200 lbs of Beauty

Koreans are known for their talent and beauty in the entertainment industry, at an expensive price: plastic surgery. Most popular places to fix: eyes, nose, legs, and breasts. Physical attractiveness is a priority and surgery becomes the norm, as my sister learned on her recent Korean cultural exchange trip. The most popular surgeries involve the nose and eyes. Because Asians tend to have smaller eyes, women (and men) like to have larger eyes to achieve a more ‘Eurasian’ look. Even my aunt in Shanghai got the double-eye lid surgery; I remember seeing her in old pictures where she had tiny eyes and when I went back years later, she had poppin’, wide eyes. And then there’s the flat Asian nose. Like for me, I’ve been called a pancake face back in elementary school and my glasses always slip down my nose because I lack the high-bridge. So it’s understandable why Asians like to fix those particular parts, but still, they’re going under the knife, going through high-risk surgery…

200 lbs of Beauty (미녀는 괴로워/Minyeoneun Goerowo) is a 2006 South Korean comedy, poking fun at the entertainment business and cultural preoccupation with physical beauty and the thin body ideal. The literal translation of the film is “Being Beautiful is Painful.”

Hanna works as a phone sex employee, but secretly has a beautiful voice. However, her large body size keeps her out of the spotlight and the entertainment business takes advantage of her talent for selfish, jaded purposes. She is the voice behind a skinny, gorgeous performer Ammy. At the same time, she has a crush on the head record producer, Sang-jun.

After an embarrassing night out where she gets mocked for her awkwardness and blatantly overweight body, Hanna vies to change and return famous.  How does she do it??  Apparently, plastic surgery is the right road in Korea. The scene with the doctor is particularly funny, because he says “This is crazy. You could die!” with all the changes she wants to make. Let’s see, there’s her dramatic liposuction, breast implants, nose-job, facial alterations, eye-lift… the doctor has never had to do so much on one body. So how does she convince him? Well, because she’s a phone sex employee, he was at her service one time, and she recognized his voice; she knows he’s having issues with his wife… scandalous. Of course, he gets blackmailed into giving her this life-changing, risky surgery, but is promised the jackpot after she becomes famous.

Fluffy friend

After intense recovery, she is absolutely… a beauty, skinny and sexy. She actually looks really plastic, like a Barbie doll. She is beyond recognition when she encounters her old friend at the police department. No one realizes who she really is- her sick father, her crush, or record producers, except her old, fluffy puppy. She returns as a new and improved “Jenny,” this time succeeding in the entertainment business. Her love life and career shoots off, but is she really happy living a lie? She pretends to be a ‘natural beauty’ after Sang-jun expresses his distaste for surgically-modified beauties. She hides herself when she visits her sick father, since Ammy goes to the nursing home to seek out the ‘missing’ Hanna and revive her own now-defunct career. How long will her secret last? Where will her long-awaited relationship with Sang-jun go?

Overall, this is a good movie mocking the Korean obsession with beauty and plastic surgery. I bet doctors there make the big bucks there, with all the entertainers and movie stars entering their offices. However, the movie ended on a bad message, that basically plastic surgery can have good prospects. If you are unhappy with your body, just get plastic surgery to fix your flaws and get all patched up to begin a new life. It is as if cosmetic surgery is the solution to a sore spot on the face or small breasts, the ‘easy’ way to get guys and be successful.

Well, enjoy the movie. The soundtrack is worth listening to. I really like the lead song by the lead actress, “Maria” by 김아중 (Kim Ah Joong), a more modern and awesome cover of Blondie’s song.

A closer look at some old pictures, you can venture to guess the lead actress probably got that plastic surgery. Quite a dramatic change… Goodbye eyeglasses and hello eye lift…

Track Title Artist
1 Beautiful Girl 김아중 (Kim Ah Joong)
2 별 Star 유미 (Youmee)
3 Maria 김아중 (Kim Ah Joong)
4 Dance With My Daddy Alex Chu (Clazziquai)
5 You Don’t Know I Love You U (유)
6 슈퍼스타 [Super Star] Loveholic
7 튜울립 [Tulip] Venny (상상밴드) feat. 종휘 (Jong-hui)
8 Miss You Much 유미 (Youmee)
9 Beautiful Girl (teaser Edit) 김아중 (Kim Ah Joong) feat. Alex Chu (Clazziquai) & And
10 바보처럼 [Like A Fool] 김형중 (Kim Hyun Joong)
11 별 [Star] (Original dialog Version) 김아중 (Kim Ah Joong)
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