Table Manner is a Korean BL short movie about two exes reuniting in a restaurant. The protagonist celebrates his birthday by enjoying dinner with his new lover. However, he stumbles upon an ex-boyfriend from the past. Caught in an awkward situation, the three men navigate between heated confrontations and sexual tension during a complicated evening.
Instead of following the standard BL love story, Table Manner offers a slightly more cynical take on romance. It highlights the uneasy transition between a breakup and a rebound relationship. Although the plot sounds intriguing in theory, this twenty-minute film lacks excitement. The story feels flat, mundane, and devoid of adrenaline.
Table Manner BL Summary
Around 22 minutes
Sad and bittersweet
Yes, there is a BL romance
Minjae is celebrating his birthday with Geonwoo, his new boyfriend. Although their relationship started recently, they seem to be happy together. Geonwoo takes him out for dinner at a restaurant owned by Minjae's friend. Upon their arrival, Minjae is stunned to see his ex-boyfriend Hyunsoo working there as a chef. It turns out Aeri, the restaurant owner, has hired Hyunsoo as a temp for the day.
Minjae and Hyunsoo didn't expect to see each other tonight. Their reunion is awkward, and they barely acknowledge one another. Minjae doesn't disclose his past relationship to his new boyfriend. He suggests going to another restaurant, but Geonwoo seems keen to try out the food here. Reluctantly, Minjae settles down for a meal at the restaurant. However, he is anxious and constantly makes eye contact with Hyunsoo in the kitchen.
Hyunsoo arrives at their table to take orders and serve the food. He is annoyed and speaks rudely. As Minjae and Hyunsoo interact, Geonwoo picks up subtle signs that they may know each other. In the kitchen, Hyunsoo complains to Aeri about his ex-boyfriend. Hyunsoo is upset that Geonwoo has already found a new boyfriend after breaking up two months ago. Aeri tries to play peacemaker and does her best to make the evening go smoothly without incident.
Table Manner BL Trailer
Table Manner BL Cast
Jung Jun Hwan (정준환)
Minjae is Geonwoo's boyfriend. They started dating recently and their relationship seems to be going well. When Geonwoo takes his boyfriend for dinner at a restaurant, Minjae encounters his ex Hyunsoo. Their reunion is awkward, and Minjae doesn't disclose his past relationship to his new lover.
Kim Do Geon (김도건)
Geonwoo is Minjae's boyfriend. He is smitten with Minjae after they started dating recently. Geonwoo celebrates Minjae's birthday by taking him out for dinner at a restaurant. However, Geonwoo doesn't realize that Minjae and the restaurant's chef have a romantic past. He remains oblivious throughout the meal, but picks up subtle signs due to the awkward atmosphere.
Kwon Ki Ha (권기하)
Hyunwoo is Minjae's ex-boyfriend after they broke up two months ago. He works as a chef. He is friends with Aeri, who asks him to help at her restaurant for one evening. However, Hyunwoo is surprised and annoyed to see Minjae visit with his new boyfriend. Hyunwoo acts rudely around the guests, unable to accept that Minjae has moved on since their breakup.
Shin Sa Rang (신사랑)
Aeri is the restaurant owner. She remains friends with Minjae and Hyunwoo after their breakup. Aeri asks Hyunwoo to work at her restaurant for one night after an employee suddenly takes a sick leave. Aeri doesn't know that Minjae has started dating again recently. She tries her best to console Hyunwoo, who is upset about seeing his ex.
- The director Kim Minkyu also made the 2017 Korean BL short movie Tilted Summer. That film is an unofficial prequel to Table Manner, containing many of the same performers. The actors who portray Minjae, Hyunwoo & Aeri appear in Tilted Summer, playing similar roles. However, the two movies have little in common besides the cast, so they can be treated as standalone stories.
Table Manner BL Review
Movie Review Score: 6.3
Table Manner has an intriguing premise about two ex-boyfriends and their awkward reunion at a restaurant. The scenario seems juicy, setting up the plot for potential angst, tension, and emotional drama. Despite the storytelling possibilities, not much happens in this uneventful BL movie. Maybe there's a little awkwardness, but most scenes are tame and mundane. Table Manner is a subdued short film that lacks excitement and adrenaline in its flat narrative.
This movie suffers from a lack of meaningful drama. I don't need the characters to argue, flip over tables, or throw utensils at each other like jilted lovers. However, Table Manner could afford to amp up the intensity by a few degrees. Two ex-boyfriends reuniting should have been an emotional situation, but I barely feel anything from Minjae and Hyunwoo's banal interactions. The storyteller plays it too safe, failing to maximize the entertainment. I believe this film could have written its scenes more interestingly to engage the viewers.
Although not always compelling, it wouldn't be fair to paint Table Manner as a dull movie. Several understated moments are thoughtful and dignified, speaking volumes without the need for melodrama. I really like the final scene between Minjae and Geonwoo after their restaurant date. Not just because they share a sizzling kiss, but I also enjoy the dramatic tension in the muted atmosphere. Table Manner is mildly captivating on a few occasions, which frustrates me that it couldn't be like this all the time.
We hardly know the characters well enough to care about their relationship dynamics. Nonetheless, I like Geonwoo the most out of everyone in the love triangle. He has a sweet personality, seems smitten with his boyfriend, and knows how to give steamy kisses. Meanwhile, Hyunsoo acts bitter, sulky, and jealous in each encounter. Geonwoo is so much better than Hyunsoo that I don't understand why Minjae would give his ex a second thought. Dude, you hit the jackpot with Geonwoo. Your current boyfriend is a keeper, so why linger in the past?
As Table Manner draws to a close, I feel unfulfilled by the movie's subdued ending. The story flatlines for twenty minutes and never reaches its climax. Maybe the minimalism is intentional, highlighting the message that life carries on ordinarily after a breakup. However, I can't appreciate the bland journey and just find the narrative too lethargic for my tastes. My favourite BL stories stimulate me with passion and emotion, but I don't experience that dynamism from Table Manner. Sadly, this unimpressive short film comes and goes without registering in my mind.
Table Manner is an understated BL movie devoid of adrenaline and drama. The premise of two ex-boyfriends reuniting should be juicy, but the story never maximizes the potential entertainment.
I don't know the characters well enough to care about the love triangle or their relationship dynamics. However, I like the steamy kiss that Minjae and Geonwoo share near the end.
The actors give serviceable performances that meet standards. Since the story is so low-key, there isn't much potential for them to flex their acting capabilities.
Table Manner has an open-ended conclusion that leans on the sad side. Its message is that life carries on ordinarily after a breakup…or does it?
This short movie looks bland and doesn't stimulate visual interest. The restaurant location appears a little cramped and doesn't allow the best camera angles.
Table Manner is a mediocre BL film with a flat, unexciting narrative. Although there are a few astute moments, most scenes are too tame and mundane to make an impression.
Table Manner BL Information
STRONGBERRY is a Korean BL studio that made Long Time No See (2017), Some More (2018), As If You Whisper (2019), Secret Roommate (2020), Sweet Curse (2021), Choco Milk Shake (2022), among many LGBT series and short films. The studio is also known as MATCHBOX.