[Movie 2011] My Black Mini Dress

Official Details
Directed by: Huh In Moo
Genre: Drama
Produced by: Tori Pictures
Distributed by: CJ Entertainment
Production dates: December 3, 2010 ~ Early 2011 (Filming complete as of 2/7/2011)
Target release date: March 24, 2011
Official Site: http://www.minidress2011.co.kr
Official Cafe: http://cafe.naver.com/minidress2011

Yoon Eun Hye as Yoo-Min
Park Han Byul as Hye-Ji
Yoo In Na as Min-Hee
Cha Ye Ryun as Soo-Jin
Lee Yong Woo as Lee Suk Won
Lee Hyung Suk as Yoo-Min’s lover’s friend
Dong Ho (U-Kiss) as Yoo Seung-Won


Part 1

My Black Mini Dress is about today’s Korean society, in which young women face difficulties and challenges in their economic and social environment. It is about wanting to stand out, to live a life that seems to be just as brilliant as it is for what the society has deemed “glamorous life”. It is about the trials faced by its main character Yoo-min (Yoon Eun Hye), and the realization of what’s truly important in life.

My Black Mini Dress is a Chick Lit novel which was a finalist for the 5th World Literature Award.

Through the experience of the 24 years old main character, Eu Min (Yoo Min: Yoon Eun Hye), the novel displays the life of women in their 20’s.

One of the most memorable lines from the book is..

“There’s depth and size in pain..you must wait..until bigger and heavier pain slams down on your shoulders..”

This book depicts the confusion and trials of today’s young womens’ lives through the experience of recently graduated 24 years old characters.

The first book establishes the setting as it focuses more on the background stories of the characters.
And the second book begins to deal with the serious issues and lays out the message of the story.

The beginning of the story is a mixture of a very lively and bubbly environment hinting at serious issues rising from the desire and wishes of women wanting to meet good looking rich men, and living a fairy tale life.

Eu Min (Yoo Min) and her friends had just graduated from an acting program of a famous university at the age of 23, and entered the real world. But the real world is not easy.

From Eu Min (Yoo Min: Yoon Eun Hye), who is jobless until her mother’s connection lands her a job at a broadcasting station working as a writer, Soo Jin, who works as a bank teller earning small wages, Hei Ji, who’s wealth allows her to do nothing with her life but simply dating and changing partners continuously, to Min Ji…They are people who lived fairly well, enjoy meeting and partying in Kang Nam (South of Seoul, wealthiest area of Korea). But as they enter the real world, they begin to face problems one by one.

Hei Ji, who was born with the gift of beauty and perfect body becomes an entertainer, but learns the meaning of working for the first time in her life and faces difficulties. She confides in her friends, but hears that “she is complaining that her stomach aches because it is too full.”

Soo Jin, who criticizes women who has rich man in their lives, becomes the same without realizing, while hating the new life of having to work hard.

Eu Min (Yoo Min: Yoon Eun Hye) is depressed and confused about her dark future, and is filled with unrealistic dreams and confusion rising from the real world.

Each of the friends have their own difficulties, yet because they do not understand each others’ problems, even their friendships face problems.

The novel truly displays the numerous difficulties, hardships, and reality rising from the life of 24 year old women clearly, enjoyably, and seriously.

In short, the novel sends the message that “one should be the owner of their life”, “one should be the center of their life”, and “one should love themselves”.

But the strongest message of the novel may be this..that “I’m the owner of my life, all the problems and issues begin with me, this is my life and no one else’s, and therefore, I must discover myself, invest in myself and prepare for my future. And this is the road that is set for how I will be living.”

-“The difference between those who are nervous, confused and those who are not, is the question of how much the person is loving their life at this time.” (from book 1, pg 220)

The novel shows that regardless of one’s background, wealth, power, and position, everyone faces issues and difficulties in their lives which are important to the respective person.

Although the novel examine these issues and problems through women, it touches on the reality of the real world…
and that everyone faces these difficulties and must fight through it by loving themselves, taking responsibilities, and understanding others and themselves..

Part 2

My Black Mini Dress is about today’s Korean society, in which young women face difficulties and challenges in their economic and social environment. It is about wanting to stand out, to live a life that seems to be just as brilliant as it is for what the society has deemed “glamorous life”. It is about the trials faced by its main character Yoo-min (Yoon Eun Hye), and the realization of what’s truly important in life.

Yoo-min and her friends seek the glamorous “Gang-nam life”. To understand the importance of the Gang-nam myth, the viewers must understand the general economic environment of Korea. Gang-nam is an area of southern Seoul. It literally means “south of Han River”. While the wealthiest few (multi billionairs)may still own houses in the Sungbook-dong area, most of the wealthiest Koreans are in Gang-nam today. It is an area where most of the entertainers and stars hang out, and where the citizens are wealthier than any others in Korea.

Consider that the average 2 bedroom small apartments in Gang-nam will cost US $1.3 ~ 2 million for purchase. It is very difficult for an average Korean family who makes less than US $30,000 to even dream about purchasing one and pay tax every year.

While watching My Fair Lady, I remember a commenter who said, “If Hae-na is so rich, why does she drive Infinities? What’s with her car?”. It is important to understand that foreign automobiles in Korea, such as BMWs, Lexus,and ect. cost on average 2 to 3 times the price in U.S.. For example, a US $67000 Lexus SC 430 will cost approximately US $105000 and total of US $145000 after tax and fees. So you can easily imagine how expensive a Porche, Ferrari, Mercedes seen often in Gang-nam would cost in Korea. But what’s more costly is the maintenance fee. Gas prices in Korea are about 3~4 times higher than in the United States, it would cost you more than US $200 to fill the tank. The insurance on foreign cars are about 2 to 3 times higher than domestic cars. It’s not difficult to understand how such items may be far out of an average family’s budget.

Under such circumstances, it amazes people how glamorous “Gang-nam life” style seems to be. Looking at the cafes and restaurants that Gang-nam people hangout on TV dramas only help to increase the myth about the lifestyle. Some of these myth created by the dramas and news articles are wrong and dangerous in many ways. But that is beyond the scope of this review, so I will leave that out.

From such myth rises people who envy, as merely having a Gang-nam auto plate on your car would give a person certain status. But for the rest of Korea, such myth creates many unnecessary culture which hurt many people. This is the background that My Black Mini Dress will tell its story through the eyes, feeling, and reflection of Yoo-min, in a beautiful way. I am extremely excited about the movie, and I hope the movie will be able to capture the intricate essence of the book. Things are not always as it seems, and it is about time that someone has dealt with such important issues. Such issues exist in Korea, but I’m sure it also exists almost everywhere in certain levels. It’s a story about young women, but it is also a story that can easily be related to men. Meaning of life and importance of life is a topic that we all question throughout our lives, and I hope the movie will be able to emotionally move, and touch, everyone who watches it~^^

Black mini dress is a safe choice at almost any event. It’s risk averse, and a comfortable and easy choice for most occasions for most women. But it fails to stand out in many cases.

Note: You can find part 1 of the storyline here: http://yooneunhye.net/forums/topic/storyline-of-yoon-eun-hyes-next-movie-my-black-mini-dress

“88-Generation” or 880,000 won (about US $900) Generation is a term introduced in an economics book. It speaks of many non full-time or female employees who face many economic and social challenges in today’s competitive environment. Women and non full time employees with less than steller credentials may earn about $900/month.
“Dwen-jang-nyu” is a derogatory term used to describe women who seek out and buy name brand items, but relies on their parents or others to pay for it because they can’t afford it. The term has since been used to describe almost anything related to women that men may not like.

[Can you walk the true core of life while wearing a pair of Mont Blanc shoes? Will you be able to find yourself by looking through your Prada bag? What would today’s materialistic and flashy world look like to a poor person who’s worried about getting a job? Can such grave issues be tackled in lively, humorous way? All of the questions and answers will be found in My Black Mini Dress. (Kim Hyun Kyung, novelist)]

[If you read this book once, it’s just another Chic Lit novel. But if you read it twice, it is a different creation meant to change the way we view Chic Lit novels. Today’s young women of 20’s are saying “We still live our lives at the center of the materialistic girl’s head and innocent heart, struggling while pulling ourselves in both ways.” Through women in their 20’s the author rejects any shallow portrayal of innocence and guilt from their habits. That is why such overwhelmingly honest story is able to correctly show how closely young women’s “Gang-nam novel (dreams)” and the image drawn by the 88-Generation’s “jobless novel” are actually one. To create such foundation, this novel introduces Mok-dong instead of Apkujung-dong, and a black mini dress instead of a glamorous dress. It is a very acute observation from a new writer which offers a new perspective to the social and cultural environments of today’s young women.
(Kim Mi Hyun, Professor of Literature, Ewah Womans University)]

[Dear Client:
Since you haven’t invested in your future and haven’t diligently prepared for your career, we will take your youth away and declare you “a jobless woman”. Since you have been in meaningless relationships that relied on such foolish thoughts as FinKL’s song, ‘Endless Love’, you should now promise to meet men that your parents will introduce you to, and focus your efforts on finding a good man. This is your “life account”. All you have left over in balance are blind dates and the fact that you are 24 years old person who was born with a nice body, thanks to your mom. Although you maintain small possibilities, your balance of the “life account” will soon be negative. Please carefully decide where you will invest your limited balance remaining today. As for your choice, you have blind dates, arrange marriages, clubs, and late preparation for your career. As an experienced fund manager for “life accounts”, I recommend that you get married. Other women like you are increasing their investment and earning safe returns at this time.]

[Yoo-min’s thoughts as she graduates from college]

Children, Chanel Bags Aren’t Everything

Jo In-sung: (With an arrogant face) See what you want to have.
Poor Main Character: (Trying to hide her intimidated reaction) I don’t need things like these.

Jo In-sung: (Shocked) You don’t like this boutique? Should we go somewhere else?
Poor Main Character: No…it’s not that..

Jo In-sung:(Feeling little more ease) I’ll pick it out for you. (Looks through the rack but seems annoyed and says) Give me everything here.
Poor Main Character:(Amazed) In Sung, are you trying to buy my heart with money right now?

[Yoo-min’s thoughts From My Black Mini Dress]

My Black Mini Dress is a long novel of the same genre as Sex and the City, written by a woman who is in her 20’s. It is a story which is told through its main character, Yoo-min. Yoo-min is armed with her shining youth and looks, but also faces anxiety over the uncertain future, and jealousy towards a friend who lives a more glamorous life. Yoo-min has received much support throughout her life as she was raised in a middle class family, but is without any important dreams or goals. Her dream may simply be becoming a cool person who can be the main character in an average Chic Lit novel. So she has a big smile on her face wearing the Chanel shoes that he bought for her, and is proud to be sitting in the passenger seat of the BMW owned by a man who her parents set her up with.

What are these women’s dreams?
Chanel bags, BMW, and a rich man with great background (money, education, career, family and etc.)

But the happiness produced by such things never last. Happiness gained through such materialistic relationships sap her energy, and her friend Hye-ji, who had lived even more thoughtless life, debuts as an entertainer and continues her success in becoming a star. Not just Yoo-min and her friends, Soo-jin and Min-hee, but many characters of the book live with guilt from seeking vanity every day.

To simply declare and conclude that the main characters of the book are ‘dwen-jang-nyu (materialistic woman) or ugly (uninteresting)’ is an understatement, as they tactfully contain the images of the young women in their 20’s of today’s Korean society. From the aura of the book which overly suggest that 52% of female college students may have experienced plastic surgery, to the overly being receptive to brand name products, it correctly portrays the young women in our society who are ultra sensitive to other people’s perception of them.

My Black Mini Dress is like a today’s tabloid of reality which will make you nod your head in agreement, as the world within it, is the world in which Korea’s 20 something women live. It is a story which criticizes the reality of the 88-Generations, but Yoo-min and her friends have dreams of becoming a Cinderella of a TV drama.

These women, who fail to dream properly, feel anxiety and emptiness

[I always wanted to cry.
I wanted to cry when I realized after graduation that I was a fool who couldn’t get a job, when I felt as if I was saying goodbye to the most shining stage of my life while braking up with Soo-hwan, when I had to do things that I didn’t want to do because I took someone else’s precious job through connections, when my best friend became a glamorous entertainer, when I felt that friendships amongst friends can be superficial, when I stayed quiet while watching the egotistic behavior of a man who I couldn’t tell if he was my boyfriend or just a sex partner, when I was getting lectured by mom about how I needed to meet a man who had the right economic and social background, and then I wanted to cry all the time when I realized that my status wasn’t good enough to meet such a man…

[Yoo-min’s thoughts, My Black Mini Dress]

As Yoo-min’s relationship with a man she meets through a blind date goes sour, she is nervous about the possibility of being pregnant. She looks at herself sitting in a bathtub, feeling lonely, small, and shabby.

How much anxiety can a person feel because she doesn’t have any dreams? How scary is it not to have anything that you want to do, and how miserable can a person make themselves by dating a man she should love for his economic and social background? Yoo-min, who has clearly realized her situation, receives a message that her high school classmate, Young-mi has committed suicide.

Young-mi never bought and used lotions for her face. She merely made 800000 won (approx. US$780) a month, but she has been striving, step by step towards her dreams. The futility of Yong-mi’s death has Yoo-min breaking down and pouring out in a painful cry. Young-mi was the only character of the book who had been different, apart from the materialistic world of Yoo-min and her friends. She was someone who cared more about reaching her goals and dreams instead of how she looked. She was someone who sought simple, true friendships, rather than the complicated ones. But she had left through all of her difficulties and hardships, ending her life with her quiet, small dreams with her.

Yoo-min, the main character wears black mini dress at both the blind date and the funeral

Yoo-min wears the black mini dress that she purchased for the blind date to Young-mi’s funeral. Her remorse and guilt from looking down on Young-mi’s way of life, sadness from her death overwhelms Yoo-min and leads her to psychiatric treatment. Yoo-min will drop her vanity, brand name and glamorous world, and slowly takes a baby step towards walking her life.

“At times…I feel that my right to feel any pain and be comforted by others has been taken away merely for having money.”
[Pg. 172, My Black Mini Dress, Book 2]

“I can always have dreams. I can always challenge something. But I always end up looking for the obstacles and the negatives that will decrease my desire to do anything. And in the end, the results would always be the same, “Impossible to challenge”.
My dreams were limited to glamorous image, and I was too afraid to make them real.
And this is the excuse to why I have been wasting my days to this age, without having detailed plans for my future.”
[Pg. 244, My Black Mini Dress, Book 1]

“I thought becoming a 30 year old is like reaching nirvana. I would know about the society, know about men, know about the world, and that’s why I let things just pass by without questioning its validity, and thought that I’d be able to accomplish things that I didn’t like.”
[Pg. 128, My Black Mini Dress, Book 2]

“I’m afraid that good things will happen to you guys. That’s when I realized…

that somewhere in my mind, I was afraid. And this is what I was afraid of…

that my best friend, is leaving to a place that I can’t go to…in a spectacular way.”
[Pg. 37, My Black Mini Dress, Book 2]





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