Hello Stranger: Film Review
Two Thai tourists meet cute in Korea in Hello Stranger, an adorable rom-com that salutes, pokes fun at and deftly tinkers with the conventions of its own genre. Switching gears with apparent ease from heavy-duty horrors Shutter and Alone (both co-helmed with Parkpoom Wongpoom), director-writer Banjong Pisanthanakun keeps the tone chilled out and fizzy like a Spritzer. The two breezy leads convey the headiness of letting one’s hair down in an unknown land.
The film became one of Thai box office’s annual top earners. Addiction to Korean TV drama is not necessary for getting the ubiquitous references to the subject, but it helps.
During Thailand’s Songkran Festival, a man (Chantavit Dhanasevi, who co-wrote the screenplay) joins a package tour to Korea but is stranded in Seoul when he is accidentally misses out on a mountain trip. Abroad for the first time and speaking little English, he latches on to a Thai girl (Nuengthida Sophon) he meets by chance to explore the city together.
When she breaks up with her control freak boyfriend over the phone, they head to the countryside to attend her friend Min Ah’s wedding. They decide not to exchange names, and call each other Darng (“puppy” in Thai) and May.