there is a difference between liking and enjoying. I enjoyed it because the girl was pretty, the guy was handsome, the music was good, and most importantly the film didn’t take too much of my time. I didn’t like it because while watching I felt a bit disgruntled at the setting where Hana was being bullied and at the end where the guy liked her. I root for beauty, mind me, but instead of the plastic beauty that seem so popular nowadays I like more of a less conventional beauty where confidence, personality, and attitude take their tolls. A showed that was enjoyable yet disturbed me wouldn’t make me watch it again.

    Obesity is quite common in where I live so to me that’s not a problem, at least I don’t really care. Actually, I do care about myself because that’s the image I want for me, and just not because of another person’s view. I was trying to lose 20 lbs from 120 lbs (I know that’s insane) but like my friend commented, “I like how you are doing things just because you want to and not because of someone else.” Probably what I want is influenced by society but really I just want to see what it feels like to shut up some people who think I can’t do it. Hana, on the other hand, didn’t do it the hard way but instead chose the easier way: plastic surgery. Sure, it ain’t easy in the pain and suffering post-surery but exercising, controlling what one eats, and be persistent are just as painful, right? Unless there are other conditions where those are forbid…

    My point is I disliked the theme of the movie in general. A guy liking a girl based solely on beauty, sure that is realistic, but a girl liking a guy even though knowing that itis sad. Insecurity will drive the girl to continue persuing such a beauty and happiness in the relationship will not last long. I think the theme should be that even after all she went through, she realized that being her trueself and happy are what’s important.

    If you really dislike what you see in the mirror, do something about it. Instead of choosing an easy way out, do it the hard way by exercising, eating right, and be persistent.

    😉

  56. 56 chajjye

    wow. many comments.

    i do think that 200 pounds sent off the wrong message. i mean, yeah, we can argue that it’s about true inner beauty and all that stuff, but seriously, let’s face it, how many girls in this outer-beauty-cluttered world think that way?

    an example: zia (the singer) had always been hidden from the cameras to the point of being faceless zia…netizens think that she’s ugly until she came out and proved them otherwise. it was not the voice they were interested in. (this may be a bad example, cause she could have gotten a makeover for all we know)

    imo, we are influenced one way or another by the media we consume, so subliminally we would be absorbing these messages. especially for those girls who look at the red carpet and wish that they can look as pretty as those celebs. physical beauty is a social need. we all want to be accepted, and i believe that the low self-esteem is a really big hurdle to overcome.

    a contrast example (i heard this): what about the girl who went through a 200 pounds (or Big Loser kind, can’t remember which) but then was criticized heavily for being fat and ugly last time? she was pretty but she became depressed and eventually committed suicide. was she accepted now that she’s pretty? no. her self-esteem did not become better.

    i digressed there. haha.

    back to the point: i think that even as we shouldn’t take everything we watch so seriously (think Boys Over Flowers) but we cannot avoid the fact that the message is there. And there will bound to be people who will be influenced by the message. Say what you want about perfect choice and perfect information, but 200 pounds with that last scene just did not sit well with me.

  57. 57 marcel

    ppl have already brought up so many good points, i don’t know what else i can really add..

    but to join in on the discussion, i also thought it was odd how the movie seemed to have the intention of relaying a somewhat satirical view of plastic surgery & the harmful standards of beauty held by society…& yet ultimately completely defeated its own purpose with the ending…

    i enjoyed the movie for its comic & musical elements, but at the same time was put off by its final meaning with its mixed message…& though i’m jaded enough to understand that in entertainment profit is what counts, not moral or social responsibility..i’m disappointed by the makers of the film & by korean society in general…

    ppl have brought up the recent rash of celebrity suicides in korea..& i think these kinds of events speak to the ills we should be more aware of..i don’t know who exactly is at fault..the public who constantly demands perfection, beauty, etc from its celebrities..the entertainment industry which all too willingly drives the publicity machine in order to garner profits…the stars who go to extreme lengths to promote & present themselves as perfect, god-like beings..

    as addicted as i am to korean dramas.. & like the actors & actresses for what they do…and truly enjoy & appreciate film and television as art..the negative side of entertainment can be so off-putting at times i’m tempted to just quit watching & following…unlike the young teenage fans who love their idols for their appearance as much as their talent…i’m not as obsessed with celebrities for their looks…and like most viewers i’m sure, am aware that the world of hte entertainment business in which they live is extremely far removed from reality and every day life…

    we as the audience may tend to forget the make believe world of dramas is just that..fiction and artifice…because in some ways it attempts to be a reflection of our real world..& when the lines blur between fantasy and reality, it’s where the moral lines blur as well…to reiterate, i can appreciate the art of film and drama purely for what it is..but when i have to constantly hear of celebrity deaths…or feel pressured to meet unrealistic/artificial standards of physical beauty by society…the only thoughts that come to mind are about the vicious cycles of vanity and naivete that seem to be driving culture & society, fueled by entertainment…

  58. 58 janie

    i think the whole movie was sarcasm…how everyone has to take their own risks because no matter what you tell them they are going to do it anyway because they won’t believe you unless they’ve experienced it themselves.

    so in hanna’s case even though everyone knows that it’s not worth going through all the hardship and pain of plastic surgery for a guy, she still goes through it and learns that he didn’t really care about how she looked but her personality. therefore, she learned that what she had done was unneccessary…but people make stupid decisions that can’t be undone (sometimes) but we all must learn how to live with it.

    same with her friend. even though she knew how hard of a time hanna went through just to find out that looking good didn’t matter as much as the personality, it was her own curiousity that makes her get plastic surgery (or at least go in for a consultation anyways).

  59. 59 omo

    guys and gals (but i think there are more gal posts than guy posts here),

    Seriously, if you scrutinize Kim Ah-joong’s character in the movie, do you really think her issue is beauty or obesity? I think @12 Toya was the only post to bring up the health issue. I got pretty upset reading this thread until I read Toya’s post and then got riled up again reading the rest of the posts.

    If beauty is seen as a total healthy package however you use it, I don’t have a problem. But if beauty alone is the means to achieve fame, attract opposite sex’s attention, etc, then I have BIG bones to pick.

    Back to the movie. If the writer/producer had introduced the proverbial illness in the movie and Hanna had to loose weight fast for health reasons, thereby the need of plastic (corrective a better word?) surgery as a result, I wouldn’t have protested. Voila! Now she need not lie/hide the truth about her surgery and earn the respect of her love interest. I can’t recall whether there were scenes where Hanna was on a treadmill or jogging but if the writer had introduced the health aspect into the movie, it would have upgraded my rating from a “meh” to an awesome one as far as storyline goes.

    @26 Anon. I, too, found it boring because the hideous make up and silly paddings just didn’t lend enough credibility to Hanna’s issues. You just know that there is a skinny person inside and the ending so predictable even while you sleep.

    Samsooki vs Sere :
    From a worldly view, I do agree with Samsooki. Beauty is still a much prized asset and I feel shallow for saying that but the real world is a cruel place and oh..so so imperfect? In real life and on a personal level, if my man tells me he wants me to look attractive to him and I have to go under the knife…hmmm…I would say the same thing to him. YA! How about castration?

  60. 60 cuteangelika

    I watched the movie and I didnt enjoy it. I suppose the fat girl in me is shouting “No!” – that’s not the way to go. I’ve struggled with my weight as a child and been through the taunting and stuff so when I reached HS, I came to a point where I decided I will do something about it. So I worked hard for it. If I had to do it again and if I had the plastic surgery option, Id probably still go for the hard way. I didnt like how they portrayed plastic surgery as the instant solution. Moreover, just as sere said, the character was doing it for somebody else, not even for herself. I guess what Im saying is this movie is overrated and didnt deserve whatever accolades (if any) it got before…

  61. 61 Jo

    Take away the final scene of the friend asking for surgery and I’m okay with the message of the movie. It’s a pink fluffy fairytale romcom where the two leads don’t even get together in the end. He looses his allure once Hannah realises how important it is that the man she loves will love her back if she’s 200lb or a skinny silicon enhanced fake.

    To me her decision was more for herself than him, yes thinking of the look on his face gave her something to look forward to during the months of pain and hard work but he wasn’t the entire reason for the surgery becoming a Hannah she could be happy with was. Prior to the surgery her mind set was ‘if only I was thin’ if only she was thinner she could be having the career she dreamed of, be attractive to men physically rather than just as a voice on the telephone, if only she was thin then she would be happy. Afterward she was able to remember the good things about her former life. Where as before everything felt so dark that she couldn’t see anything good in her life, she was at the point of committing suicide.

    Any surgeon worth his salt would have referred her to counseling but to be fair he was being blackmailed.

    Pointing at movies, the internet, the media etc as the source of evil and claiming it’s glamourising a nasty aspect of our global culture is a slippery slope. The next logical one is to ban it completely or like booze, sex and cigarettes regulate their existence but I think we can all agree that’s going a too far. There’s a recognisable line between reality and what’s in the media and most people know where that line is, those who don’t were always at risk regardless of what day and age they live in.

  62. 62 ella

    I’m with Sere. I enjoyed the movie a bit though.

  63. 63 algelic

    I could go on and on about this movie, but I’ll try to make my comment as short as possible.

    I really enjoyed this movie. Good soundtrack, good acting, funny dialogues, interesting plot, etc.
    But I did have issues with it. I could somewhat relate to Hanna, since I suffered discrimination myself, and I didn’t like how they made her change her image just to be accepted. The whole plastic surgery issue is another problem, of course.

    If we compare “200 Pound Beauty” to other movies/dramas about overweight people, then it might not seem so bad. Someone mentioned Shallow Hal… even though it had its faults, I liked how they confronted the typical perception of beauty by normal people. Other movies/dramas were way more tactless with these issues… the jdramas “Artificial Beauty” (seikei bijin) and “Busu no Hitomi ni Koishiteru” for example.

    Yes, 200 Pound Beauty handles the whole plastic surgery thing too easily… but maybe in real life society sees plastic surgery even more carelessly. Still, as someone here said, people might be influenced to think that plastic surgery will solve their lives, so you should always be careful about the content in a movie.

    In an ideal world, you’d see women of all sizes in movies and the audience would embrace them as beautiful regardless of their weight. Maybe in the future we will see small steps towards that direction… but it will take time and a change in mentality by society.

  64. 64 marcel

    just an addition..my mind keeps jumping back to images of the young actress moon geun young looking positively like skin and bones at a recent awards ceremony…her face looked normal but the rest of her physique looked positvely anorexic..& yet the news media somehow reported her emaciated figure as being incredibly beautiful..singing the praises of a young girl whose bones were literally jutting out of her skin…

    how is it possible that the media, or culture or society at large, is able to distort things to such an extent? entertainment is entertainment…true to some degree…but it is also an undeniably influential, pervasive aspect of our culture and society…like any cultural element it can be used for good or for harm..i am not promoting unadulterated censorship..what i am calling into question are the values we are both projecting and perpetuating through the images and norms in the media we produce…the solution to the problems would lie on the shoulders of the filmmakers and network executives more so than anyone else…

  65. 65 Sara

    Well, i watched the movie and did appreciate the concept of it. Plastic Surgery is such a relevant topic, many oppose it and many are for it. I think its an individual’s choice on what they wish to do with themselves. All of us long for acceptance and not all people have strength to be able to accept themselves. There will always be some part of us that we would hate, wish to change..it is only natural to feel like that. However, in the movie i was happy about the fact that the fans who were watching the concert were able to forgive Hanna at the end when she confessed about plastic surgery (although its a bit far fetched to think they all forgave her instantaneously but still the message is clear). Considering all those ruthless and vile comments some “netizens” (who are not perfect themselves) make towards people who have undergone the knife , i think the film was effective in portraying a more kinder side to it.

  66. 66 Maria

    I watched the movie long time ago and it was one of those shallow movies that are fun (just like ‘She’s All that’ with Freddie Prince Jr. and other romantic comedies), but althought I enjoyed watching ‘200 Pound Beauty’, I thought it was disturbing how she had all those plastic surgeries to get with the guy she likes and also I hated that she ended with that guy, because he only shows real affection for her only after she’s all pretty. During the movie he was nice with her, but never in a romantic/love kind of way and then suddenly when she becomes pretty, he starts loving her… :/ Also it’s disturbing how they deal with plastic surgery like a simple procedure (like ‘oh, i don’t feel comfortable with myself, i’ll now go have a plastic surgery’).
    Anyway, despite the flaws that the movie has, it is fun to watch and the soundtrack is great so I recommended my sister to watch. But, my sister who is a bit chubby couldn’t stand watching the movie till the end because she didn’t felt comfortable watching it. My sister is part of one of the millions of girls that aren’t comfortable with her body, so it was painful for her to watch a movie where the main lead was treated (and portrayed) like trash when she was fat and there were many disrespectful jokes about fat people (like she destroyed a place she was because she was dancing, and so on).

  67. 67 xiahkixiri

    Talk about food for thought! Super interesting…

    I, too, enjoyed the movie for the songs and the comedy and the good fun, but yep, there were a lot of things that were done really badly. I can also relate to Hanna; I used to have an appearance issue on/off that meant a lot of the time, even really nice people literally couldn’t look at me, they would stare off to the side.. high school was a damn hard time… and when that issue went away for a while and I was ‘pretty’, all those people who had made me feel so worthless were suddenly super nice to me.. then it came back and they flicked the off switch. Now, there’s still a lot of on/offing, but I’ve spent a lot of time obsessing over my appearance and I haven’t seen Shallow Hal but I’ll mention another Hollywood film that deals with this issue, Penelope – putting aside my spazzy love for Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon and James McAvoy, it really struck a chord with me, where James McAvoy’s character said that he left her because he couldn’t give her what she wanted – freedom. That freedom is the reason I couldn’t fault Hanna, she wanted to be free of being treated as a lower life-form. I don’t think Joo Jin Mo was the only reason; she wanted the joy of simple things like being able to fit into a pretty dress without people leering at her. I too had major issues with Joo Jin Mo’s character, I wanted to thump him when he started making out with ‘Jenny'; his affection for Hanna didn’t stop him from calling her ugly in that bathroom scene… at the same time, young, pretty people are attracted to each other. It’s sad, but you can’t do much about it.

    Going back to Penelope, what the cast/crew said in the BTS again stuck with me; despite your physical hangups, you shouldn’t let it stop you from living your life… you should love/respect yourself first, then you can worry about other people if it matters to you… but Hanna’s problem was so ‘extreme’ that she had to face it constantly…

    I agree mostly with what Java said, about having her cake and eat it; how many of those fans would have forgiven her if she was still fat Hanna? She could miss her old self all she wanted, but she was still pretty now… but she was happy, once she’d managed to reconcile her new beauty with her old self.

  68. 68 xiahkixiri

    Oh, sorry for spamming, one last thing; a few people have mentioned her taking the easy way out, but she didn’t completely, she exercised to lose all the weight – they showed her on the treadmill, losing weight that way as well as the surgery. I thought she lost weight through exercise, got surgery on her face and a boob job…

    We really do have an expectation from celebrities to be perfect… like Jung Hyungdon’s girlfriend – ‘she’s prettier than I expected’, because ZOMG, how could a chubby, normal-looking guy like him get a thin pretty girlfriend? Meh.

  69. 69 otk

    what a very in depth look on the plastic surgery critique.
    Indeed , it’s true that they made plastic surgery a small issue and it was mocked.
    Though I did enjoy it . Heck, it’s rom com ! senseless fun :)
    I am excited to see the japanese version ^.^ as it stars one of japans mot unique looking chick and one who does comedy perfectly ^.^
    Unlike the preceeding korean version, the first half (while Hana is obese) will be animated . then it jumps into live action with the plastic surgery….

    I can’t wait to see which one grabs me more. Although I enjoy korean movies a lot , I also enjoy japanese more. Bu it seems that 200 pounds will be the most emotional one !

  70. 70 Sere

    I’d like to clarify that I have never took the movie literally. I realize that plastic surgery = plot device, but I still find the message -whether you consider Movies as mindless entertainment or not- you get from it slightly alarming. Also, plastic surgery wasn’t meant to be the focus of the story (it should be her inner growth and the acceptance of herself), but somehow it ended up being one of the biggest topics. Was it meant to be a critique to society? Maybe. Was it supposed to push self-acceptance as a desirable personal goal? Hopefully. Did the movie manage to do so in a clear way? Not entirely. If so many people are slightly perplexed by how such serious problems have been treated in this movie, then something was off.

    Of course, everybody’s entitled to have their reasons to have surgery done, but this movie, the way I see it, reinforces -and not even subtly- the message that you’ve got to be beautiful on the inside, but if you are also pretty? All the better. It’s like ultimately being good and beautiful on the inside is secondary. And *that* makes me uncomfortable. Which brings me to…

    @51 Carolyn

    “This is pure conjecture on my part, but is it possible that “those” with poor bodily self-esteem may have perceived the depicted plastic surgery with more gravity than “others” who didn’t otherwise notice?”

    Who knows? Maybe. I can only speak for myself. Is it my opinion biased because I’m not thin-stick and have had self esteem issues in the past? Probably. But again, that is *not* my problem with the movie. And you know what? Maybe because I know how Hanna felt like that the message irritates me all the more. I could reverse your question: is it possible that those who’ve never had any self-esteem issues may have perceived the movie with less gravity than the folks who noticed and maybe felt a bit uneasy about how plastic surgery was depicted?

    In my opinion the movie wasn’t aimed at thin or fat girls, “ugly” or “beautiful” girls, it was supposed to send an *universal* message that is inner beauty is what really counts, but did it manage to do so? Um, no. The message was somewhat tainted by how the whole plastic surgery topic has been treated imho.

    When I watched the movie -and this was in my pre-plastic-surgery days- I didn’t like the message at all. I did get plastic surgery (as I stated before, it was not for eastethic reasons) and after that? My opinion of the movie became even harsher. I have scars -physical and non- to prove that plastic surgery is not a subject to be treated lightly. The fact that it was used as plot device and most especially the *way* and they why it was used in a supposedly “fluffy” rom com makes me less than a happy camper. That is all!

    Whew! So many comments. Off to read some more. 😉

  71. 71 KaOri

    I enjoyed reading the argument above. The two sides each have really good arguments and I want to correlate my opinions with some discussed issues.
    The movie wasn’t my cup of tea but I agree with a lot of what Samsooki wrote.

    SERE wrote: See, if Hanna (Kim Ah Joong) had done surgery, extreme and unrealistic may it have been, for herself or because she felt discriminated against and humiliated or cos she wanted to sing, then I may have frowned, but I would have understood. But no, mostly she did it for someone else, to appeal to her crush.

    I don’t see this as a valid argument. What’s the difference if she does this for her crush? In general, getting plastic surgery done (if successful) is doing it for yourself. It’s not wrong to see her crush as a motivation to get through it.

    SERE wrote: But see, that’s exactly the point. Even if you — and it’s a general you, not you Samsooki — don’t take the movie seriously or literally, there’ll always be a number of girls who might shake their head about the message and yet, on some level they’ll be exposed to it.

    One movie will just add on to that message that’s been subliminally fed through the media and society. So what’s the big deal? It is in one’s journey through self exploration that you will find your OWN answer to this message.

    Sere wrote: I do agree that there’s a much larger issue at hand (the ideal of physical beauty), but you can’t change society in a day, right? You can, however, start making small steps in that direction with, say, movies.

    First of all, that will never happen. We have way larger issues in our society and I would rank physical beauty at the bottom. How about racism? What I’m saying is that even if all the problems in society exist I would not want the media to censor it. I don’t think the media has a responsibility towards it’s consumers but rather the consumer has responsibility to educate oneself. I don’t like Britney Spears but I do agree that she doesn’t have a responsibility when it comes to her fans. If people want to take her as role model, more power to them, but her main purpose is to entertain. To me, a movie is a movie and I never expect anything out of it except to entertain me.

    Have you guys heard of laser liposuction? It’s a non-invasive procedure that gives similar results as regular liposuction but without the pain and can be done during your lunch hour. I’m not promoting but if it’s there then why not use it. Don’t agree? Then go back and use your abacus for math class.

  72. 72 tlina069

    I very much enjoyed this eloquent and intelligent discussion. Thank you for sharing!

    I actually have never seen the movie so I definitely have no opinion about that.
    What intriques me to join the conversation is the tendency for our society to place physical beauty so high up on the pedestal. However, based on my personal experience, Asian society (not only Koreans) is particularly harsh to the ones who are “not so perfect” and have the nerve to actually promote discrimination.
    A personal experience…There was a point last year, when I was at 145 lbs (I am a 5-footer). Some of my Asian friends wonder why I become so fat, while my American friends (American means they grew up in the States, regardless of their race) told me how sexy I look because of my “newly found” curves.

    I despise how my Asian friends responded to my weight gain, however, I cannot blame them for reacting as such because that’s just how the society we grew up in works. Change will never happen unless people have the courage to stand up against this “old regime”. To remove a sick and old tree, you have to pull its roots out. People can get upset and pissed all they want, but with no real action, the vicious cycle is bound to happen.

    I cannot tell anyone how to behave or which position to take, but what I can tell you is how I responded to the “old regime”: I refused to be treated like crap (because I was chubby according to my society), therefore I left. You live your live, I live mine.

  73. 73 pitza

    Oh! It was fantastic
    Really nice

  74. 74 Seri

    I agree with Sere.

    I personally feel Samsooki is too bubbled to the dirtier part of society which is influenced by the ‘entertainment’ and note here “BUSINESS” because so many of the peers around me or jsut rude people on the bus have quoted things from movies to harass people.

    I, who hated bullying, always stood up against them and defended people and got them to shut up but it’s really heart-wrenching watching people think it’s ok to tease people just cause some tv show or movie did it.

    It’s a business and thus it must smooth out ideals into society. German Nazi propaganda – blonde hair, blue eyes – anyone could have said “oh shut up Hit-loser!” but no they thought, “yeah! that’s the way it should be!”

    When a majority is conquered, it’s harder to break the hurt. That is why so many independent films are made about things like this. About people who commit suicide and people who kill others when they’re on the verge of all the abuse. These films don’t get on the big screens for 5 weeks, IT DOESN’T SELL, IT DOESN’T FIT THE BIG BOSSES SCHEME TO SELL! It’s not mainstream, it’s too “shocking”. It’s not escapism, it’ making you realise how botched up life really is. Even films about massacres… in the end there is mostl happy endings about the hero who saved a group of 20 people. It won’t say “oh well he got shot and that was the end”.

    Anne Frank; “she died but at least we got to see her life and what happened” not “she died.” That wouldn’t make people happy.

    I on par enjoyed that film. My friend loved it but when she expressed her love for it I thought to myself “well actually the plot was lame but the music was good.” She was so insecure about her height and was talkin about the actresses she saw in movies. Yes in movies and I spoke to her from my heart about how she could wear things to compliment her stature and she looked brilliant the way she was… I told her those things aren’t real. I don’t want to be big-headed btu when I speak verbally to someone I am very motivational 😉 It’s hard to express my thoughts through typing since it’s less impulsive.

    It’s a shame that people are so vain in appearance and you only meet some people who genuinly don’t mind physical looks (I don’t mean extremities like severe anorexia or obesity) but just the “average” person with “mediocre” looks. I personally am a strange shallow person. I’ll try to explain:

    I love looking at very pretty people that I know or are infront of my eyes however, if they are horrible I guess I get the shallow Hal effect and they start lookingpretty moldy. Whenever I look at them my eyes get mold growing on their eyes – haha.

    On the other hand, if they aren’t the best looking person, I usually notice something very nice about them (yes very delectable) that makes me see them prettier. If I don’t oh well, I just don’t find them attractive (my friend thought this one actor was hot but I didn’t – ewwwww haha). I’m talking about men and women by the way. I’m not Bi but I don’t mind speaking the truth about a woman I think is hot or cute or pretty, whatever the case she may be.

    Everyone has a seed of shallowness inside them, it just depends on if you let it sprout and go larger on terms of what you see in the escapist world. Those who only consider going out with people as attractive as themselves are part of this escapist world and that doesn’t mean they are nasty but they are part of the society now that brings the conception. We are socialised this way and we can only rebel again the man! STICK IT TO HIM! hahahaha another Jack Black reference xp (Although it’s not originally from him of course)

  75. 75 omo

    What?! 71 posts already (at this point in time) and no name-calling! This IS an amazing blog. Thanks JB for enforcing such a civilized blog site.
    In some other blogs, after reading 3 posts and I go, “Omo, which planet is this?”

    No open thread this week? Doesn’t matter. This was just as fun. I appreciate all the posts….most of them are very insightful to me. It goes to show there is a worldly view, there is my view and everyone is also entitled to their opinion. How boring if all of us had the same view. And gosh, this thread may not even exist.

  76. 76 mochi

    I haven’t seen the movie either, but found this discussion quite intriguing. From what I gathered, since the drama was a comedy, the sensitivity of the issue of plastic surgery may have been disregarded/overlooked, but in actuality I could see how some viewers would respond negatively.

    Personally, I’m not a strong advocate for cosmetic surgery unless it is for reconstructive purposes or to alleviate life-threatening health issues. Frankly I was a bit taken aback when I heard of the high percentage of Korean women undergoing cosmetic surgery. Understanding that outward “beauty” is greatly valued among most societies regardless of culture/nationality, it is disheartening to see young women change their appearance based on societal expectations, specifically due to the image portrayed in the entertainment industry.

    It seems like the real issue is the perception and standard of beauty, which of course is subjective to each person’s opinion. For those who highly value outward appearance as an attribution of beauty, they may consider plastic surgery to be harmless. On the other hand, those who don’t, might not see the value in plastic surgery.

  77. 77 Miki

    Very nice discussion. I had a hard time pinpointing the rather bitter taste in my mouth after I watched (and overall enjoyed) 200 lbs Beauty. Not that I have any problems with it being shallow -I watch a lot of shallow movies- but this one took serious issues and dealt with them in such a way that even though I KNOW it’s supposed to be fantasy, I felt uncomfortable nonetheless.

    That said, my cousin loved the movie. It was a complete and utter Cinderella story to her. She was in no way aware of the stickiness of plastic surgery and its motivations as it was presented in the movie. Maybe it’s because my cousin doesn’t involve herself with beauty perceptions and plastic surgery and these large-and-might society issues, but she took it as lightly as I think the movie creators intended us to take it.

    So in the end, I can’t really hate, blame, or condemn 200 lbs Beauty or anything associated with it.

  78. 78 Rosy

    Javabeans, you are blessed with intelligent followers, good debates. Glad to read all those comments. Thanks people for this. Keep it up.

  79. 79 JiHwan

    Plastic Surgery is obviously common in Korea. In fact, I’ve heard of mothers who encourage their children to get plastic surgery or even give them money to do it as birthday presents. I agree the 200 pound beauty sends out the wrong message to young girls. However, if that were the case, then shouldn’t actors and actresses be criticized as well? Many actors and actresses are idols as well as role models to young girls (and guys even) but there are plenty that have gone through surgical procedures to look the way they do. Isn’t this also, sending the wrong message to children? The point is, regardless of whether the subject is in movie or even in every day life, if someone wishes to look better, they’re going to do.

  80. 80 soshee

    someone above (I’m too lazy to go find who exactly) mentioned something about the fact that more “curvy” people notice the movie’s underlying message, as opposed to the movie’s entertaining and comedic characteristics. I don’t think that’s being fair to those people… it’s basically generalizing that the “curvy” people are not confident with their body, and so think more about plastic surgery. That’s completely untrue and many “curvy” people are perfectly fine with their body, and don’t always have “omg maybe I can become super skinny and gorgeous with plastic surgery” in their minds.

    As a normal person (regular weight, regular looks, regular everything), I watched this movie purely for entertainment. I just feel that the pro-plastic surgery undertone of the movie is not important as the majority of people will not watch with that message in mind.

  81. 81 Undersea Drifter

    When I watched this movie a year ago, I wrote up a review and posted it on my blog… today, to my surprise, I realized that the plastic surgery aspect of the film never once came up in my review. I complained about the romance and the unrealistic bodysuit — not the means in which the weight loss was attained. I guess I felt it was just a vehicle to get the main character skinny… and since plastic surgery is so prevalent in Korean society, it seemed a legitimate way to achieve that goal. Personally, I’m not for or against plastic surgery — I think it’s a personal choice, and in Hanna’s case, an understandable one. But even if she had lost the weight through diet and exercise, I would have still had problems with the movie’s message.

    In this kind of movie, you should walk away thinking “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “what matters is what’s inside”. Instead, *I* walked away thinking, “okay… so to win the guy of your dreams, just get skinny.” Ultimately, I found the reason for her weight loss more disturbing than the actual means in which she lost the weight. To do something so painful and drastic for a guy… and to actually win him over with your “new and improved look” just seems wrong. It would have been more meaningful if she had made the sacrifice only for herself; not in order to win someone else’s approval and love. Especially a man who just isn’t worthy of it. (After the bathroom scene, I just couldn’t get behind them as a couple). And sure, she’s an adult and it’s her choice… but in a movie, I want to sympathize and cheer for the main character… to root for her while she strives towards her goal (in this case, gaining the love of her producer). In 200 pound beauty, it was kind of hard for me to do that… especially since I kept hoping she’d fail and that a real message would emerge from the heartache.

    My heart just broke for her when she went into that office and said “I died yesterday.” If plastic surgery gave her the courage and drive to live again, then I can’t fault her too terribly. But still, I can’t help but wonder how much better this movie would have been if they had given her better motivation, or been more successful in getting their message across. Plus, it’s hard watching a “romantic” comedy, when you realize the romance they’re trying to push is superficial, no matter how much they try to convince you it’s not.

  82. 82 Erisu

    I too, didn’t like the message the movie sent.
    I watched it the first time and really enjoyed it, realizing the motif of plastic surgery making you happier or only pretty people are happy, but I didn’t take much note. I simply thought of it as kind of a plot mover [or whatever it’s called].
    Then I watched it again much later, like a year afterwards. It didn’t sit well with me.
    I myself am obese and have thought about losing lots of weight to be prettier and maybe be happier, find a boyfriend, etc. I mean, one of my friends lost like, 60 lbs and she’s so happy that she lost weight that it changed her as a person because she was so happy being skinny that all she thought about were people’s weights. But I realized what a sick ideology it was. And then I watched the movie and it did not make me happy;;
    I realized that this was definitely the wrong way to go in this movie. It sends the wrong message that being skinny is best. Being skinny makes you happy. Skinny people enjoy life the most; the best things happen to skinny, pretty people, etc. => Do whatever you can to be pretty and skinny to be happy.
    NO. It doesn’t work like that. It just doesn’t work.

  83. 83 Did it happen to you?

    Movies, dramas, celebrities … etc etc etc … is there for a reason … fantasy. I LOVED ‘200 Pound Beauty’. I cried laughing at some of the parts … especially, the amblance scene where they couldn’t lift her and the dr. was yelling at them and then she said she could just roll over. ‘classic’ moment.

    Don’t read too much into it … ruins the beauty of life.

    mk

  84. 84 lol.

    i agree with samsooki. It’s just a movie. They weren’t intending to convey a message that says plastic surgery gives you a better life.
    at some point cere was annoying the crap out of me because she wouldnt accept any examples, only targeting toward this one movie. It’s just a movie to laugh out of, don’t OVERTHINK it. out of all movies that actually have a message, why 200 pound beauty? I just find it so ridiculous.

  85. 85 queen_of_the_game

    I didn’t really think that this movie was that complicated (maybe Im shallow??) but the message that i actually got from this movie is “you have a choice”..and whatever choice it is, people doesn’t have the right to judge you for doing it because it was yours and yours alone…may the reason be for yourself or to be notice by the people you like is actually not other people’s business but yours.. if you watch it and think that it promotes plastic surgery as the way to get ultimate happiness….well it’s still the viewers choice if she wants to believe and under go with it……like it was her friends choice to take a chance and undergo the same thing the lead did (im talking about the ending) because if you ask me and this is coming from a person with a lot of insecurities it didn’t encourage me to get a plastic surgery at all simply because i choose not to have it…

  86. 86 ...

    hmmm… i agree with both samsooki and sere. first time i saw it i was like ‘wow… this is a gd rom com…’ but that last scene slightly ruined it for me. If they would have just left it out, i think it would have been better. The message given is also very dangerous and one people should be wary of, being skinny does not necessarily equal beauty and happiness for one. In my school, a girl a few years above me died recently from anorexia… (R.I.P.)
    On the other hand, as a rom com it did tick all the right boxes for me… good casting: check, entertaining: check, not too corny: check etc. if it didn’t appeal to a lot of people it wouldn’t have been such a success.
    Overall, i thought it was a good movie. I just didn’t think too much about the final message, especially since it was so untrue.

  87. 87 joicy

    Well .. I watched the movie a long time ago, and I remember I appreciated when the movie “touched” the real and sensitive topics, like how an obese person see her body, feel about it, her complex emotions about how people see her and how confident she sees herself; what you really suffered through plastic surgery, what close people (your partner, your spouse) “see it” after you got plastic surgery, and what is frankly after a “real love”.

    However, agreed with Sere, the thought underneath a plastic surgery is not as “easy” as ” I will do it to get someone”; and for me, the ending of the movie is too generous. Oh yeah, a man loves a woman no matter how her look is, so when he found out that woman thought he would love her because she’s beautiful and fit (that means she never has faith in herself and how he may see her) then will he open his arms after a few nights struggling?.

    Having seen Korean friends around me (in US), many of them have a skinny body and I know some of them still try to loose weight, by eating nearly nothing, or vomiting after the meal. It’s ridiculous that people excite for standards like “small face” (width around 20 cm or so), skinny body, too bright complexion (to the point that looks unhealthy). I mean, the society thrives for “beauty and elegance”, and that’s good, but it does not mean that average women has to wear those dresses that skinny model wear and the sparkling high heel shoes, to be beautiful. But everywhere it’s like that. Some time I am really sick of it (I am sorry) and the easy thought of plastic surgery “to get a good boyfriend” or “to be lucky” just sucks.

  88. 88 Catherine

    I heard good things about the movie so I watched it but I couldn’t get through it all. I don’t think I even got half way through the movie before I realised it was making me really umcomfortable. Yes, maybe it’s taking it a bit seriously but at the same time the unerlying messages it gives off are kinda wrong. It did make me laugh quite a bit in the beginning though so I don’t think it is a bad movie, just they used something as a plot device they maybe shouldn’t have.

  89. 89 jenny

    I don’t know about other people, but until I read this discussion, i never bothered to question the message of the movie. I only watched the movie for the sake of some late night laughs. It didn’t even occur to me that some people might take this movie more literal than it was intended. However, I think that is the problem. If a frog is put into a cold water and is slowing boiled, it will die. However, if it was directly put into a hot water it will quickly jump out. Our society today is dealt like the frog that was put into the cold water and was slowly boiled to death. The movies, dramas, and even music videos are slowly poisoning our minds and sending forth a bad message. Like me, I’m sure a lot of people did not even think about the overall message of 200 hundred pounds beauty because we are always exposed with this kind of entertainment everyday with plastic surgery, drugs, and sex. Take wizards of Waverly place. It’s a kids show. However, recently, I watched an episode with girls who had plastic surgery done. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A kids’ show that seven year old and 12 year old kids watch are portraying a message that says, “it’s normal for a girl as young as 15 or 16 get plastic surgery”. I was even more appalled and horrified of the fact that nobody really seemed to find it disturbing as much as I did. When I was little, I watched shows like scooby doo and power puff girls or even popeye the sailor man. When I watched those shows, I created my own mysteries to solve and always had an apetite for spinach due to the fact that popeye’ super human strength are derived from spinach. Kids’ shows like these send forth a message that kids can actually learn and appreciate. Yesterday, I was watching Fairly Odd parents with my little brother who is four and the show was dealing with if Vandicimo was sexy. Really? Should a kids show contain such obscurity. I know it might seem silly to others who watch rock of love or new york; however, these shows are meant for little kids. If we poison them at such young age, kids and adults alike will not be fazed with the issues that movie like 200 pounds beuaty are dealing with. Even more so, I used to hate plastic surgery but recently I realized, Im okay with it. It hit me then. I realized that since I am exposed to entertainment flocked with topics such as plastic surgery, I became comfortable with it. I even pondered what it would be like to get a plastic surgery. Only few years back, I vowed to never get a plastic surgery no matter what., but look where I am right now.

  90. 90 Mr Kpop

    NO FAT CHICKS!

    j/k

    I don’t actually remember much from this movie, so it must have been an average flick.

    Have you guys seen “Love on a Diet”?

    its a HK rom com starring Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng.

    Its about a women (who is….chunky) who wants to be skinny for a man. Pretty funny and kind of similar to 200pb but without the surgery aspect.

  91. 91 KaOri

    @Seri

    “It’s a business and thus it must smooth out ideals into society. German Nazi propaganda – blonde hair, blue eyes – anyone could have said “oh shut up Hit-loser!” but no they thought, “yeah! that’s the way it should be!”

    There were people who opposed Hitler and they died. The nations of Great Britain, France, Canada, Australia, America and many others opposed Hitler..hence WWII.

    @queen_of_the_game

    This movie isn’t complicated at all. I don’t think you’re shallow because I feel the same way. Think about this movie as a modern/realist Little Mermaid. She transformed into a human to be with her love. She longed to be part of the human society (she kept human things in her secret cave)…and for Hannah she wondered what it will be like to be skinny..she wanted to be part of the “beautiful people” society. Why didn’t people blast Little Mermaid? We even saw her as a hero but she did exactly the same thing as Hannah…transformed herself for the one she loved.

    I bet most girls in this thread put make up on right? That’s a way of transforming yourself to a better you but less invasive. You put make up on to impress a date or go out with confidence. What’s the difference if transforming yourself requires more pain, money and time like what Hanna did? Nothing. Everyone in this thread talks about ” society thrives for “beauty and elegance” but as consumers EVERYONE here supports that whether directly on indirectly. For people who think it’s a concept with “sick ideology “, look at your whole entity first. and see if you can differentiate yourself

  92. 92 Samsooki

    I’d like to give some closure to this thread, if possible. Obviously, this kind of issue brings out a lot of emotions and everyone has an opinion because it pretty much affects everyone, whether you are a man, woman, pretty or plain, and big or small.

    First though, I want to thank JB again for hosting the discussion, for shepherding it, and for having such a wonderful website that it brings out the best in “netizens” who share in the enjoyment of korean dramas / movies / music, and, are considerate and thoughtful.

    So, in the interest of being critical, I just watched 200 lb Beauty again. This time, on http://www.mysoju.com. I’m not plugging this free site, but I must say, it is pretty cool to have a whole library at your fingertips, no charge no strings, if you are willing to watch at your computer desk.

    I have to say, even on repeated viewing, for me, the movie is funny. It’s cute. It has emotional depth and despite a predictable plot, the story moved quickly and stayed interesting. And the songs are still good, and Kim Ah Joong is still pretty darn hot.

    There are two things going on at the same time:

    1. The story, which is, as far as I can tell, the same as what I said earlier – it’s about how a woman trapped in an obese body ultimately finds happiness. The “moral” of the story is that her ability to obtain that happiness was predicated on her being able to live with herself, and so she had to be honest in the end.

    2. Here’s the tricky underside. How she finds happiness is done largely through radical, full body, plastic surgery, which is extremely costly, extremely painful, extremely dangerous, and has no guarantee of sucess whatsoever.

    The underside is a blur, and it’s not really the message of the movie. For people who don’t care about the subtext, it’s not even part of the movie. For people who are sensitive to the subtext, however, this movie can be a nightmare either re-lived or not-to-be-lived, ever.

    It is difficult for me to have empathy, however. I am not a woman, I don’t have weight issues, and I don’t have the same cultural pressure to always look my best (although my wife has convinced me that the way I dress is a reflection not necessarily on me, but ON HER, and so I do care a lot about how I appear in front of other people). Still, even without empathy, I do have understanding.

    So I am pondering the questions. Does it make sense that an adult woman should have the right to do what she wants to do with her own body, WITHOUT the damning and highly antagonistic judgment of her peers as to whether she should or should not have plastic surgery? But doesn’t it also make sense that women can be (and are) outraged at the subtle promotion of plastic surgery to satisfy impossible ideals of beauty that are perpetuated in the media?

    Hard to say which end is up anymore. I like Kim Ah Joong in this movie. I like her partly because she is beautiful. I like her partly because she sings with a beautiful voice. And I like her because she is funny, and she acted really well. Do I have to apologize for liking her because of those reasons? And not liking other actors / actresses if they aren’t so talented or good looking?

    And if its okay for me (and others) to like and admire those who are talented and/or beautiful, then why can’t competent adults who want to be liked and/or admired take it upon themselves to do whatever they wish to their own bodies, to accomplish those goals, so long as they accept the risks, the pain, the costs, the consequences?

    These kinds of debates are not meant to be solved on a single thread, or in a single evening. Food for thought for sure.

    -Samsooki

  93. 93 ktown girl

    “Yup, I remember at the end the guy says he fell in love for the real Hana and not her beauty…

    So after all the plastic surgery, it was the true Hana that everyone fell in love with. I think thats what the movie was portraying… while there are benefits in having beauty, in the end it’s a person’s inner beauty/character that mattered the most.” ~Biscuit

    Yes, AFTER all the plastic surgery, AFTER she became hot. Plastic surgery in itself is not the problem. The problem is how the movie portrays fat/ugly people. Yes, the guy fell in love with the “real” Hana.. after the surgery. But why couldn’t he fall in love with her when she was truly herself? Because he was embarrassed to be seen with her? That message is what didn’t sit well with me.
    Shallow Hal at least had a decent message: it’s who you are on the inside that makes you beautiful & Hal, though he struggled with it after the “magic” wore off, saw that, too & was able to see past her fat/physical appearance. Also, he never told her to change/get plastic surgery/lose weight for him. And she never did anything to change herself physically in the movie, and that’s the difference… how they deal with the concept of beauty and worth.

  94. 94 elizabeth

    i didnt finish reading the whole convo up there..too long. haha.
    but i kind of wanted to say this.
    that i was slightly disappointed about how the lead girl got soooooooo much plastic surgery to be “beautiful.” (if she spent so much money on plastic surgery, she couldve spent just as much to hire someone to MAKE her exercise and diet right, but i guess time is a factor? idk) and she felt beautiful. i just think plastic surgery is nuts.
    but, she got plastic surgery to feel better about herself–in general and for her crush.
    but this girl had like..no confidence. her morale was shitty. and the world does depend on looks, its a complete lie if anyone says otherwise.

    but the message i got from the movie was that, your own personality and confidence is what makes a person. you can find happiness and joy with just that.
    because, didnt the lead guy still like the lead girl even when she was obese?

    i felt that was the message. and i may be being naiive right now..but idk..thats just my opinion.

  95. 95 fobulous

    wow…what..a…long…discussion. but i’ll put in my 2 cents!

    man, am i the only one who watched this movie for Joo Jin Mo??? 😛 i didn’t think it was that great of a movie but didn’t think it was as offensive as SERE and some others did. yea, the movie had some serious flaws but let’s be real…society is superficial and looks DO matter. i see some negative discussion about plastic surgery that is misleading and ignorant but everyone’s experience is different. so i won’t negate anyone’s bad experience but just know that MANY people have very good experiences…both reconstructively and cosmetically….and for whatever reason.

  96. 96 Lily

    I don’t see the big problem with the movie’s message. Some of the comments sounded like they were ready to storm up to Congress or whoever and demand for the movie to be banned. I don’t see the big problem with plastic surgery in the first place. People say that it changes who you are but that isn’t true. After all, those same people argue that it’s who you are inside that counts, so what does it matter what you do to with your physical body? And what about makeup? Makeup is to make you prettier, so is plastic surgery. People say its “fake” and “not real” but then is everybody who wears makeup “fake” and “not real”?

    Sere argued that it would have been fine if the heroine did it for herself and herself alone but the whole point is that the heroine was doing it for her satisfaction. Everybody has the right to pursue their happiness (at least in America, but it should be world-wide) and if it makes somebody happy to go under the knife then why not? She is doing it for love. People DIE for love, people KILL for love. If you love somebody but they don’t love you back and if you did something to gain their love, wouldn’t you be happy? Wouldn’t that be doing it for yourself? If you had a crush and he was going to be at a party that you were going too would you spend more time making sure that you looked perfect before you set a foot outside your door? You would, right?

    A lot of people argue that beauty isn’t that important. I believe that is true, but why is it such a big deal when somebody wants to be beautiful and they do plastic surgery? It doesn’t matter, right?

    This film might also send out the message that this is what life is right now, and the message would be totally right! And sensible people would recognize that! This movie is supposed to be light and funny. Besides, everybody everyday does one thing before they go out anywhere. They look in the mirror and primp and preen. I admit, I am a guilty offender also but so are you! I don’t mean to sound offensive or anything but javabeans, and sere grumble about the “message” of this movie. You send the exact same message out every day. You complain about the flippancy this movie deliver the message but you deliver that same exact message too. Whenever you brush your hair, pick out the clothes to wear, put on makeup, you are exhibiting the same exact message: You are beautiful on the outside already so why not be beautiful on the outside too?

    Ask yourself and try to reply honestly. If all that is important is inner beauty, then why do you spend that time in the mirror and picking out your clothes to look good?

  97. 97 lollipop

    “You are beautiful on the outside already so why not be beautiful on the outside too?” (Lily)

    That’s the problem, because that message reinforces the idea that outer beauty is more valued than inner beauty. If the movie is really saying the person who is beautiful on the inside is what is important, then why would it undermine its own message by emphasizing how much better/happier she is in the end when she’s beautiful on the outside too?

    i know we live in a shallow society and outer beauty is important, but if the movie is pushing a “love yourself” message then it did it in a sloppy way that defeated its own message. instead of saying “inner beauty is more important than outer beauty,” it ended up saying “inner beauty is important, but boy isn’t it nice when you have outer beauty too? with plastic surgery you can have BOTH!”

  98. 98 selenoliber

    First off, thank you for posting this discussion, I really enjoyed the level of depth you all went to for the moral aspects of this movie. Secondly, I’ll start off by saying that I really did enjoy this movie and did not take it seriously. It was some light-hearted fun, even if the moral of the plot did throw me a bit as awkward and unsatisfying.

    That being said, I want to contribute by saying that I agree with Samsooki that this movie is only the tip of the iceberg and the real problem is the societal view of physical beauty. However, this fact only incriminates this movie, not absolve it, of responsibility towards its, perhaps, younger audience imo. It’s society that should change its views about obesity and physical beauty. The media, as a form of the arts, often reflects societal views. The danger comes with people who conform to these views reflected in the media because they see it as a social norm. This might not always be the case. Very few people, for example, will see anything reflecting social norm in Lord of the Rings. However, in the case of this movie, it skirts heavily with realistic issues regarding self-image, beauty and obesity, enough I think to pose a potential danger, especially to more perceptible audiences.

    I’m one of those people who view plastic surgery as a negative because I believe it’s the social view that should conform to the people and not people who should conform to the social norm. If enough people are opposed to this one-dimensional view of physical beauty, then like with all other social norms of the past ie. discrimination against woman, it will slowly be flushed out.

    Yet, movies like these reinforce the social norm by treat it flippantly, and in its pursuit of laughs and entertainment, make the subject matter less serious than it really should be.

    It’s true that at the end the day, we will always admire the beauty etc. but I do think that perceptions of beauty are subject to change and it does not have to rely on this skinny, reed-thin image we currently have. Just look at old European paintings from the Romantic era etc.

    That’s just my two cents.

  99. 99 hmmmm

    what a lengthy discussion~
    BTW, why r u guys discussing this now, it’s 2009, this movie is old and it wasn’t even that great~
    Also want to add that this movie is practically based on a true story… no one specific but Kim Ajoong herself can relate very well since she actually went through many many surgeries to look like that in real life.

  100. 100 ahshi

    i think the movie’s use of cosmetic surgery is what’s bringing up the discussion. like what samsooki said, why is a magic wand not being questioned but a knife is? bec. a knife is as real as it gets. we don’t want to admit that we all want magic and it just so happens that in this time and day, magic can happen under the hand of a good doctor.

    the good message of the movie (which for me is to be beautiful inside first and your beauty outside will eventually shine too) is not seen bec. it’s overshadowed by the more controversial issue. even if people say that they’re ok with surgery, there’s still something at the back of our minds that say it’s not ok. there’s still pride in people to say “i’m all real”.

    people who went on cosmetic surgery do it for themselves just as the herione in the movie did. they want to feel good about themselves and being beautiful inside is just not enough bec. of the public eye. it’s a reality of life that people see the physical you first before they see the inner you. when you’re beautiful inside and still can’t get what you want bec. of how you look, then you’ll think again. maybe being beautiful inside is not enough after all.

    yes, maybe the movie should have promoted exercise and eating healthy instead of surgery bec. it’s the right thing to do. she can still get her end result doing it the natural way. but i think it’s the purpose of the movie writers to create a debate. it’s a movie remember? it has to be controversial for people to watch it. and it serves it’s purpose. millions of people went to watch the movie.

    a movie is a movie. we should see it as an entertainment tool to relieve us from our daily stress. they have to be watched with an open mind, to pick the good and leave out the bad. i think that’s why they always have parental guidance in movies and tv programs bec. kids won’t be able to distinguish reality from what they watch. movies are done in a realistic setting for us to relate more. but they’re still fantasy. they’re not in a real world we live in. and we have to teach our children about that. it had to be clear in their minds that certain tv programs and movies are not real and should not be taken literally.

Add a Comment

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published)

Website

 characters available. Comments will be truncated at the word limit.