“The Summer Pasta Recipe” Movie Review

Aka ‘Ex-boyfriend’s Recipe’—and, no, I did not make that up.

When the poster for this movie came out, I was kind of taken aback. It’s not the first time we’ve had exes face each other in STRONGBERRY short films. However, this one looked more like a friendly meeting as opposed to the one in Table Manner (2018), where it was super awkward between the main characters.

The Summer Pasta Recipe (2021) was most certainly not awkward. In fact, it seemed to be as refreshing as the title. Whether it was the lingering attachment, the bit of regret, or the will to move on, the two main leads portrayed their emotions superbly through this short film nearly 12 minutes in length.

Directed by Kim Seongjun, the movie features Heejoon (played by Park Sanghyun), who visits the new house of his ex-partner Seonwoo (Choi Danhak). Seonwoo teaches his pasta recipe to Heejoon as they reminisce about their past together and talk about what happened after their breakup. The way they referred to cutting classes together back when they were at Seonwoo’s old semi-basement house makes us wonder if they were sunbae-hoobae (senior-junior) at college—although it isn’t confirmed.

There’s not a lot going on in these 11-12 minutes of their interaction. They’re pretty much hanging around, trying to make good pasta, while they talk about the reasons one ignored the other after their breakup. Their conversation hints at how their breakup may have been slightly messier than it seemed, but they’re willing to face the past and talk it out. Bits and pieces of the dialogue highlight how this might not only be about the ghosts of past relationships but also about how difficult it is to talk openly about being queer to one’s family. The fact that we’re afraid of getting hurt by people close to us is portrayed skillfully in this short film.

Even though they’ve already broken up, you can still feel the chemistry between the two main leads. Their interactions are very natural, and they emote well. It may be a simple setting, but even that has been polished to perfection in this series. The last scene leaves us wanting more, wanting to know whether they get together again or move on completely. Either way, I’m sure viewers wish for the protagonists’ happiness no matter what comes next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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