Why the hell did I even watch this fucking horrible horrible horrible drama? I mean seriously!
Okay, well I am sorry to be swearing so blatantly on the main page of my blog but I really do feel this violently about this total melo of a drama which masqueraded itself as a romantic comedy and thus seduced me into watching it, not realising I should be running in the total opposite direction…..
Okay, so what is it?
A drama special (only 1 hour) starring the luminous Park Shin-hye.
Is it any good?
Yes, it is well made and involving, with really solid and engaging performances from the two leads.
Should I have watched it?
No no no no no!
Let me explain.
I hate melo stuff. I hate it with a fiery passion. I hate tragic love, I hate terminal illnesses and I hate incest. You get the picture? I hate it.
And what we have here is a depressing melo that pretends at first to be a quirky comedy before evolving into a bittersweet and unusual love story between two strange and lonely people looking for something more.
But then the ending! Oh my god why??!!
I am not trying to say this story isn’t interesting or good in its own way (if you like that sort of thing) but I warn you to watch at your own peril because when I finished it I actually felt like vomiting a little…..
Basically it is all Park Shin-hye’s fault. I never would have checked this out if she wasn’t in it.
So the story begins with a car crash and then a resulting amnesia. This dude, Moon-ki, can’t remember who he is or anything about his life at all, but what he has gained is a very pretty and wide-eyed ghost girl, Yeon-hwa, who follows him around constantly and won’t take no for an answer. Now this part is all sweetness and rainbows, being both lightly amusing with a cute overload and quirky music to boot. (It was lulling me into a false sense of security…)
Slowly though Yeon-hwa’s mystery is revealed as we learn that though they barely knew eachother whilst she still lived, she and Moon-ki had shared some very meaningful moments together that changed both their lives. This is when the whole tone changes into a sad tale of longing as it is slowly revealed that Moon-ki might be the sole witness to Yeon-hwa’s murder, having been invited over to her house for her birthday. Its also made clear the reason she invited him was because she nursed a long time crush on this older ‘ahjussi’ (not the sexy kind mind you but more the nerdy awkward and sad type). Things get even more heartbreaking as we (and Moon-ki) learn that he was in love with Yeon-hwa too, which he discovers when he realises he used her name as his password on his computer.
Now some might think it’s a bit weird to pair the obviously gorgeous and charming happy Yeon-hwa with this depressed and damaged Moon-ki in a love story, yet their relationship is built tentatively and with enough depth that you can believe in it.
For example the first time they meet was when Yeon-hwa was still just a school girl when she saved Moon-ki from drowning. As in suicide drowning. They never spoke at the time but many years later they cross paths again and seeing him still alive and trying to do well really means something to Yeon-hwa, it means she really saved him, she gave him life and hope. I can also imagine that because her own father died by suicide, it is doubly important for Yeon-hwa that she could save this total stranger and make a difference even if she couldn’t help her father. I think this is probably a huge basis behind her feelings for this man that seems such an odd choice for a bubbly girl who, from all outward appearances, looks as if she could have anyone that she wanted.
For Moon-ki on the other hand, its pretty obvious what he liked about Yeon-hwa, she is perfect and breathes life into his sad dull existence.
So far so nice right?
But then the grand mystery behind Yeon-hwa’s death by stabbing is revealed and it was…..dum dum dum…. Moon-ki.
For fucks sake!
Okay so he didn’t mean it. He made one dumb choice and ended up in a situation he couldn’t control, resulting in him destroying the one person that could have given his life real meaning and happiness.
So my question is, what was the point of this story?
I don’t hate bleak or sad movies on principle, the long as I can see some sort of meaning in the journey that us viewers are taken on. For instance I absolutely love movies such as ‘Bittersweet Life’ and ‘Duelist’ even though neither of them have exactly happy endings filled with love and rainbows. Why? Because the characters learn something on their journeys, they take control of their actions and decide for themselves the ending they want, whether its killing because of revenge or sacrificing yourself because it is the right thing to do.
But just senseless sadness just for sadness’ sake?
I just find it too hard to understand this type of story, where the plot is literally just manipulated as an attempt to draw tears from the viewer, not because it needed sadness or emotional depth for the sake of the narrative. It makes me think of a bunch of executives sitting around a board room asking themselves what ending could possibly get the biggest shocked gut reaction from the viewers, but they are happy to sacrifice the story’s meaning to achieve it.
Because what was the point of it?
What was the point of this tentative budding sense of hope that Yeon-hwa instilled into the clearly morbidly depressed Moon-ki by saving his life.
What was the point of their sweet awkward romance which she was trying so hard to instigate.
What was the point of that sad end scene where Yeon-hwa tells Moon-ki that he shouldn’t have made that one dumb mistake that lead to him ruining both their lives. What was the point of the drama bleakly hinting that Yeon-hwa’s ghost was only a figment of Moon-ki’s disturbed and guilty mind and never even existed. What does any of it matter?
I would have preferred a (still admittedly very sad) ending whereby meeting Yeon-hwa as a ghost led Moon-ki to believe in himself more and invest himself in life, even if she does still disappear and leave him alone.
An ending like that at least would have meant something.
BLURG. Tell me your thoughts…..
Lee Evie is an author of historical fiction set in old Korea, during the Joseon dynasty.
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Her first historical fiction novel PROMISE SEASON is available now to purchase in ebook or paperback.
In the ancient Korean city of Hanyang, a gisaeng slave girl hides a fugitive in her bed, unexpectedly saving the life of a young man who is not all he seems. When she is forced to turn spy for a shadowy organisation with dangerous intentions, Seorin only wants one thing in return. Yet it is not her freedom she so desperately desires, it is something far more precious … and Seorin will face anything, even death, to gain it.
A dark and romantic tale of old Korea.