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By Doug Brunell | October 23, 2008

“Never Forever” is a subtle, powerful film that will have you hooked from the opening scene and won’t let your attention wane until the credits are done rolling. Its ending will remain with you for days, and the journey there is one of those things that is almost painful to watch but well worth every second.

Vera Farmiga is Sophie, a Caucasian married to Andrew (David McInnis). Andrew wants a perfectly normal life, which involves a child … something the couple can’t have. As to be expected, the marriage starts to fall apart. Enter Jihah (Ha Jung-Woo). Jihah happens to be at the right place at the right time, and Sophie decides that by paying him for sex she can save her marriage. Of course, the two start to have feelings for each other, which only makes matters worse. Then all their worlds fall apart.

Director/writer Gina Kim knows how to weave a tale at just the right pace. Nothing feels forced. Everyone has a gray area. Answers are never easy to come by, and nobody is ever totally at fault. The feelings are real, and the characters behave in the ways expected of them, but the results still take your breath away. This is not a situation where you can’t see the end coming, but it is one where you don’t care. It’s a spectacular car crash in slow motion, and by the time the film rolls to its conclusion you have become so emotionally invested in all these people that you can’t side with any of them and you can’t turn any of them away. It takes a strong filmmaker to be able to do that, and Kim has proven her strength here.

Don’t be fooled by the subject matter and think that this is some dark romantic drama. This is actually a film that fits squarely in the disaster genre of movies. It doesn’t have buildings burning down around its characters, or cruise ships sinking, but it does have lives being destroyed by the choices its characters make. And while that doesn’t leave behind the wreckage of a tornado, the effects are far more devastating as the survivors are often left standing to go on with their lives … and that can be the worst fate of all.

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