Scent of a Woman

Scent of a Woman (2011)

Your Rating:
Ratings: 8.2/10 from 7,062 users
Reviews: 37 users

A romantic comedy about a non-married, low ranking office worker who is given numbered days to live.
Lee Yeon Jae is given the grim prognosis that she only has a short time left to live, so she decides to quit her job at a travel agency and live her life to the fullest.

  • Native title:

    여인의 향기
  • Also Known as:

    Yeoineui Hyanggi

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66 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Sep 13, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
I loved this drama to bits, but not for the reasons I was meant to.
Imagine you are sold a book with the cover of a travel guide and on reading discover that in fact it contains a romantic novel. You are captivated by the story and read it to the end, but you'll have to go out again to buy that travel book you didn't get in the first place.
That's read more exactly what happens when you start watching Scent of a Woman. You prepare yourself for a romantic comedy and find out that there isn't even a hint of comedy. The scenes which are meant to elicit a laugh range from painfully embarrassing to bitter-sweet.

But I loved it nonetheless. If the definition existed, I'd call this drama an "urgent passion". Urgency is the undercurrent of the whole show, to the point as a viewer I found myself praying for more time along the main female character. And passion for life is the glue that keeps all plot lines together.
The actors are amazing. All of them. I can safely say this is the best acted drama I've seen in a while. If you want to feel true empathy, cry, smile, grit your teeth or fall in love, watch this. The chemistry between the leads is tangible, and it grows so subtly and gradually it becomes a natural process in their story. I understood why they loved each other and not because the writer wanted me to, but because they were so incredibly believable.
The same applies to all the secondary characters. You'll grow to love them or hate them, they are not bi-dimensional people. They stay consistent to their nature and when/if they change they do so without pomp or unbelievable u-turns.
And I love that the message of this show is not a simple "live your life to the fullest". There's so much more. As I see it, the main theme of Scent of a Woman is: we are not alone here; everything we do, and the way we do it, effects the lives of those around us in a huge domino effect.
Message subtly told and beautifully executed.

Photography and attention to details are spotless.
I didn't really care for the music, but this is just me. It was chosen with sense and I appreciated the fact that it was in line with the show: elegant. I'm glad they didn't go for any lalala pop song, which would have ruined the mood.

Without spoiling the end of it, I need to say the last episode was simply perfect and beautiful, one of the reasons why I'm giving the drama a full 10.
Therefore, I'm going out now to buy that travel guide book I wanted, but I'll keep this beautiful love story bought by mistake on my shelf, for future re-reading/watching.
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43 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jan 11, 2012
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Let me ask you a question.

Are you sure you want to watch this drama? Chongmalyo?


Then you need a few things: a mind that understands, a heart that feels and loads upon loads of tissue paper.

As any Korean drama, Scent of a Woman starts of with the cliches: an indifferent chaebol (Kang Ji Wook) falls for a poor spinster (Lee Yeon Jae--who looks like she's in desperate need of read more a make-over) who turns out to have a terminal illness. The supporting male lead (Dr. Cha Eun Suk) has eyes for the heroine but could not confess his feelings, and there's the secondary female lead (Im Sae Kyung) who is a b*tchy daughter of a rich businessman and is arranged to marry the chaebol.
However what makes this drama special is how it successfully weaved its exceptional story to the growth of the characters episode by episode.

Yeon Jae develops a determined outlook in life to fulfill the things she had only dreamed of as a lowly desk employee of a touring agency and starts a bucket list of 20 things she wants to accomplish before she dies of gall bladder cancer. From her meek and docile character she learns how to appreciate herself and live life in search of her happiness. She develops a romantic relationship with Ji Wook and tries to stay away to prevent him from heartache in the future, but soon realizes that his love runs deep.

Kang Ji Wook, for his part, was painted as a mature and understanding person. From the meaningless and routinary life that he led, Ji Wook learns to appreciate life and to live life diligently. For all his worth, Ji Wook became Yeon Jae's pillar of strength and the most stable source of love she is able to draw from.

Secondary contradictions and side-stories also developed well in the drama--this makes for an air-tight storyline, with each side-story supporting the main one. Best parts are Hee Joo and her mom (this convinces Yeon Jae to confess to her mom), Ji Wook and his dad (he fights for his love and the right to be with Yeon Jae), Dr. Cha Eun Suk's character development (from a cold, detached doctor to a person who feels), Yeon Jae's mom and seongsangnim Kim Dong Min (she says sorry and lets her mom re-marry).

Prepare to cry your eyes out by the latter episodes from heartaches. However these heartaches are necessary to drive at resolutions at the end. I found the heaviest part when Yeon Jae finally confesses to her mom of her condition. Her mother's wail, tears and 'Eottoke' lines delivered like she was going crazy drove ME crazy. Interestingly, I felt this was the climax, not scenes with Ji Wook as their reconciliation was resolved earlier.

I could not have asked for a better ending. Like many others I was cringing at the end because I knew from the start that it was a tragedy and death was inevitable. And yet, Scent of a Woman chose not to end with a tragic note. It provided closure to unresolved relations, uplifts us and leaves us with a strong desire to do the same with life. Fighting and living it to the fullest.

Great writing, great cast, awesome soundtrack although I can't say I'd like to watch and go through this pain all over again.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (23)Recommendations

Both involve a person, strugling with an illness that doesn't seem treatable. In Both the mains meets their partners in the middle of the battle and the discovery. Both they and their partner are scared and make some questionable human choices. Both treat the illnesses with respect, while adding some love and a possitive humane angle of the issues. Both dramas deserve better recognision.
Recommended by Loving_Roots
both deal with the topic how to spend the last days of your life and with whom
Recommended by real_Mokona

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Comments (73)

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  • Reply
    souldoc70 21 days ago

    Beautiful drama ,well balanced even though the theme is more of a melodrama but it has humor , romance and slice of life. Kim Sun Ah is one amazing actress- just watching her eyes can make one cries. I just watched City Hall prior to this and what a 180 degree change in her character. Although some says Yeon Jae was selfish to fall in love with Ji Wook but in reality humans are known to be selfish at times like this. The love between Yeon Je and her mom is so touching. One of LDW 's better works besides Goblin.

  • Reply
    souldoc70 21 days ago

    Beautiful drama ,well balanced even though the theme is more of a melodrama but it has humor , romance and slice of life. Kim Sun Ah is one amazing actress- just watching her eyes can make one cries. I just watched City Hall prior to this and what a 180 degree change in her character. Although some says Yeon Jae was selfish to fall in love with Ji Wook but in reality humans are known to be selfish at times like this. The love between Yeon Je and her mom is so touching. One of LDW 's better works besides Goblin.

  • Reply
    law 24 days ago

    I like how it ends, atleast.. my expectation from the very start didnt happen.. what a relief..

  • Reply
    LinaTrejos Jul 16, 2017

    Although I loved the ending of this drama, it was boring most of the parts. Yes, it has a very touching and good moral and it was kinda realistic; but, I cannot agree with Lee Yeon Jae, I think she was the whole drama really selfish and tucked into her own world.

  • Reply
    real_Mokona Jul 7, 2017

    I normally don't watch Dramas with terminal illnesses but this one was amazing. Very realistic but full of joy of living and hope. It made me think about it alot and I liked the message at the end!

  • Reply
    Pres Mar 18, 2017 - edited

    what a miracle ending!!! it made me cry ...

    • Reply
      Jaylan Mar 21, 2017

      is there another season really for this drama ??
      & what was the name of it if u know plz ??

    • Reply
      Pres Mar 21, 2017

      i think this is the last season and it will never have another. but there's more interesting and highest review last 2016 kdramas you can watch. :)

    • Reply
      Jaylan Mar 22, 2017

      thank u so :)

  • Reply
    cynthia Feb 23, 2017

    i was waiting for a miracle but there wasn't any. it is so realistic

  • Reply
    Judy Inky Jan 8, 2017

    funny how it's categorised as a rom-com but so many people are commenting about how much it made them cry XD

  • Reply
    Emily Jan 6, 2017 - edited

    If you're debating watching this, watch it. That is all I have to say.
    -Currently starting my fourth rewatch-

    • Reply
      Kyah Jan 28, 2017

      I'm rewatching this for the fourth time too! I'm never going to stop loving this drama.

  • Reply
    Waah Jan 2, 2017

    I cried so much the whole drama <3

  • Reply
    Megunefetish Dec 22, 2016

    my first k-drama ... damn it I'm still crying

  • Reply
    Janey Dec 18, 2016 - edited

    How does it end?

    • Reply
      bmore Dec 30, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Norlina Hamidon Nov 2, 2016 - edited

    I am so in love with this drama. Admit it is one of the best drama i have ever seen. Top list ofcourse. But can anyone please recommend me a drama that can compete with this drama? Ive tried to watch decendent of the sun, but never really enjoyed it because the scenes were unrealistics, then the cheesy parts blew me off. Any other recommendation?

    • Reply
      CjRun Nov 3, 2016 - edited

      Try marriage contract for a more recent illness related show or Another Miss Oh. I am currently into C drama, Remembering Lichuan.

    • Reply
      AnicsiRoscoe Mar 5, 2017

      How much of DOTS did you see? I agree that the first couple of episodes have very cheesy scenes, but it gets much more realistic once she finds out who he really is. Personally I loved DOTS much more than Scent of a woman. The main couple here got really frustrating in the middle. Anyway, I can second Another Miss Oh, it's a fantastic drama. I also recommend "It's okay, that's Love" (best drama ever) and Queen In Hyun's Man. But it depends on what you want to watch (romance focus only, or friendship, a bit of tragedy, action, historical or friendship??) You can have a look at my list, everything I rated with 8.5 plus stars I can recommend whole heartedly.

  • Reply
    AneMi Sep 19, 2016 - edited

    Should i watch this? Is it good? I mean, I watched a half of first ep and dropped it! How can a grown woman yell and call names to a doctor ? It was so embarrassing, stupid and ill-mannered that I can't think this woman can become mature enough for the theme of this drama!
    But all the reviews are positive and I'm confused!

    • Reply
      annakd Sep 24, 2016

      This actress is amazing!! For me, this is the best role I've seen her in.
      The drama itself is unforgetable! One of my personal favorites. I absolutely recommend it.

    • Reply
      CjRun Oct 18, 2016

      This is such a good drama. Every time i see another good drama hitting similiar high note - I would come back and make a recommendation.

    • Reply
      Norlina Hamidon Nov 2, 2016 - edited

      You should. Stick to the drama for a few episodes. ...and you will get the vibe. I never thought that this drama will eventually be my fav drama when i first started to watch it. But towards the end, this drama brought satisfaction to me. I keep on coming back to the drama... until this day.

    • Reply
      AneMi Nov 29, 2016

      I decided to watch this drama and as you all said, it was very good! Thank you for making me give a chance to this one! :)

    • Reply
      CjRun Nov 30, 2016

      Glad you enjoyed it, AneMi.

  • Reply
    Red Aug 25, 2016

    good drama


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Jul 23, 2011 to Sep 11, 2011
  • Aired On:

    Saturday, Sunday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    1 hr. 5 min.


  • Score:

    8.2 (scored by 7,062 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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