“Late Autumn” is an enchanting tale of two unlikely misfits who fall in love, despite all odds. Director Kim Tae-Yong’s subtle and nuanced direction elicits wonderful performances from his lead actors, crafting a lyrical and captivating love story.
The film opens with Anna (Wei Tang), a young woman wandering through the streets of a Seattle suburb. Her face bruised and her clothes torn, she’s clearly been badly beaten by someone. We soon learn that, in self-defense, she has killed her abusive husband. Seven years later, Anna is in a U.S. prison, serving out the sentence for her crime, until the day that she gets a phone call from her sister. Her mother has died, and Anna has a two-day leave from prison to take a bus to Seattle to attend the funeral.
As the bus pulls away, one last passenger scrambles aboard. Hoon (Bin Hyeon), a well-dressed young man, doesn’t have enough money to pay for his ticket and asks to borrow the remaining $30 from Anna. She reluctantly agrees, and so begins a strange and beautiful friendship. Anna is withdrawn and reluctant to speak. Hoon draws her out of her shell with his charm and amicable nature, making her laugh for the first time in years. But Hoon has a secret. Someone is after him and wants to kill him. Will 48 hours be enough time for this convict and this fugitive to make a connection and escape from their loneliness?
Filled with whimsy, pathos and beauty, “Late Autumn” is simultaneously delightful and sobering. Wei Tang is entrancing as Anna, appearing as a woman who was emotionally and physically wounded, apprehensively learning to love again. Bin Hyeon is charming as Hoon, a man with a shady past who makes a once-in-a-lifetime connection.
Delightful and heart-warming, “Late Autumn” is an accomplished film by a talented director. [Synopsis courtesy of Giovanna Fulvi, Toronto International Film Festival]