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The King in Love

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  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 948 users)
  • Ranked: #512
  • Popularity: #501
  • Members: 4,525
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manicmuse
12 people found this review helpful
Sep 22, 2017
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
My feelings about this drama are very complicated. I was entertained, but frustrated. I was interested enough to watch, but I also felt like dropping it several times. Don't let the simple title fool you. This is a typical love story in some ways, and very unique in other ways. Now that it's over, I think I appreciate the whole story more, but some frustration still lingers.

My major frustration is with the three leads. I loved them as a trio. Those moments were my favorite in the show for sure, and their friendship was also the source of many of the emotions I felt while watching. Still, from the very beginning the show is set up as a love triangle, and that's the part where I think this drama falls short. I'll give it credit for not being cliché, but it still didn't really work for me.

The story centers around Im Shi Wan as Wang Won. It's Won's story, so it makes sense that he was the character I liked the most. I thought Shi Wan did a great job in all aspects. He was funny, he was clever, he was stubborn, he was impulsive... and I enjoyed watching his character navigate all of the palace drama without being passive. I think he did an awesome job.

Hong Jong Hyun plays Wang Rin, his partner in bromance. Rin is the straight man, to Won's uninhibited personality, and their dynamic is awesome. I loved that we get to see the start of their friendship too. The show really explores the deepness of their friendship in a way that got me in the feels from the very beginning. It gets very complex, but their love throughout it all is the strongest story in the drama.

Then lastly there is Im Yoon Ah as Eun San. I loved her character in some ways, but she was also the reason for most of my frustration. When she was being brave, impetuous, and independent, I loved her, and her camaraderie with the guys. However, when the obligatory love triangle comes into play, she spends far too much time looking like a deer in headlights. I won't speak too much about specifics, because which guy you root for is mostly about preference, but it really bothers me that by the end all the romance was still questionable. I thought maybe it was the writing, but I honestly think it's that she had trouble pulling off the romantic parts of the story. I've seen better actresses, Ha Ji Won for example, pull complicated love stories off, but I think where Yoona shined in action, comedy, and even some emotional scenes, she left much to be desired in the romance department. Cute moments with Won worked, because their banter was funny, but anything involving serious romance fell flat. I don't think she was bad, but I do think the role was a little out of her league in that respect.

The rest of the cast was good. I loved Jang Young Nam and Oh Min Suk the most out of the supporting cast (both so good at being bad), but there were a lot of great performances. A few characters made no sense to me, but that wasn't the actor's fault, just weird writing. There are a lot of duplicitous characters to keep the story interesting. If you like ancient Joseon political drama, this story definitely has a lot of that to enjoy. If you're not a fan, you will probably get bored about halfway through.

To be clear, this show is 40 episodes, but the episodes are 30 minutes, so really it's like watching a standard 20 episode drama. I thought the show started strong, and ended strong, but somewhere in the middle I began to stop caring. Still, for some reason I just couldn't quit watching. I think that's because of curiosity, and probably because I became attached to the characters, even when the shows seemed to drag. In those times it helped that the episodes were shorter than usual.

Would I watch this again? I'm torn. If I did I would probably be tempted to skip too many scenes. There were a lot of great moments, and like the characters reminiscing, I would probably enjoy revisiting those moments again. Maybe it will feel different watching while knowing how it will all play out, but I think my main frustrations would remain.

Overall, this is a good drama for sageuk fans who want a different kind of story. It is more bittersweet than completely tragic, and there are comedic moments too to add some balance. I think it's far from perfect, and gets messy in the middle, but it all ties together for a touching ending that made me boohoo cry, and smile through my tears. I never heard of the novel before watching, so I am curious what fans of the book thought. It's not the best or worst sageuk around, but if you're in the mood for something a little less typical, this may be exactly the kind of drama you are looking for.

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marylin511
3 people found this review helpful
23 days ago
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
It's over, and the feels are still here.. That's what my ranks are based on!
Well , this drama was the most I was waiting for this year - except of Criminal Minds of course ( because of LJG), and I can say I liked it from the first episode.. The acting was a little raw then, but the cinematography, the mood and the music made it for me! I wasn't really familiar with the actors before ( except Jong Hyun from ML), and I want to say  three of them really impressed me!
Im  Siwan - it was really my first time seeing him, and he was great, from the first moment till the last! I wasn't always agree with Won's character, but he gained my love and respect in the end!
Yoona - I've seen her in couple of episodes of Love Rain, and I've heard some bad rewies about her, but I loved her and her character so much in this drama! There's always something annoying for me in the female lead in all dramas, but I haven't felt it here! She was always adorable, cheerful and brave through all the story! And she could convince me when she started to love the one she loved..
Jong Hyun - If the 4th prince wasn't played by Lee  Joon Gi in  Scarlet Heart, I'd definitly have crush on this sexy villian :) I hated him there, but sometimes I also felt bad for him - that means he could deliver his character! In King in Love he was the total opposite of Wang Yo.. Maybe he was a little frozen at start, but slowly he opened up, and brought one of my favorite characters ever! Yes, I was team Rin, and I'm proud of it :)
There were very different opinions about drama's love line - some loved it, some hated it at the same line, and I want to say - that's what one of the best parts of this drama, but it's also what lowed it's rating (I think), because most people like predictable....  
First of all- imho - there's no first or second lead in this drama - the three of them are main leads -and they totally deserved to be called it! Because this story is about  friendship - deep and genuine, between three young people! And  the actors did amazing job, showing how much these three deeply loved each other! Sometimes love story came in the middle of their frienship (of course!), but none of them didn't want to hurt another, and that what made this story such painful for them! But at the end they have learned how to understand and sacrifice for each other!  The open ending was satisfing and not at the same time for both teams, but it left a little for imagination of all of us! Thank you, writers for making this story so unique!
There were a lot of scenes that I laughed and enjoyed with the characters, and closer to the end a lot that made me cry! It was lighthearted and bittersweet at the same time! One of my favorite scenes were of course Rin and San goodbye scene and the scene on the cliff... Both broke my heart! Also the last friends'  jorney together - we can see how three of them have changed  and grown up there..
I also want to compliment cinematography and the music - both were spectacular ( total joy for video maker :), and I wish there was this cinematography and music in Scarlet Heart - but it still the most perfect drama for me!! :)
I know, I will rewatch it! Maybe not from the first episodes, but I totally will!
I think that's it.. I guess  I made it clear that I totally loved this drama, and would recommend it to everyone.. But I know, not everyone would love it...:)

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Kathleen
3 people found this review helpful
30 days ago
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.5
"This is the story of how I loved you more than myself."

I love how the friendship of the trio has been portrayed. This drama will make you feel a rollercoaster of emotions.

Kudos to the actors. They were great. The cinematography and the ost is also beautiful.

I love the character development of the three leads. Yes it's cliche, but you'll have to see for yourself who San ends up with :) The ending is also up to audience interpretation.
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shivali
2 people found this review helpful
15 days ago
Overall 6.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.5
King's love in the start went flawless and i enjoyed it to the core, from the cast to the soundtrack and everything. Im Siwan doesn't disappoint at all in the role of a young crown prince, having a deranged father and an overprotective mother. Due to the strained relationship b/w the father and son, he finds love and haven in the company of his one and only childhood friend Wang Rin. Their friendship was their armour which kept them together in all odds of life.
Lady eun San on the other hand seems bold and strong woman who enters their lives and that's when the trio is built.
The first half of the drama was interesting as we see how each character evolved from weaker to a stronger personality. What annoyed me is that after the first half of the drama ended, there was so much chaos in the plot that it was unclear which track the drama is following. The plot was completely twisted and the emotions of the characters were so unclear that even though the drama ended, that unsatisfying feeling still lingers. I almost felt like dropping it because even though it wasnt a cliché like other dramas yet it creates so much uncertainty and frustration among us, the viewers that we couldn't decide if we should continue watching it or not.
Hong Jung hyun was unexpectedly good and fits in his role. His devotion for the crown prince as a friend was the only thing that made me watch it further. I hated his character in scarlet hearts ryeo so much that I didn't know that his character in this saguek will completely wash away his character from the previous drama. More than the love b/w any of the leads I ship WonRin more and maybe that was one of the reason I continued watching it.
The most disappointing character of the drama was yoona who seems so fickle at times that her character completely lost the track and it was hard to figure out what she wants. All her hollow bravery and smartness faded after a few episodes when she transformed from a bold character to a damsel in distress with those teary eyes in almost every episode.
Also the writers seems to be a bit averted and confused  with the plot. They first make the villain justify the cause behind all his actions but later makes him a completely aberrant being who just seems to serve the powerful and wants to be a king maker. Song In's character seems to be portrayed as someone who cares for the common people and thus want to remove the powerful and ruthless Yuan rule but after a series of events he turns out to be a greedy mad man who only wants power. The only thing that I might miss about this drama is the bonding b/w the leads and the soundtrack.

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