It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Korean Drama Review – Episode 1 – 6

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a 2020 NETFLIX original production that stars Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji as leads. img_9631_originalIt tells the story of a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who lives on 1.8 million won ($1,520) a month while caring for his autistic brother and a storybook writer suffering from an antisocial personality disorder. A man who denies love and a woman who doesn’t know love defy fate and fall in love while finding their souls and identities in the process (Source – MyDramaList). All episodes of this drama are available on NETFLIX.

Expectations: This is one of the dramas that I had on my list way back from 2019 when the title was still Psycho, But I’m Okay. At that time, only Kim Soo Hyun was the confirmed cast. I wanted to watch it mainly because of him and the storyline. Once Seo Ye Ji came on board, I was even more thrilled because she is such a great actress. Right from the premiere, I dived into the first six episodes before taking a break to let it wrap up.

(warning – spoilers ahead)

Review:

The animated intro for episode one gave me spooky, but serene vibes. The animation style is similar to Tim Burton’s animated film – Corpse Bride, and it gave It’s Okay to Not Be Okay a good stand out from other Korean dramas. The second factor that piqued my interest was the intricate filming style. I noticed that they were filming from windows and glass reflections instead of taking direct shots on the actors. I truly fell in love with the editing and visual representations in this drama. Take, for example, in episode one how they showcased Mr. Lee’s string of texts to Gang-Tae in video format. It made the scene way more hilarious to me. I could rave on about the beautiful cinematography of this show because they brought serious A+++++++ game in that department.

Moving on to the plot, I can tell that this is going to be a touching and heartfelt series. I love that within all the intensity, we still get some vibrant comedic scenes. Due to the common mental health theme, I am getting ‘It’s Okay, That’s Love’ vibes. I hope the writer gives us a befitting happy ending🤞🏼.  So far, all the actors are doing a fantastic job, and this includes the young counterparts and cameo actors. Also, our beautiful leads are showcasing great chemistry.

I love how each episode fuses in Ko Mun-Yeong’s storybooks, and the lessons from each chapter are remarkably profound

  1. The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares “So don’t forget any of it, Remember it all and overcome it. If you don’t overcome it, you’ll always be a kid whose soul never grows.” I can attest that some bad encounters have to be faced head-on before the pain can completely go away. After all, if life stays smooth all the time, how can we learn and grow? However, I still advise everyone to choose their battles carefully.
  2. Zombie Kid Raising a child doesn’t only require providing their basic necessities like food, clothing or shelter. Being emotionally present is equally important. Shower your children with love because, in the end, that’s what stays with them forever. I cried when they read out this storybook. Not because it relates to my own personal experience but out of empathy towards children that don’t have anyone showing them real love.

Now let’s look into a few characters that stood out to me throughout these six episodes.

Seo Ye Ji as Ko Mun-yeong 

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Can we just talk about Seo Ye-Ji’s beautiful shallow voice? I love her deep tone. Also, every outfit for Ko Mun-Yeong is a statement. She looks gorgeous in every scene. Mun-Yeong is wild, and she slightly reminds me of Jang Man-wol from Hotel del Luna. I adore her fierce and straightforward personality. Though, I believe she’s unstable and quite manipulative. Mun-Yeong acts all tough, but she is scared. Basically, everyone in this drama has their demons, but Mun-Yeong handles hers well and hardly cares what others have to say. I can’t wait for the show to reveal more about her parents. Her mother was definitely the chief psycho of the family, or why else did she restrict and isolate younger Mun-Yeong that much. At least now that Sang-tae and Gang-tae are living with her, Mun-Yeong will get a better feeling of what family means. Here are some of my favourite moments from this character –

Kim Soo Hyun as Moon Gang-Taeimg_9571_originalIt’s sad that Moon Gang-Tae was born as a backup to care for his autistic brother 24/7. He can’t express real emotions because Sang-Tae reads his facial expression. Gang-Tae has to smile and pretend to be happy or satisfied all the time. How could their mom place such responsibility on a little child? At least now, Mun-Yeong is present to question his cowardly and pretentious lifestyle. Usually, I find the childhood connections to be unnecessary, but I like how it’s playing out in this drama. The writer introduced it from the first episode with substantial purpose, and now it doesn’t feel like a cliche used to connect the main leads.

Oh Jung Se as Moon Sang-Taeimg_9569_originalHe is a phenomenal actor. Major kudos to him for playing an autistic character flawlessly👏👏👏👏👏👏.  Sang-Tae is a very loving and pure person. He stole my heart when he told Gang-Tae about saving money to buy a van. That way, they wouldn’t have to search for a new house all the time. I am intrigued to discover what the butterflies signify for him. I think it has a connection to their mother’s death and might have something to do with Ko Mun-Yeong. I hope the hospital director helps him face his fears.

Park Kyu Young as Nam Ju ri img_9576_originalI still don’t know how to feel about Nam Ju-ri. Aside from the fact that she also likes Gang-Tae, she just seems off and weird to me. Hopefully, as the story progresses, I might come to appreciate her role more. Honestly, I need to see some backstory that explains her personal issues with Mun-Yeong. All the same, her crying scene in episode five was quite cute and funny to me.


Overall, I am enjoying the current pace and story progression. I already know this will be an iconic drama that I can always return to. Plus, the OSTs are beautiful. Luckily for me, I can find the soundtrack album on Spotify since the series has finished airing. My favourites right now are “Hallelujah” by Kim Feel –

“In Your Time” by LEE SUHYUN –

& “In Silence” by Janet Suhh –

If you’ve started or already completed this drama, what are your thoughts on it?

The Beauty Inside: Korean Drama Review

I recently did a rewatch of this drama, so I’m here to give you all a brief review. This is going to be in point form of what I enjoyed, what I felt was a letdown and my favourite scenes.

The Beauty Inside is a 2018 South Korean TV drama remake of the original 2015 movie version. This series starred Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Min Ki as leads. 9e3214df-f034-47f0-82f3-939a23649633-2086-0000013e418837e2_originalSynopsis: Han Se Gye is a top actress with many rumours around her. To others, her life is a mystery, but in reality, her physical appearance completely changes for one week every month. Se Gye encounters Seo Do Jae, a top executive at an airline company. He seems to have it all, but he also has a secret. Do Jae suffers from Prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces) but he manages to hide this from the world. Seo Do Jae’s life begins to change when he encounters Han Se Gye. She is the only person he can always recognize, but with Han Se Gye’s steady disappearance and random physical changes, how long can she keep her own secret?

Expectations: I had already seen this drama, so I was simply watching it again to pass time and also because I missed Lee Min Ki and Seo Hyun Jin’s onscreen chemistry.

(warning – spoilers ahead)

Review:

Here are the aspects of the show that I truly enjoyed –

  • First of all, I just want to put it out right now that Lee Min Ki’s light brown eyes are so gorgeous. Whenever the light hit his pupil, it was pure bliss for me. I don’t care what anyone says, he is handsome.😍😍😍
  • The cinematography for this drama is beautiful. Every scene was colourful and captivating. Kudos to the production team for that.
  • The storyline was handled properly, there are a few things I still question, but I’ll discuss them later. That aside, the character development for each character in the drama was perfect. The pacing was also great, I didn’t feel like the story was dragging.
  • The chemistry between Han Se Gye and Seo Do Jae was incredible. They were magnetic and adorable together. They had a lot of cheesy scenes, but I genuinely enjoyed every moment they shared on screen. Lee Min Ki and Seo Hyun Jin did a great job of making their time as a couple very believable.
  • Overall every actor in this drama gave their best performance. Most notably, the actors that had to be Han Se Gye whenever her appearance changed. They all did a fantastic job of keeping true to Se Gye’s personality, no matter the gender or age. My favourite cameos for the changes were Moon Woo Jin in episodes 8 & 9, Kim Min Seok in episodes 5 & 6, and Ra Mi Ran in episode 10.
  • I also felt touched by all the emotional scenes in this series. I cried and smiled a lot.
  • This series is among the group of rare Kdramas where the parents, family members and friends of the lead characters are all nice and supportive. It was a breath of fresh air to watch.
  • I also admired that the female characters for this show were strong and well-developed. They could hold their own and weren’t whiny or always waiting on a man to save them.
  • The fashion for the main characters was always on point. Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Da Hee’s wardrobes were outstanding. Both ladies were giving me life with every outfit.
  • I love that they didn’t include any second female or male lead to disrupt the main ship. I was grateful that I didn’t have to deal with unnecessary love triangles because they stress me out big time. That’s why I prefer dramas with two standard couples.
  • I am happy about this drama’s central message. We should all love ourselves and all our imperfections because there’s is a reason for every single person’s existence.
  • The original soundtracks for this series are all beautiful. My top favourites are “Beautiful Moment” by K.Will and “LUV Etude No.1” the version by 2morro.
  • I previously showcased “Beautiful Moment” as my song for the week. You can watch the music video and read my thoughts with this link 👉🏼 K.Will – Beautiful Moment: Song Of The Week
  • Here is the music video for “LUV Etude No.1” – This song is soothing, and I always get emotional listening to it.

The Letdowns –

  • Personally, I feel they could have omitted the one-year separation plot device. I get that Se Gye felt guilty for causing Seo Do Jae’s accident, but her reaction could have been handled a bit differently. I don’t appreciate that they took the cliche route of breaking up and getting back together later.
  • Another aspect that wasn’t adequately addressed was the reason behind Se Gye’s constant physical changes. By the end of the drama, they pointed out that the number of times she changes has reduced. Hence I was expecting them to dive deeper and give the viewers more explanation behind her condition or why it was suddenly decreasing.
  • Another cliche aspect is the Prosopagnosia (the inability to recognize faces). This condition was overused in dramas that particular year, but I don’t care much since it did not affect my watching experience.

My Favourite Scenes –

  • The Highest Point in The Sky:

This was a very touching scene. It was such a sweet gesture from Seo Do Jae, and I also shed tears when they showed the sky. Plus, the soundtrack sounded so beautiful during that moment. It might be a cheesy scene for most people, but it was truly comforting. 

  • Neglected Seo Do Jae joins the hug:

This was one of the cutest scenes for me. The way he cozily snuck in for that back hug was too adorable for words. Like I mentioned already, their chemistry was beautiful to watch.

  • Comforting Friends

I appreciate how supportive her friends were throughout this series. This funeral scene really broke my heart, but I’m glad that Se Gye had Woo Mi and Eun Ho comforting her during such tough times. Their friendship is also one of my delights in the drama.

  • Dramatic Drunks Vs. Traumatized Drunks

This was the most hilarious scene. It was interesting to see both couples act like they hadn’t seen each other for years versus the others in the room who were absolutely disgusted by their public display of affection.🤣🤣🤣


Overall The Beauty Inside was a very captivating drama from start to finish. I wouldn’t mind rewatching it again and again, so my rating is 9/10. To get a better understanding of how I rate each movie or drama, click 👉🏼 Drama|Movie Rating Guide

This drama is available with English Subs using this link 👉🏼 The Beauty Inside on Viki

If you’ve already seen The Beauty Inside, what are your thoughts?

 

The Ghost Bride: Taiwanese Drama Review

The Ghost Bride is a 2020 Taiwanese drama. It has six episodes and is available on Netflix. 3f1e1cdd-2854-438b-8ade-dbe7d0b0aa4d-7900-000006431a2998faSynopsis: Set in 1890 Malacca, a young woman named Pan Li Lan, is forced to marry a dead man in exchange for help with her family’s poor finances. She makes a deal with Tian Ching, the ghost she’s meant to marry. In exchange for her father’s life, she will investigate his murder. As things unfold, Li Lan finds herself in a more complicated situation than she bargained for.

Expectations: This was on my list for must-watch dramas of 2020. I love spooky ghost stories. Also, the trailers and first posters looked quite promising. I am familiar with Chris Wu. Most of his series I have seen were really good, so why I decided to give this one a shot.

(warning – spoilers ahead)

Review: 

From the first poster I saw, I assumed that I was going to get a decent horror thrill and mystery, but the reality of what I got from The Ghost Bride was a lot of comedic scenes, some mystery and hardly any spookiness. Which isn’t bad, but definitely not what I expected.

The first thing that I noticed once I started episode one was the background scores. Yes, they were beautiful, but they sounded quite modern in comparison to the period the story was set in. Thankfully this got better. The next aspect I took note of was the picture quality. I absolutely love the cinematography for this drama. It was clear, simple and stunning.

This is my first time watching Huang Pei Jia. She did a great job as Pan Li Lan. The scenes with her and Er Lang were fun to watch. Chris Wu also gave an excellent performance as Er Lang. Even though I wasn’t expecting so much comedy, his character was a joy to watch. Overall most of the actors were okay, but there were still a few that gave mediocre performances.

After finishing the drama, I went ahead to read some reviews. I noticed that a few people believe that Tian Ching(the ghost) sincerely cared for Li Lan, but I beg to differ. He kept on tormenting her family members, and it was selfish of him to try and keep her in the Netherlands against her will. Even though he claimed that his upbringing was messed up, I don’t feel bad for him because he showed no sign of remorse. Plus, I blame the scriptwriter for my lack of empathy towards Tian Ching. There wasn’t enough shown that would enable me to sympathize with his character. What the drama showed me was a villain that needed to be dealt with.

Now, concerning Pan Li Lan’s affection towards Tian Bai. I didn’t care much for that pairing because there was no chemistry between them. The person she bonded with was Er Lang, the heavenly guard, and that was why her decision at the end made sense to me.

Altogether nothing really stood out to me in this drama; hence I don’t have much to say. It did showcase selfless love between family members, but overall it lacked a lot. Story-wise, The Ghost Bride did not depict excellent writing skills. The only thing that will make me want to watch a second season is the cliffhanger at the end. Aside from that, I don’t see myself rewatching this drama. My rating is 6.5/10. To get a better understanding of my rating, click 👉🏼 Drama|Movie Rating Guide

The Ghost Bride wasn’t to my taste, but someone else might actually love it. So if you need some lighthearted ghost story, then give it a chance and form your own opinion.

HER PRIVATE LIFE: Korean Drama Review

Her Private Life is a 2019 Korean drama series that aired on TVN. The story is based on a Korean novel called Noona Fan Dot Com. img_2922Synopsis: Sung Deok Mi is a talented chief curator at Cheum Museum Art Gallery, but in private, she is a fanatic fangirl of White Ocean’s Cha Si An. Ryan Gold is an artist who can no longer paint due to Stendhal syndrome. After the current boss of Cheum Museum gets involved in an embezzlement case, Ryan becomes the new Art Director of the museum. Due to a sasaeng fan’s post, rumours about Deok Mi allegedly dating Si An begin to spread. To ward off Si An’s fans who threaten to harm her, Ryan suggests that he and Deok Mi pretend to date. Unfortunately, the same sasaeng gets a job as an intern in the museum and vows to prove that Ryan and Deok Mi are a fake couple. Both now have no other choice but to continue the couple act even at work.

Going into this drama, I was not expecting much because this “fake to real couple” plotline has been overused. The only difference here was the fangirling aspect. So I went in with the mindset of “I just need some lighthearted romance story to refresh myself.” The drama also had a promising cast, so that was a plus. And like many others, I was super excited to finally see Kim Jae Wook in a lead role.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

I absolutely enjoyed watching this series. It was exactly what I needed, not much suspense, just some feel-good romance. Although I feel that some parts of the story could have been omitted and also a few questions are still left answered. So I am going to make a little paragraph on that.

Okay, time to officially get into this review.

As I already mentioned, Her Private Life is nothing new plot-wise, but it felt fresh and exciting to watch because of how well the drama was executed. I fell in love with almost every character as the story progressed. The entire film crew and actors really brought their A-game on this one. I really enjoyed watching the comedic scenes, the extraness of it all gave me a good laugh. I also love how animated the depiction of the fansite world was made to look. It was a little bit “cheesy,” but I think that is what made it funny to me.

Now I am not sure if I should be giving praise to the director or the writer for what I am about to mention, but anyways Kudos to whoever came up with the idea. There are some particular scenes between our main leads where no music or background score is used, the entire scene is just completely silent. I LOVED IT. The use of silence to show the tension between Ryan and Deok Mi was the best idea they could have come up with because it just makes it feel more real. Some people might not like the awkward feeling it gave, but I enjoyed it. Here are the scenes where I noticed that use of silence – 

Another thing to comment on is the fantastic dialogue, most notably during heartfelt scenes. In the last episode, there is a scene where Deok Mi’s mom and Ryan’s mom sit for a while and talk with each other. The dialogue from Ryan’s mom was absolutely beautiful. She said, “A woman who has lost her husband is called a widow. A man whose wife has died is a widower. A child who had lost his or her parents is called an orphan. But a parent who has lost a child…the sorrow is so great that there is not even a word that can be used to describe the person”. I am not sure if these words are directly from the writer or from another source, but they really touched me. If anyone knows the original source, please let me know in the comment section. For a more detailed review, I will go ahead and analyze a few characters.

First, our main leads – Kim Jae Wook as Ryan/Han Yoon Jae and Park Mi Young as Sung Deok Miimg_3194This drama portrays a very mature romance story, so the chemistry between Ryan and Deok Mi was intense and beautiful from start to finish. Their relationship felt more real and natural as the drama progressed. I also discovered that most of the intimate scenes towards the end of the series were actually improvised by the actors themselves, so I guess that’s why it felt very natural. I loved how understanding and considerate they both were to each other. There was hardly any misunderstanding between them, and anytime they had an issue, it was resolved very quickly. I honestly hate when little problems are dragged and dramatized for many episodes, so it was nice seeing that change here.

I also like that the secret about her being a fangirl was not hidden for too long after they officially started dating. The writer did a great job in making Ryan smart enough to figure out that Deok Mi was the fansite manager for Si An is My Road. And because Ryan already knew, the reveal was not a big issue for them. Although I still wish Deok Mi revealed it to him personally instead of hiding all the time. That aside, Deok Mi is still a very lovable character, she is an amazing daughter, a very supportive friend. I love that she could always tell if Ryan was not in the best mood and what exactly was bothering him without him actually saying anything. Also, Ryan had one of the most admirable traits ever. He was always quick to apologize whenever he realized that he was wrong.

I appreciate the wardrobe choices for the lead characters. My favourite outfit for Ryan is definitely the three-piece suit he wore in episode 13. Also, Deok Mi outfits were great. Her clothes, shoes and jewellery were always well put together. But I wish they had blended her hair extensions properly like they did in the last episode. All the same, I would love to have her wardrobe for a week at least.

To close the chapter for our main leads, please permit me to fangirl a little. KIM JAE WOOK, no words needed –img_3195img_3196Alright, alright, I am done. LOL, I had to respect myself and not add all the screenshots I took.

Next on, the second leads – Hong Seo Young as Choi Da In and Ahn Bo Hyun as Nam Eun Gi img_3191img_3200Honestly, I feel that these two characters should have been introduced just as friends or family to Ryan and Deok Mi because it would not have made much of a difference for their roles in the drama.

I initially found Nam Eun Gi annoying, and I knew that because of the brotherly relationship he had with Deok Mi, they definitely could not end up together. So the fact that he tried to control what she was doing with Ryan on the claim that he knew her better than Ryan was annoying to watch. Growing up with her or knowing a lot about her does not automatically give you the right to a relationship. Love is really not a first-come, first-serve matter. Towards the end of the drama, I noticed some significant character development with him. He really surprised me and made me love him as a character. He is a fantastic friend and brother to Deok Mi, and I was happy when he found someone that loves him as well.

Now onto Choi Da In, I honestly do not have much to say about this character. It felt like the writer just used her as a catalyst to make Ryan realize his true feelings for Deok Mi. But after that, I did not see the point of her character any longer. At first, I thought it was going to be the usual troupe were both second leads fall in love with each other, but it did not turn out that way. I feel that she did not have to be presented as a second lead because she could have made Ryan realize his feeling just by being a friend and saying something. If anyone has a different opinion on her character, feel free to do so in the comment section.

To close the section for the second leads, I will put it out there that I am a bit biased against second leads because I am tired of Korean dramas and their dead-end love triangles. The only show that ever made me love the second lead more was School 2015.

Deok Mi’s One and only idol – Jung Je Won as Cha Si Animg_3202At first, Cha Si An did not stand out to me. It felt like he was just there as the idol that Deok Mi loved, but by episode 14, I had a big realization of the importance of his character. His talk with his mom after the discovery that Ryan was Heo Yoon Jae (her lost son) showed how much of a loving and caring person he is. I realized that right from the beginning, he has been the bridge connecting our main leads, and he also served as the bridge for Ryan to meet their mom. I remember in the very first scene between Ryan and Deok Mi, she kept on staring at him because he reminded her of Si-An, and they start the fake dating because of Si An’s scandal. Many other instances of such connection come to mind, but I cannot list all. His character definitely brought tranquillity, knowledge and understanding for other characters around him. He always seemed to know about things that you would hardly expect him to know of. I guess it took me a while to notice Si An, but I am glad that I did. I find it funny that somehow he was always on the elevator with Ryan or Deok Mi.  At some point, I wondered if he was living on that elevator. Also, I knew right from the start that Si-An and Ryan were brothers, so the reveal was not a big surprise to me. Here is one of my favourite scenes of him on the elevator – 

Kim Bo Ra as Cindy/Kim Hyo Jin and Kim Sun Young as Uhm So Hyeimg_3203Before I even start to go in on these two characters, I would like to share one of my favourite scenes which happens to have both characters in it. Here it is – 

Kim Sun Young is such an amazing actress. I first saw her as one of the mothers in Reply 1988. She really did a great job as Uhm So Hye. In scenes where I was supposed to hate or be irritated by the character, I definitely was and also in the scenes where I was supposed to laugh, I did. The entire look for her role was funny, from the hairstyle to her outrageous outfits and her personality, I just could not take her seriously. Thankfully she became less hateful during the few last episodes.

Cindy really started off as the annoying sasaeng fan, but I am grateful for the addition of her character. Her character portrayed how disturbing actual sasaeng fans can be. I mean, there is a difference between being a fan and fangirling over your preferred kpop groups, but when it gets to the point of invading their privacy and stalking them during their personal time, then that is just wrong and uncalled for. Honestly, the stories I have read about a few kpop idols and their sasaeng fans are alarming. That aside, Cindy grew on me. I like how her obsessive passion was channelled into something more productive in the long run. I was actually surprised that she ended up with Nam Eun Gi. She developed into a great character, and one of my favourite scenes from her is when she confronts her mom about the celebrity collection exhibit that the Art Gallery was planning for. Here is that scene – 

Finally, here is my little paragraph on what I felt could have been excluded and the questions I still need answers to. First of all, did they really have to make the leads know each other as kids? I mean do not get me wrong, I absolutely love how maturely that part of the story was handled, but this is just an overused cliche. I am not a writer, so I try not to be over judgemental with a storyline. If I do not enjoy it, I just drop it and start something else, but this time around, I just have to point it out. It is getting old and tiring because a lot of Korean dramas are using the same plot, I need to see something new. PLEASE.

Another thing, the drama is called Her Private Life, but it did not really focus on her private life. Now that does not bother me much, but I was hoping that they would reveal to her co-workers and even Si An that she is the manager for Si An is My Road fansite. I cannot believe that it was not made into a big reveal. Also, what happened to the people that adopted Ryan. Are they alive, dead or even still in contact with him? I would love to know.

Okay, l am going to leave that and end this review on something else that I enjoyed, which is OSTs. When watching any drama, the one thing that always draws my attention is the soundtracks. There are two specific songs that I really love from Her Private Life. The first is “Maybe” by Lee Hae Ri of Davichi. Davichi always has the best drama OSTs, their voices are so beautiful. The second song is “Think of You” by Ha Sung Woon. I do not know much about Ha Sung Woon, but he is also a great singer. Here is the link to the music videos for both songs –  Official MV for Lee Hae Ri – Maybe     Official MV for Ha Sung Woon – Think Of You.

Overall I will rate this drama an 8.5/10. It was a good watch, and I would not mind rewatching it again. So before I go, I will leave you all with two more clips of my favourite scenes with Ryan and Deok Mi. ENJOY, and until my next post, take everyone.

To understand my rating, click 👉🏼 Drama|Movie Rating Guide

First Encounter: Do You Want Me? 

Fake Dating Photoshoot 

 

 

 

 

 

First Impressions of ‘The Light In Your Eyes’: Korean Drama Review

Expectations: I expect to see very relatable life experiences from this drama because the story plays around two characters who are at that critical career point, and I know that life hits like a storm for many people during that time. So I expect some tear-jerking moments. Rather than romance, I am looking forward to the personal growth of all characters, and once I see the potential for that, I will be sold. I am also hoping for great acting from the leads. I know that Han Ji-Min has been in the acting game for a while now, but not all her projects impressed me. The few that I loved absolutely showcased great acting prowess from her, so I am hoping for the best.

On the other hand, Nam Joo-Hyuk is relatively new in the game, but he has the potential to perfect his skills with time. So since this drama seems to have a good storyline and the lineup for the cast are majorly veteran actors/actresses, I believe he will showcase excellent acting. With that said, here is my review for the opening episodes of The Light In Your Eyes.

(Warning – spoilers ahead)

Review: The first thing that I noticed is that the characters in this show are “raw.” That is the only word that came to my mind to describe how the characters came off to me. By “raw,” I mean that there is so much growth needed for each character to get to their best self. I sincerely hope that the room created by this said “rawness” has been fully utilized by the writer to create some well deserved and grounded development for each character as the story progresses. Now the characters being raw does not take away from their complexity. For example, there is a scene where Hye-Ja tells Joon-Ha that she is fully aware of the fact that she is not fit to be an announcer, but she is also too scared to let go of her dream. She also talks about feeling inferior to the other applicants once she enters the interview room, so that is why she no longer sees the need to apply for any announcing positions. Life puts a lot of expectations on us. These expectations may be from our family, society and even our own dreams. Now, if by chance we get to that point where we cannot achieve what we hoped for, we find it so hard to let go. Letting go at this point does not even have to do with disappointing others. But instead, it has to do with stepping down from the pedestal that you once placed yourself on. It feels like you have been stripped of your pride, and you are always at a fight with yourself. Change is hard. So that scene really renounced with me because it showed how fragile and complex we are as human beings.

Along with that, I also loved the simplicity of the drama. I think it had to do with the way it was filmed because every scene flowed so naturally. It felt real, no super flashy cars, dresses or houses just a simple neighbourhood with relatable individuals. Now, this is not to take away from the effort that is put into the more flashy productions. But I mentioned it to point out how this drama felt like a walk on a chilly night away from the norm of Korean dramas. I also loved that we got a really close insight into the family dynamics of both leads. I enjoy whenever families are actively showcased in shows because it gives me a good background of why each character is the way they are. This is one of the reasons why I absolutely adore the TVN Reply series, most notably the recent one. Also, the chemistry between the leads was easy going. I like the approach of letting them become friends first before crossing into the relationship phase. And from what I have seen so far, they both represent strong support and realization grounds for each other. This is great as it is the necessary foundation for every relationship, but I am not really sure of how it is going to play out from episode three since Hye-Ja is now much older in appearance compared to Joon-Ha. I am excited about how the writer plans to deal with this change. Will she let him know who she is or will they just come to be friends along the line and then he finds out some way or another, who knows? No matter how it plays out, I just wish for it to be done in a well-explained manner. I am not going to be accepting any extreme form of drama logic this time around. I know it falls into the fantasy genre, but it still needs to make sense.

Now about things making sense, I still cannot seem to understand how the watch works.  Because in episode one, when the watch is introduced, we are just shown how Hye-Ja was able to change a few minor things over the years and how it led to her ageing faster than she was supposed to. At least I know a factual consequence of using the watch at this point, but I am still not clear on how far back in time it allows her to travel. In episode two, this is seen as a problem for a few viewers because they expect her to just go back to the night before her father’s accident to save him, but can she really go back that far in time? I am not sure, so I am waiting to get more explanations regarding the watch in the upcoming episodes. I need to know the origin, how exactly it works, why was she the one who got it, and why does it age the user faster than usual? There will be severe loopholes if these questions are not answered.

Another major thing I have noticed with a lot of Korean dramas is the constant drinking. I understand that the drinking culture is very different based on each society, but I fear for their livers. I also wonder if this is what they want to continually promote. Drinking is not harmful, but I personally believe that it should be kept at a minimum and not every day. Honestly, being drunk is not the best feeling, and I am saying so from experience, so when I see them drink almost every day, I sincerely question how they feel waking up in the morning. JUST SAYING.

Okay, back to the drama. So far I am enjoying the presence of a good number of the characters shown at this point and here is my take on them:

Notable Characters Introduced So Far:

#1. Han Ji-Min as Kim Hye-Ja img_2017She is someone who really cares about her family. I love the self-awareness of this character, she knows her strengths and weaknesses. I feel she has yet to gain the self-confidence to excel. I can also tell that she is a determined person from the scene where she tries to save her father. The only flaw is that she falls in love too fast, but I can validate her emotional actions for her. I mean, we have quite a handsome male lead, he is also cute, caring and he listens. Now, who would not fall for such an adorable person? So I will cut her some slack in that aspect.

#2. Nam Joo-Hyuk as Lee Joon- Haimg_2029At first, he came off to be quite insensitive. Most notably, during the scene where he questions Kim Hye-Ja for wanting to become an announcer. I know that it was a needed reality check for her, but it could have been said less arrogantly. Anyways, later on, that misunderstanding is cleared up, and we get to see his more caring and considerate side. I love that he is straightforward and also opens up to the female lead, so it a two-way conversation and not just one person pouring out their heart.

#3. Son Ho-Jun as Kim Young-Soo (Hye-Ja’s older brother)img_2018So far, I see him as the comedic relief for the drama, and I love that, but I have a feeling that his character has been set up for so much more than that. At some point, he might need to get his act together and find a job or start up something of his own. I would not mind if he even starts helping around the house instead of merely sitting at home all day and asking for meat. But for now, he is a great comedic character.

#4. Ahn Nae-Sang as Hye-Ja’s father img_2028He is a taxi driver and a loving father. Right now, I see him as the good cop towards his children, unlike his wife. He is their protector, constant supporter and the one who always catches them in case they backslide a little, but I can tell that he has a softer spot for Hye-Ja. I guess that is why he had to be the catalyst for Hye-Ja to use the watch again, although this caused her to age so suddenly, I am still happy that she was able to save him.

#5. Lee Jung-Eun as Hye-Ja’s mother img_2025She is a certified hairstylist and the “bad cop” parent in the family. I still love her. There has to be someone in your life to provide a well-needed reality check, and she executes it on a timely basis. She is also the harsh encourager, she pushes you to see the best in yourself and not settle for less. I know that her expectations for Hye-Ja are very burdensome, but I like that she does not want her to end up as a hairstylist. At the same time, I see nothing wrong with being a hairstylist because, in this generation, everything can be capitalized on if done correctly.

#6. Kim Ga-Eun as Lee Hyun-Joo (Hye-Ja’s friend)img_2036First things firsts, I have a feeling that she might still end up dating Hye-Ja’s brother again. I do not have much to say about this character for now. I am waiting to see more of her before I decide on how relevant she is to the story.

#7. Song Sang-Eun as Yoon Sang-Eun (Hye-Ja’s friend)img_2037Now she is another comic relief to me but a very laid back type. The scene where the girls were discussing her contract with the management company is just funny, and I hope that as the story progresses, she also gets smarter with her decisions. And just like the other friend, I have nothing much to say about her for now.

#8. Kim Young-Ok as Lee Joon-Ha’s grandmother.img_2032 Grandma is one of my favourite older actresses, she really shines in every other drama I have seen her in. She is the captain of our leads’ ship, but unfortunately, she dies by the end of episode two. I was saddened by her death because it meant that Lee Joon-Ha was now alone because his father is not reliable. I was also really disappointed in her decision to side with her alcoholic and abusive son over her grandson with an actual future, but I guess that is the unconditional love of a mother.

Most Memorable Scenes: 

#1. Brother Rides The Ambulance.img_2020img_2022img_2024Now, this was pure comedy. The brother is simply a character, and I am here for it. At first, when he began taping the door, the first thought that came to my mind was if he was going to be able to breathe with no air coming in and out of that room. But I guess he was too hungry to think it through. And the fact that even when he was being carried away in the ambulance, he still reminded the paramedic to help him flip the meat was pure gold. Like excuse me, sir, but you nearly died, is your meat really that important at this point? He also did not seem to learn from that experience because the next day, during breakfast, he still had the guts to speak about grilled beef. He got a good beating from his mom. He is definitely the comic relief, but I also need to see him adulting up at some point.

#2. Friends in Unisonimg_2040img_2054img_2055This was a funny and cute scene for me. It has been stuck in my head for a while now. The fact that they simply just analyzed the flirty announcer’s character in a few seconds was utterly hilarious and doing so in unison made it even better. I love Kim Hye-Ja’s friends, and I hope to see more of them. I know that she had her mom tell them that she left for Germany after her sudden change in appearance, but I really want her to let her friends know and see how they deal with it. I honestly feel that they will help her relax a little bit more throughout this ordeal.

#3. Lee Joon-Ha’s Drastic Move Against His Dadimg_2049img_2051img_2050Okay,  I was really shocked when Joon-Ha came back into the room, all bruised and bloody. The first thought I had was on how long he must have held in that resentment towards his dad for him to make the decision of injuring himself to that point. That was a really drastic move, but I could understand the drive behind his decision to do that. Honestly, no one wants an alcoholic and an abuser for a father and the fact that his grandmother encourages such behaviour really disappointed me. Joon-Ha made that move to get his dad away from the peaceful space that he had living with his grandmother. Unfortunately, all his effort was ruined by the very person he was trying to protect. I get that a mother’s love for her child is undying, but at what expense are you willing to support such a son like Joon-Ha’s father. By helping her son, she might have just jeopardized the career of her grandson. I just hope Joon-Ha finds someone to talk to soon because, by the end of episode two, he was alone and lonely.

#4. Kim Hye-Ja’s Race To Save Her Dadimg_2046img_2047img_2044img_2045This part of the drama really proved the determination of Kim Hye-Ja’s character. Although she might say, she has given up and feels inferior to others, this scene showed that there was still this little fighter in there waiting to exhale. I love that she did not give up, no matter how many times she fell, she was quick to stand up and try again. This was an empowering scene because it shows that sometimes life throws things at you that you cannot seem to unravel in one go, it takes time, but you just have to keep on moving forward and not looking back. Even if you lose something along the way like Kim Hye-Ja lost her youth. Suicide, like she might be thinking of in the next episode, should not be your only option. I remember a quote from my favourite animation series ever, Avatar: The Last Airbender. It goes like this “when we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change”, but it all boils down to if you have the faith and the patience to fight for your situation to change and I know that Kim Hye-Ja’s character has just taken the first step towards her most significant change.

Overall, The Light in Your Eyes exceeded my expectations to a certain level. It was at the very bottom of my list for the dramas I was looking forward to watching in 2019. If you need to see that list, here is a link to it: My 2019 Drama List. It showcased the real-life situations I desired, and I love how it was done. I also got to see very emotional and fragile moments from our leads and their respective families, so Kudos to the actors and actresses for doing a fantastic job with their characters. Like I mentioned already, the characters are quite raw to me, so there is a potential for growth, which gives it another check from me. But since there is still a lot of information that I need to fully understand the time travel and ageing aspect of the drama, I will have to give this some time before I can be entirely sold on this storyline. As usual, I got my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

My rating for this premiere will be 9/10. I will continue watching, and by the end of the show, the final verdict review will be posted for you all to know my thoughts on this drama. If you have not seen the first two episodes of this drama already, go check it out and tell me if we have any similar views. Till my next post, take care.