Are They Really “Just Friends”?

Just Friends?

The 2009 BL ‘Just Friends?‘, starring now popular actors Lee Je Hoon and Yeon Woo Jin, is a short film that portrays a gay couple on the hay day of their relationship. Let’s find out why there is hesitancy in their “friendship” in this recap.

Excitement and happiness are evident on Seok-i’s (played by actor Lee Je Hoon) face as he rides the bus to visit his lover, Min-soo (played by actor Yeon Woo Jin), who is currently enlisted in the military. He feels so giddy that a trot performance (from his imagination) was playing in his head, with lyrics speaking about his thoughts and concerns about his lover, who he fears might get alienated if he gets outed while being enlisted. Going back to his bus ride, he meets a girl who is also on her way to see her lover who is enlisted in the same place. The girl asks Seok-i if he lives in the city where the military is based, but he says that he is on his way to meet someone in the military, and eventually tells her that he is on his way to meet his lover. The girl says his lover must be a good person because Seok-i brought a nice present for his lover, and he begins talking nonstop about where he bought the ingredients to bake the pastries he made.

In the military place, Seok-i mistakenly (?) wrote “lover” in the visitation form of what his relationship is to Min-soo. He asks for a new form, which the personnel declined, and told him to just erase his mistake instead. Seok-i hesitantly erases the word “lover” and made sure no one can see it, replacing it with “friend” instead.

Just Friends?

As Seok-i was giving Min-soo his handmade gift, Min-soo’s mother made a surprise visit as well. Seok-i hurriedly hid his present.

Seok-i and Min-soo had a meal together with Min-soo’s mother, and there they explained their relationship, that they were friends ever since they were in elementary. They hesitantly hid their true relationship from her. After the meal, the couple went outside and talked for a bit. There, Seok-i gives his gift to Min-soo and reveals that he will be enlisting, too, next month. He said that he plans to quit school, and after enlistment, he also plans to do the qualifying exam to become a chef. Seok-i also says that he does not want to spend more time apart from Min-soo, which is why he decided that he wants to enlist soon. Min-soo leans in and jokingly wanted to kiss him in public, but joked that he wouldn’t.

Seok-i says goodbye to Min-soo’s mother, despite her telling him to stay the night because it is a long trip back to the city. Min-soo walk Seok-i to the station, but unfortunately, the last bus already left, leaving Seok-i no choice but to spend the night in Min-soo’s mother’s house.

The three of them sleep in the same bedroom, but when the night got deeper, Min-soo turns to Seok-i and gives him a kiss. They tried being intimate… but his mother suddenly spoke in her sleep (and honestly, who can even become intimate with their mother literally beside them.)

The next day, Min-soo’s mother said she will attend church, saying she will be gone for about 2-3 hours. This ignited an idea in the young couple, and they ran back to Min-soo’s mother’s house and finally acted on their urges. But this euphoria won’t last long because everyone’s worst nightmare happened: Min-soo’s mother walked in on them while they were in the middle of foreplay!

It created an awkward atmosphere, where Min-soo’s mother was speechless. Min-soo walked a teary-eyed Seok-i back to the bus station. Seok-i looks back at his lover in complete concern, thinking about what will happen to his relationship with his mother after witnessing that incident. But Min-soo looks back at Seok-i as if he is giving him encouragement and asking him not to worry. Seok-i goes back to the city, drinks with the girl he met on the bus on the way to the military place, and cries.

Min-soo, on the other hand, calls his mother, seemingly to explain what happened, but she only cries. Being a devout person of faith, the mother seemed to be on the fence about how she will take on this situation. A short musical performance happens, showing that Min-soo is still the same person that he is with her despite being gay. Meanwhile, Seok-i spends the night outside of a house, which is later to be Min-soo’s mother’s house. He seemingly came back to want to talk to her, but decided against it and walked away. Min-soo’s mother saw him and wanted to call out, but decided against it. Instead, she looks at his back, as he walks away.

Just Friends?

Back in the city, Seok-i walks to a restaurant and was surprised to see Min-soo visit him. Min-soo asks for permission from Seok-i’s boss so he can take a leave, and the boss playfully refuses but asks him if Min-soo was the lover Seok-i was talking about. Seok-i bashfully nods, and they finally go out together. Min-soo was about to hail a cab, but because of the terrible traffic, he looks at Seok-i and tells him that they should run. It seems that Min-soo told his mother that he will be visiting her but he will bring Seok-i with him, too. They run together and stop at a plaza to give each other a deep kiss.

The short film is a light take on what military personnel (especially young gay people) go through in the military. They could be bullied if people found out that they were gay, which could be potentially dangerous. But in this story, we see that the love between Seok-i and Min-soo is so strong that they will do everything to keep their relationship. There was not a hint of hesitancy in each of them when it comes to their relationship, on the contrary, it seems that they wanted to shout to the world that they are lovers. One of the good things about this short film, as well, is that they were not afraid to use the word “gay” in talking about themselves and their relationship. It is such a fresh take, despite the movie being released in far more conservative Korea back in 2009.

Actors Lee Je Hoon and Yeon Woo Jin definitely gave the story and their characters justice in “Just Friends?”.

 

Watch ‘Just Friends?’ on GagaOOLala

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