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[Editor’s Pick] You should get that looked at

The marketing visuals of Heart Attack would have you think that it is a cute romantic comedy of the type that GTH was very good at producing. However, the film’s protagonist probably spends more time flirting with the medical meaning of the title than with the doctor he develops a crush on. Directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, the award-winning comedy-drama offers a hint of romance and a multitude of warning signs about the unhealthy workaholic lifestyles of urban professionals.

Sunny Suwanmethanon is hilariously relatable as sloppy-looking freelance graphics designer Yoon, who’s known as the best in the business. In order to keep that title and the jobs coming in, he must toil quickly and endlessly to produce impeccable work on tight deadlines. He barely sleeps or socializes, doesn’t exercise, and subsists on convenience store food. Some of this vicious cycle can be attributed to livelihood and career pressures, but much of it is also his own doing. He derives purpose and satisfaction from the work and hustle, and doesn’t see much point in wasting time on other things. When Yoon outrageously brings his laptop to a funeral and asks for the temple wi-fi password to send out an assignment, you laugh, groan, and then maybe remember all the times you had to somehow fit two important things into the same timeslot, or let work responsibilities encroach into personal time, well-being and relationships.

Due to his poor health, Yoon develops an annoying rash that he at first tries to ignore. When it alarmingly spreads all over his body, he grudgingly makes the trip to the hospital and begins to regularly visit a resident doctor, played by Davika Hoorne, who lectures him about skipping meds and his unhealthy habits. Yoon adjusts his daily life to include exercise and sleep in order to make the rashes go away – and to please the pretty doctor. But then his work noticeably suffers as a result of him actually going to sleep.

Dr. Imm has professional concerns of her own, as the young doctor worries about whether she’s of any help to her patients who never seem to get better. A film from her perspective would also be great, but this story mostly belongs to Yoon as we follow the ups and downs of his work woes, rash count and daily life, and get inside his head via voice-over narration. The spot-on internal running commentary is one of the film’s strongest aspects as Thamrongrattanarit’s smart and wordy script never outstays its welcome. Yoon constantly observes, complains, panics and negotiates with himself about work, habits and grievances in a way that feels immediate, humorous and eminently relatable.

Heart Attack isn’t the straightforward serendipitous romance one might expect from the studio and stars. Instead, Thamrongrattanarit applies the romcom stylings and polished production values of a GTH film to an everyman black comedy about the deadpan reality of working till you drop and dryly enduring ridiculous circumstances and unhealthy lifestyles as normalcy. I laughed a lot while watching Heart Attack and I genuinely worried about Yoon, because his character acts as a mirror for so many of us.

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