Queen Of The Night #KMovie Review: Korean Men do not live in Korean dramas

Hello. This is a Korean in America. Today, I am reviewing a 2013 Korean movie that is now streaming in America. I usually do not do Korean movie reviews but I have something to say about this one.

There are many movies that are not great. Among them, there are movies that you may rent.  Aside of those rentals, in a discount bin, there are movies you may watch when they air on cable TV at night and you do not want to talk to your significant other.

However, even with this type of reject movies, some actually have “something” to show you that is worth seeing although this “something” does not equal “fun”. “Queen Of The Night” is one of those type of movies that is educational watching once and only once in your life. 

Queen Of The Night” shows a very concentrated example of what kind of entity the actual “Korean man” is.

And it is not pretty.

Korean Men do not live in Korean dramas
From various Korean dramas which are soap operas in general, non-Korean viewers of Korean dramas tend to have a rather skewed vision of what Korea society is like. This was true when Korean drama really hit Japan during the 2000s. Korean men were seen to be this charming, hansom, caring species of human kind. And I do get why this happened. Japanese men are shitty to women in general! But the truth is…

Korean men are only slightly better than Japanese men in general.
They are Still stubborn.
And self-centered.

In many ways, criticizing Japanese men is like the pot calling the kettle black. However, I’ve seen writings saying that Korean society is less suffocating for women than Japanese written by Japanese women.

So… Korea may be a little better.

The only value of “Queen Of The Night” is that it illustrates the basic mentality of Korean men albeit a exaggerated one.

The plot
Queen Of The Night” is about a “nerd” tech support Korean guy who is somehow living a charmed albeit lower middle class life with wife that out classes him by a mile. So, it is like a dream come true. More accurately, it is like a fantasy.

The wife is a petite, beautiful, caring, and supportive individual that does all the house work and also works part time. The man perceives her to be this pure and innocent fairly come down from heaven. At the same time, he does not really hold in high esteem her personality or intellect. In other words, the wife is a “pixy dream girl” without personality that defines what a “pixy dream girl” is.

One day, at the man’s school reunion, the man sees the wife enter a dance competition for the wives and girlfriends and is surprise that she can dance. Seeing that his pure and innocent wife can actually dance, the man falls down the rabbit hole of suspicion.

Oh! Did I mention that this movie seems to be a comedy?

Korean men and wives
Before anything, “Queen Of The Night” is not a good movie even with romantic comedy standards. The only reason why I would recommend that someone see this movie is that it is not a too painful way of seeing how real Korean men are like.

The plot itself is rather cliché and pretty chauvinistic. The story of finding that “your significant other may not be the person you think they are” is actually the story as old as time.

Well maybe not that old but you get the picture.

The thing about “Queen Of The Night” is that it is very old fashioned and not in the quaint or adorable manner. It is more like a “before women can vote” kind of old fashioned.

In the U.S., these type of “married a perfect wife who I put on a pedestal and but found out she has a past not as clean as my fantasy requires” movies could be seen a lot during the 60s and 70s.  And, in most of those movies, the man feels betrayed although the wife had not done anything harmful towards the man directly. In other words, the men are offended by “violation” of feminine purity fantasy.

When the roles are switched around in movies, men tend to be involved in more significant acts. They could be a spy, a serial killer, or a thief. If you want to go more mundane, they could be having an affair. In the U.S. nowadays, this has become more of a standard with man and women having an equal chance of being a spy or a killer. The offending act of “Queen Of The Night” is comparatively frivolous.  

Insecurity and Korean men
One thing good about “Queen Of The Night” is that the men do not come off looking good at all. The male lead, the husband, is riddled with insecurities. He is in the position in which he is married to someone out of his league and, at the same time, feels that she is not good enough. By being a comedy, the movie portrays the male lead as being an idiot.  This is not helped by the fact that he is very nerdy and lacks social skills and common sense throughout his search into his wife’s “shady” past.  

Having the perverted geek best friend tag along all the time does not make the male lead come off any better too.

The less than faltering portrayal of men is the same for the other men in the movie since most of the men are no more than frat boys. A good example is the dance competition at the school reunion. The concept of getting your girlfriend or wife dance on what is basically a cat walk surrounded by literally howling drunken guys is rather demeaning in itself. The movie emphasizes this filming it as if they were no other women in the crowd.

Another thing that is off is that the men do not have their own dance competition. It is only for women. Not only is this because of the chauvinism but it is because Korean men are insecure. Getting up and dancing in front of everyone’s gaze requires a lot of confidence. In that crowd of howling frat boys, it seems that there are no men with the level of confidence to do it.

There are only two types of  men there.
Those with impure thoughts
And those who are passing judgment.

“Queen Of The Night” and women
The odd thing about “Queen Of The Night” is that, even among the chauvinism, the women seem to come out looking better than the men. This is not a difficult thing when you take the men in the movie into consideration.

The problem is that the movie does not treat the women as anything other than plot devices. “Queen Of The Night” is centered around how the wife differs from before and after she met the male. However, there is no why this happened. Why did she change from someone who was having fun and actually had a personality to a “Stepford wife”?

I do not know and I think the movie does not care.

Even when the conclusion of the movie comes, you do not know much about the wife compared to the end of the first act of the movie. And the movie is OK with it. This is not surprising since the movie barely put in any effort into the resolution of the plot driving problem.

There is no big gesture. Only a minor one.
The male does not learn anything other than not being a cry baby.
And the wife does not become an actual character.

 At the end
Queen Of The Night” is not a good movie but it is oddly and unintentionally revealing about the Korean male psyche. If you are interested in Korean society and have a distorted rose tinted glasses on for Korean leading men, the movie “Queen Of The Night” may be educational.

Score: D

Streaming link: Good Drama net

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