One Spring Night – Series Review

Back on the kdrama bandwagon — I just finished watching One Spring Night, and I must say that I really enjoyed it. I know that it’s compared a lot with Something In the Rain, since it shares the same director and actor, but I actually enjoyed this much more!!

Of course..it was hard for me to accept the gravity of the obstacles that the main couple faced..our hero being a single dad being the most grave of them but it was about so much more. Han Ji Min did a fantastic job of portraying a strong woman who has vulnerabilities but also many strengths and is willing to fight for them..she’s not perfect..she admits it herself..but you would want someone like her in your corner. it’s also heartwarming to see how strong all the women are in this drama..no doormats to speak of..yeah!!! Refreshing and still interesting despite the fact that the traditional overbearing father did still make an appearance and it was fun to hate quite a few characters as well.

I liked the fact that though it was clear that their love was deep..it was also unsettling as a viewer because you weren’t quite sure all the way through if that was enough..it isn’t always in life is it? The supporting cast (actors and characters) was excellent as well..I really enjoyed discovering a new actor (Kim Joon Han) who I hope to see more of in future.

They did deserve an “F” for one thing..I don’t know about librarians in Korea but here they are no longer the stereotypical little old lady with white bun and glasses..lol..but that’s exactly what they were thinking when they made the poor girl up each morning..all she lacked was the white bun..I’ve never ever seen such a horrible wardrobe in my life..shame on them! What were they thinking?????

#han-ji-min, #jung-hae-in, #kim-joon-han, #one-spring-night, #series-review

Dazzling or Radiant or whatever title you prefer – Series Review

All I can say is…wow!

You know by now that I always like to check out dramas with unusual twists..like time travel..like body swapping..like returning from death to get a second chance..you get the idea..so when I came across this drama I naturally had to check it out. It’s only 12 episodes which was a plus and not a huge commitment. It also starred Han Ji Min whom I really love and Kim Hye-Ja whom I’ve never seen but read good things about. Oh..and of course Nam Joo Hyuk – not a star as an actor but definitely eye candy material.

So the synopsis is: a young girl..through the use of a magic watch- in trying to save her father – suddenly finds herself robbed of her youth and wakes up in the body of an old woman.  Very inconvenient, especially when she was on the verge of a beautiful love story with our hero (who btw has his own sad past to deal with).

Watching this drama was a wonderful gift. I loved almost every aspect of it. I loved the shifting perspectives..especially the unique perspective of a young girl experiencing the difficulties of aging and not being afraid to share those frustrations. I loved how this drama explored deep friendships..how it explored complicated family dynamics. I loved that alot of the cast were older actors who were such fun to watch. I was especially impressed with Kim Hye-Ja who was able to make me feel the young girl supposedly within her. I loved that I got much much more than I was expecting. There were funny moments..there were light moments..there were sad moments..there were heartbreaking and unbearably dark moments.

I’m so sad that it’s over but I’m hunting for more from this writer and director..that speaks for itself doesn’t it??

#han-ji-min, #kim-hye-ja, #nam-joo-hyuk, #radiant, #son-ho-joon, #the-light-in-your-eyes

Look Back: Padam Padam

This review was written for and appeared in the Korean Quarterly.

It is a rare and precious drama that, upon viewing, can make one’s pulse beat just a little faster than normal, from the opening moments through to the final scene. Cable network jTBC performed that miracle with the exceptional “Padam Padam… The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats.”

It is clear from the opening scene that this will be no ordinary story, told in no ordinary way, nor performed by ordinary actors. If it were simply a case of a great story, many viewers of television dramas would be delighted at being treated to a novel and imaginative tale. Yet this is perhaps the least of the not inconsiderable treats provided by “Padam Padam.” It brings to the screen an incredible visual style, cinematic in its scope, as well as beautiful and unique locations in and near Tongyeong, South Korea. But it is the excellence of the performers who make up the drama’s cast that bring these other components to brilliant life and make it unforgettable.

One of the boldest and bravest of these performances is that of Jung Woo-sung.

Jung Woo-sung is Kang-chil

The drama opens with an extreme close-up of Jung, dedicated to eating a meal of fried chicken with a single-minded thoroughness. Meat is stripped from the bones with precision and no succulent morsel escapes his unselfconscious attention. He eats without passion.  A voice interrupts his meal to tell him that Prisoner Yang Kang-chil has a visitor. This is to be his last meal; he is destined for the gallows. Are we seeing, in fact, a story told in reverse?

While this is not the case (we are not after all seeing the story’s final sequence), “Padam Padam” is a richly layered story, with multiple timelines. It demands your attention at all times, though this is never a chore. Watching the various threads of the story unravel and become knit together once again is particularly gratifying. It is a story of redemption and retribution, of courage and despair, of love and doubt, and of miracles.

Continue to read more of this review (plot-related spoiler content level: medium-low)

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#han-ji-min, #jung-woo-sung, #kim-bum, #lee-jae-woo, #na-moon-hee, #padam-padam, #padam-padam-the-sound-of-his-and-her-heartbeats

Finished Familiar Wife

I have mixed feelings about how this one ends, but I guess that has a lot to do with how I “thought” things should go, and cause I kinda felt that Woo Jin wasn’t true to her character in one episode in particular. It was good to see that the effort on both of their parts, to approach their marriage in a completely different way held strong. There were a couple of moments where they both had the opportunity to regress, but overcame.

There were also situations and characters whose stories were left up in the air, and way too much time spent with the goings on and characters at work. I never totally understood or got a handle on the other time traveler’s story. And Woo Jin’s dad — what was the purpose of intervening there? Have to say that it’s always nice to see Jo Jung Suk tho!

Still think it’s worth the watch…

#familiar-wife, #han-ji-min, #ji-sung, #jo-jung-suk

10 episodes in — Familiar Wife

It was a given from the start that Joo Hyuk (Ji Sung) was going to learn some valuable lessons here regarding his former marriage to Woo Jin ( Han Ji Min). As I watch those lessons unfold, I have to admit that I’m moved by his reactions to his part in failing Woo Jin so selfishly. I didn’t get the impression that, initially, it was intentional, but it became easier and easier for him to neglect his suffering wife as time went on. I have to say that although we see Woo Jin’s suffering, she’s not the type you really feel sorry for, but admire. Her problems with him, her Mom, her job, and raising two children virtually on her own, could’ve caused a full blown depression, but her anger showed how much fight she has in her. In choosing another life and wife without her, Joo Hyuk sees what an admirable person she really is, and what she became as a result being married to him.

IMHO, but not really because I’m a fool for love, he should leave her be, and let her be happy. Still, I understand that he gave her no choice in their previous combined destiny, so walking away isn’t that easy. Also, the destiny that he’s chosen with Hye Won goes to prove that he just AINT good husband material. His chosen wife is rich, self entitled, and kinda unlikable, but he’s still severely lacking even where she’s concerned. I can’t not feel sorry for him though….dunno why?

One thing’s for sure…..he’s suffering! But it’s causing others to suffer as well.

#familiar-wife, #han-ji-min, #ji-sung

I hadn’t intended too…..but

I started “Familiar Wife” with Ji Sung and Han Mi Jin. I wanted to just get a taste of it and put it away for future viewing, but the first episode was so hilarious that I had to go on! I knew Ji Sung had a comedic edge to him, but Han Ji Min?!?! Who knew!

As a married couple of 5 years, they’ve hit a pretty bad rough spot, which is really serious in and of itself, but it’s so funny how MEAN she is, and how he’s so afraid of her! And boy does she curse like a sailor! The visual for me was hard to swallow because HJM is so petite and angelic looking. Yet, some of the stressors that can and do happen in a marriage can make even the sweetest person turn into a Tasmanian devil.

I’ve made it to ep 2 and the seriousness of how they’ve reached this point in their marriage is starting to unfold. Ji Sung is checking out of his marriage and fantasizing about the girl that got away. It’s a fantasy, and the story appears to be heading to a case of “ the grass is not always greener.” It’s sad to think, too, that only after 5 years of marriage, things are so bad, but again, it happens. They’ve got the cutest toddler and baby though, and I find myself looking forward to this couple working their problems out…

#familiar-wife, #han-ji-min, #ji-sung, #kang-han-na

Finished Familiar Wife – Final thoughts

I have a warm feeling and a warm smile on my face. It’s just that kind of drama – it’s my favorite kind really; the focus on characters and relationships instead of action shots and endless fights and silly over-the-top characters. Yes, there were questions never answered, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all.

I actively disliked our hero at the beginning, and of course, I was meant to. It’s not because he was evil, or mean, or mean-spirited. He was a good guy but a terrible husband and I enjoyed watching him evolve into a model one.

Our heroine had some things to learn as well and together they grew and showed us how it could be… how it was meant to be. I really thought this actress did a super job. In the past, she seems to have had similar roles with little scope but here she was able to really be creative in her portrayal of this woman. She totally won me over as a very unhappy, frustrated and angry wife but I also totally believed the girl she used to be as well.

One of the great things was that each character had value and I became fond of them at whatever stage they happened to be in, and kudos for all the bromances going on… so sweet! I loved that we came full circle, and we were left wanting more. Thumbs UP for this one! I feel that it was time well spent.

#familiar-wife, #han-ji-min, #ji-sung