Year: 2010
Director: Moon Joon Ha (문준하)
Screenplay: Park Eun Young (박은영)
Cast: Han Ji-hye (한지혜), Choi Minho (최민호).
Trailer: (not subtitled)

Oh Je Ro (Choi Minho, of the K-pop group SHINee) is young man who may seem average but is anything but. His life is ordinary, or perhaps even less than ordinary: he is from a poor family and has never finished education beyond middle school. He works as a piano tuner and spends his time hidden away in his family’s warehouse or fixing pianos while his clients are out, barely acknowledged by anyone. What people do not realise is that behind the quiet, gentle demeanour, behind the humbleness, there is an individual who has more love and talent for music – and life really – than many celebrated pianists on the world stage.

Oh Je Ro meets and falls in love with the significantly older Soon In Ja (played by Han Ji-hye, who unfortunately looks just barely older than her co-star), who is uncertain of her place in life. She has just separated from her long-term boyfriend and struggles at the school where she works as an assistant piano teacher. Soon In Ja is taken in by Oh Je Ro’s sweet and sincere charm and soon dedicates her efforts to having his talent recognised.

The couple’s happiness does not last all too long as the scriptwriters somewhat artificially create drama by having Soon In Ja – in frustration of her own failures –  deny the love that is there with the suggestion that the age gap between them is too big, that they are mismatched because Oh Je Ro is immature and Soon In Ja is an adult. However, there is not really anything in Oh Je Ro’s character to support this. He is innocent and perhaps naïve, but not to a point that can be faulted. In his youthful enthusiasm he gives Soon In Ja a ring, but it is strung up on a necklace as he tells her, “Later… much later you can put it on.” Similarly, although he does not understand when Soon In Ja rejects him, he shows more wisdom and understanding than his sunbaes when he aptly directs an insult that Soon In Ja previously hurled at him at the ex-boyfriend who has reappeared to claim her back.

The ending of Pianist provides no definite conclusion, which may be frustrating for some viewers, but it is fortunately open enough for anything to be possible: the final scene mirrors the one when Oh Je Ro and Soon In Ja first met, and thus may (or equally might not) continue what startedthen – it is for the viewer to decide.

Rating: 8/10