The re-watch has been so, so lovely. I pointed out the nature aspects to A Wife’s Credentials in my review post — but doing a rewatch just underlines how important it is. There are scenes were Seo-rae perfectly blends into the nature surrounding her. [Spoilers below…]
Like when she cuts through the reeds to meet Tae-oh returning with her stolen bike. (see screencap above) Or when she pauses by the rough-barked trees after learning her son scored dead last on the cram school entrance exam.
I loved these visual signals of her connection to nature and how beautifully and subtly they were done.
Unfortunately, the husband did not find this his cup of tea. He was really unhappy that Tae-oh went to the nursing home to talk to Seo-rae’s mother after Teacher Hong found out about them. He felt it was smothering Seo-rae, not allowing her space to think things through on her own. And he was unhappy that Tae-oh hadn’t talked with Teacher Hong — either fixed their marriage or gotten a divorce — before beginning something with Seo-rae.
I disagree with him on those points. I thought Tae-oh being at the nursing home signaled their connection — that they both sought out the same safe-place. And I actually see Tae-oh as the one place where Seo-rae can breath freely. Also, I felt that his marriage with Teacher Hong had been over for a long time. That he was only there for their daughter’s sake. And I think he would have stayed in the marriage, quietly miserable but doing his best by his daughter, if he hadn’t come across Seo-rae.
To my mind all the things that happened — his unexpected connection with Seo-rae and then their being discovered — happened so quickly Tae-oh didn’t have time to talk with Teacher Hong. He was just realizing his own feelings himself, adjusting to the idea that he was going to leave his marriage despite his daughter when the crap hit the fan and he had to take fairly immediate action.
Not that Tae-oh was a hero. He went along with Teacher Hong far too quietly and I wish he’d spoken more freely with her — even if he’d had to shout or talk over her — before he left. But I also got that this wasn’t his personality and he really was trying to do the best he could in a bad situation.
However — even if I managed to convince the husband that Tae-oh wasn’t so very bad, we watch tv for enjoyment, not to prompt philosophical debates. (At least, not solely for the philosophical debates.) And he wasn’t having fun. So the re-watch will continue with just me on my lonesome.