Valid Love (2014) poster

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  • Score: 7.3 (scored by 1,331 users)
  • Ranked: #2937
  • Popularity: #937
  • Watchers: 4,031

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Completed
alienshore7
23 people found this review helpful
Feb 8, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
I wasn’t going to review this drama. In fact, for the first 18 episodes I was pretty much just watching it for the hotness that is Lee Soo Hyuk. And at one point in the doldrums of the ‘teens episodes I was about to drop it altogether. I’m so glad I didn’t. It has flaws for sure: a really unlikeable female lead character, a (for the most part) pretty blah male lead character, a (at times) pretty stalker-y second male lead with anger issues, and lovelines so messed up that I really had no clue how the writer would get out of it without a magic wand or some seriously questionable character decisions.

But then I saw episodes 19 and 20, and in those two episodes everything changed and became clear. The true heart of the show was revealed: FAMILY, specifically the Jang family, and what it is to be family and why we need them. The rest of the drama intimated at the theme, but never made it clear enough or important enough for me to care. The drama was billed as one about infidelity and I was viewing it through that lens. But the drama did itself no service being billed that way. By the end I remembered (and realized) that the main character was Jang Hee Tae (with the 2nd most important character possibly being Kim Joon) and not Il Ri. So hating her character wasn’t relevant – she was just a means to an end, someone to keep the plot going. I didn’t have to like her, to love what this drama did right.

And what it did right, it did beautifully. I should not be surprised by the quality of anything the cable channels do anymore because they really are where the best and most cutting edge Kdramas are broadcast. The networks are frequently all flash and no substance. But TvN and jTBC in particular bring us such wonderful and fresh dramas – often challenging too. Valid Love was challenging. If you think infidelity is inexcusable when you start watching this drama, it probably won’t change your mind. But if you can be open-minded, you will get so much more out of it.

The acting is absolutely superb – from top to bottom. The characters feel so real and flawed and the world feels gritty and lived in. It is a lovely slice of life drama. The directing and cinematography is absolutely fantastic and adds so much to the story that even when Il Ri was driving me nuts, I could have watched it with the sound off and been happy. But then I would have missed the soundtrack, which was perfect because it always set the mood but was so subtle you often missed it. Instead of over-bearing ballads or screeching pop music, they just used ambient background music to convey the mood and add to the rich, languid scenes.

I wasn’t going to give this drama a score as high as 8. I hated the Il Ri character most of the drama (although she did seem to grow a little at the end), and there were long stretches of the drama that just annoyed the crap out of me, or even bored me. But the ending is so good. The acting is so fantastic and the directing is just gorgeous that qualitatively I had to give this drama an 8. I give it an 8 in spite of an awful female lead character (not a knock on Lee Si Young, who was good and whom I like quite a lot) and some writing between the early episodes and end that really started to meander and make me go WTF. So many Kdramas start good and then end badly – most of them really. Valid Love did the opposite. It started meh. It got pretty crappy in the middle, and then it soared at the end. The writer, despite the WTF moments, clearly knew what she was doing.

I came for Lee Soo Hyuk (heh). I stayed for Lee Soo Huk. I took away so very much more.

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Completed
Rainedon
18 people found this review helpful
Feb 4, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This is not a drama for everyone, especially not for ones like their dramas full of action and fast story development. This is a slow paced drama. However, this is a drama that I truly enjoyed. The story is controversial and many times I kept shouting this is wrong. Having said that I still kept on wanting to see more of it. It's a story of growth from emotional immaturity personality and character flaws. It's a story of love and sacrifice as well as overcoming weaknesses and self doubts; of wondering whether relationships are strong enough even when foundations seem to be breaking apart. I am so happy with the ending because it was not forced and all the characters were given a neat resolution.
The acting was very good and believable. UTW made me feel every pain he was going through without him having to overact. LSH's acting was spot on. His personality suited his role. LSY was able to show me how her character has changed and grown in the 20 episodes of this drama. The supporting actors were also all so good.
I liked the music because it did not take away from the drama but set the mood of the story.
It was a great drama but I probably will not watch it again in the near future because of the slow pace. Watching this drama however made me feel like reading a very good novel by a really brilliant story teller; like Like reading Hemingway.
I highly recommend to anyone interested in watching wonderful story unfolding slowly in 20 episodes.

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Completed
Charming92
8 people found this review helpful
Sep 26, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
I know my rating seems unrealistic, especially with so many bad reviews running around. However, I love this show with passion, it is the best drama i have ever seen, but it is definately not a show for everyone... You will need to like melodramatic shows to like this one. My eyes literally hurt from crying. If you want something light, and funny, this is definately not the show for you. This is the heaviest drama i have ever watched. But please don't bash it because you don't like the type or concept of the show. It was the best thing of this genre i have ever watched.

STORY
First of all, the show is based on the ideas of true love, soulmates and timing. What happens if your true love and your soulmate isn't the same person? What happens when you meet one after you've married the other. Which one would you choose if you met them at the same time? And in the end how can family can complicate those choices, or sometimes mislead you from the truth...

I feel the need to say the description of the show is misleading. I, for one, i was expecting something more suggesting, even sexual. But no, there is nothing filthy about this show, the way everything is presented ends up focusing on the family more than the affair. This is a drama about how family gets in a way of life, or, to put it better, how life gets in the way of people's hopes and dreams...

The main premise of the show isn't the adultery, adultery is the result. Adultery is presented here in a different way, in somes eyes it might not even be adultery (mini-spoiler ahead), since it never got physical, but in my eyes it was even worse since physical connection can be broken, emotional connection is the worst kind. THIS is what happens here... And the show wants you to understand HOW they got here, and THAT is where family gets sucked in...

The story is crafted perfectly, its extremely dramatic, more than i could handle most of the times. The characters' reactions were so real, but not predictable. The story developed extremely fast in my opinion (another difference i felt from all the reviews and comments about the show), so many things happening, i found myself saying this can't be happening at this right moment... But all the script choices could have actually happened, its highly unlikely that all those things could happen to a single person, but in the very end, why not? Because they are a good person? Because they never did anything wrong? Life sucks, and this show knows it, and expresses it in the best way possible...

The only thing i could ask more about this perfectly created scenario and plot is that i'd liked the show to explore some characters, and things more. Like Why Hee Soo was sick, and how that happened, we get nothing. In the same way the way Kim Joon's character ends, it should have been introduced before so we could get to know him better. It felt like an easy way out for him so everyone can be happy. I guess the main purpose of the show was to show the problems of the main couple and the flawed main characters. Everything else was explored to the point needed to explore the main couple deeper. I respect that

ACTING
I have no words to explain how amazing the acting was.

Uhm Tae Woong is the first person narrator of the show. His acting was incredible, he was amazing in every way. My english skills aren't enough to explain how good he was. Especially when he finds out his wife is cheating... His acting was top notch. I felt everything he said, every single word he said as a narrator, every single choice he made as a character in the show. I can't find the words... I can't...

Lee Shi Young... I mean... can someone give her an oscar an emmy? Something... There wasn't a single scene she was in that wasn't incredible. She was amazing and perfect. Even though the whole show was presented by the husband's point of view she made her reasons and her feelings clear. Her break down moments were perfect, sincere and dramatic.

Lee Soo Hyuk. I should say i am a fan of his, i liked his acting a lot in other dramas i've seen him, but here, next to UTW and LSY, he felt like a child actor. To be honest the show doesn't care about him much. I just felt like he held back, he was emotionless most of the time, maybe he was asked to act this way. He was quite good nonetheless he didn't bring the show down, he held up with the other actors well.

Choi Yeo Jin. Beautiful actress and very nice deliverance in a role that was quite difficult in my opinion. Maybe her role was the most important in the show, everything was based upon her character in the very end. She did a wonderful job.

The supporting cast was quite big, and all i can do is praise every single one of them for the great performance. Especially the mother of Hee Tae, she was WONDERFUL!

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
I'll try not to make any spoilers, and say beforehand if i do.
In this story of adultery noone is to blame but everyone is at fault too...

Jang Hee Tae. He is the biggest sweetheart of the show for me. I loved the character development. The way he loved his wife, their love story, the way he talked about her in the early episodes, he liretally had sparkly eyes when his wife's name was in his mouth. He was saying her name and he was smiling with the biggest smile ever. All this love and happiness turned so dark halfway the show. It is understandable, something happened to his seemingly perfect life that he couldn't even imagine... I loved his reactions, when he learned the truth, i found the way he handled everything completely real. In my opinion, the best character in the show. Of course he is to blame too, he should have stayed closer to his wife and watch what is happening. His reaction might seem very selfish to some, and it really was, but people... people are selfish beings. In the very end he ended up being the most selfless person on the show, because that was who he was... He was willing to trade his happiness for his wife's....

Kim Il Ri. I've read so many hateful comments about her character and i was expecting to see a slut on screen but no. The most troubled character on the show, i think a lot of women could relate to her... She was sad for the most part of her life and she wasn't even aware of it. She blamed herself for something that happened and had nothing to do with her, she knew it, but some people do feel that way, it can't be helped. Her development from her school years to her adult years is so sad, but also so real. From the craziness and innocence to regret and sadness... Is adultery the answer to a sad life you can't escape from? No its not, but what she saw in him was a window to be free for a few minutes, a few moments not to hold an entire family on her shoulders. What she did was wrong, and she is at fault for sure, but she shouldn't be the only one to blame... She definately shouldn't...

Kim Joon. Ok, i disliked him. I'm sorry i just couldn't with his selfish and pushy personality. Everyone was trying their best all through the show, everyone was trying to make the best choices for themselves and everyone else (and failing) and there was him, acting like a 12 yeard old who wants something and he wants it now.. Life is messy, you can't demand something or leave a place because you don't like it. The fact that you lived that way doesn't mean its the right way to live, and you can't force other people to live your way!

Would i recommend this you ask? No matter how much i loved it, honestly, no. Unless you love extremely depressing melodramas or you are into a phase where you need to seriously cry. This is NOT a show about ships. I was never shipping anyone with anyone. This show makes you realise how unimportant ships are and all that people need is someone to lean on and love. I wanted them to be happy, the most happy they can be after everything that happened.

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Completed
purplenette
8 people found this review helpful
Feb 4, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
I rarely watch affair dramas. I made an exception for this because of the actors. However, the writer's perspective was interesting. I was emotional while watching and cried several times which is rare for me. The drama is slow paced, but doesn't give the feel of being too drawn out and boring. Every scene has it's reason and emotion. No one is blameless, but it isn't anyone's fault. Sometimes when living life we don't always see what is really going on. We don't see that the people we love are suffering and we forget to appreciate the people we love that are near us. Also, just because you love your significant other doesn't mean that you won't be attracted to or even care for someone else. I'm sure it happens every day. Valid Love makes you think from every perspective. The relationship between Hee Soo and Il Ri is beautiful. They are so close and it was great to watch them interact. My favorite relationship in the drama is their story line. I also liked the side story between Il Ri's sister and Hee Tae's brother. They were too cute. The draw back is that there are some strange happenings with the parents. I get the point the writer was trying to make, but it was borderline unnecessary. The ending was good.

Uhm Tae Woong did a nice job of conveying all of Jang Hee Tae's emotions. I felt his love, anger, and sadness. I was mad at him sometimes and routing for him other times. Lee Soo Hyuk was also great as Kim Joon. He made Il Ri comfortable enough to pour her misery out to him. I kinda felt bad for him, because it seemed he started every thing because he saw she was unhappy. He should have known that he would just end up hurt though. Lee Shi Young was amazing as the quirky, 4 dimensional Il Ri. I enjoyed her character so much. A lot of people might blame her, but I empathized with her. There were many times that I just wanted to yell at her to run away. I absolutely loved Choi Yeo Jin as Hee Soo. Her character was a large part of why I kept watching the drama.

The music is fine and appropriate.

I will never rewatch this.

If you like a slower paced meaningful drama, then I recommend this. It isn't action packed or epic, so please don't expect too much. Like I said in the feeds, Valid Love is oddly emotional and addictive.

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Completed
heeba15
4 people found this review helpful
Jan 4, 2016
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
The rating for this drama is too low, especially for such an intense, mature, and well made drama like this that you only get once in a while (i am pretending like the first two episodes dont exist because it felt like a different director created those episodes compared to the brilliance that followed).

The reason why people were disappointed with this drama is because, well, it's just too damn realistic. People wanted a steamy drama about an affair where a hot and mysterious guy sweeps a girl off of her feet, but this isn't that type of drama, because, as already stated, this drama is realistic. What makes this drama so good though is that the emotions are so raw and believable. While watching lee jun (soo hyuk) and the female lead interact, i literally felt the intensity in my chest, it was that intense. I even watched the drama a second time and i still felt the emotions, and this is the reason why i think you NEED to watch this drama. I honestly decided to watch this drama since im a fan of uhm tae woong but lee shi young and lee soohyuk's acting blew me away. To top it off the supporting actors and their characters were all so interesting to watch, not one of their characters were ordinary or boring, and i can say that i didn't dislike a single character in this drama. The whole cast meshed great together and in such a natural and realistic manner.

Basically, fast forward through the 1st two episodes and watch this drama, you will not regret it, unless what you're into is unrealistic, corny, and predictable dramas.

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Completed
Grace lander
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 6, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
Enjoyed every episodes of this series. The entire cast did a wonderful job portraying their characters. The character I liked most in this series is II Ri. Lots of people hated her because she cheated on her husband. It makes perfect sense. Although the choices she made were wrong, I don't blame her entirely because I understand where she coming from and what led her to do what she did. It's human nature to make mistakes, but what is more important then that is learning from them.

The soundtrack in this series is beautiful. It so soothing, and it fits perfectly in every scenes.

I was never a fan of the lead actress until I started watching this series. I'm very impressed with her acting. i will definitely be looking forward to her next project.

Recommendation: Like other reviewers have stated, this show is for mature and open-minded viewers.

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Completed
BoiceInPink
3 people found this review helpful
Feb 16, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 2.0
Overall I feel that to watch this show, you must have a certain level of maturity and open-mindedness. If not, it would be really difficult to see this show to the end due to the nature of this story. As you probably would have already known, it is mainly revolved around infidelity thus it can cause feelings of frustration and anger while watching.

This drama seems to focus more on the emotions and feelings of the characters, which leads to relatively little plot development in each episode. Despite that, I would say that this show is really interesting and emotional. It can be difficult to comprehend the reasons why various characters think and behave in a certain way but I believe that it was intentional.

As a fan of Lee Siyoung, I feel that she managed to portray Il Ri's crazier younger and older self well. She definitely evoked a full spectrum of emotions throughout the show. Uhm Taewoong, Lee Soohyuk and the other minor characters were also great! They fit their characters well and I really have no complains, so thumbs up to the casting directors!
A special mention goes to Lee Yeong Ran (Hee Tae's mother). I feel that she deserves more praise for her superb acting!

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Completed
Inkscraps08
3 people found this review helpful
Feb 21, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
If you're looking for something that's more mellow, realistic and homely this may be it. I'd watch this on a weekend. It was a drama that reflected a life that could be happening to anyone around you. It showed raw reactions of an emotionally heavy situation. As the title is: Valid Love - the drama displays different types of love and ends off with telling you that - all love is valid.

The story felt familiar. It was a great display of mature love and relationships. If you were hoping for heart racing & grand romance, this isn't it. You see quarrels within the family and marriage. You witness the life of this one family who just happens to be unlucky. It was a story that focused on everyone's point of view in marriage, love, family and life. Although you are only given the inner narration of the first male lead - he helps guide you through not only his emotions but others emotions as well. It was a narration that reflected the past. It's like the male lead learns as he narrates which really gives you space to feel. You aren't restricted to his anger and sorrow. You know he has the potential to grow out of his anger. When his narration isn't given you can see the point of view of the other characters and you come to take the side of the other characters.

The acting was great. I always found the main actress amazing but seeing as she was playing a character that could be hated by a large amount of viewers due to her situation, I really admired her. She conveyed her feelings really well. The character herself was really well written. She was outspoken and stood up for herself so it wasn't hard to like her. The second male lead was not seen as only - the other party-. We witnessed his side of the story as well. The male lead gave us a wide range of emotions which made him extremely enabling. He showed growth throughout the drama. I really liked the family's acting as well. It wasn't just yelling and shouting. When they cried I did too. It wasn't just typical loud family acting.

The Music is beautiful. It was music that would make you want to stare out the window and just zone out. It was calming, soft and a perfect representation of Valid Love. The lyrics conveyed strong emotions of longing and emptiness as the melody tries to calm you down from the given message. The OST makes time move slow.

The rewatch value is @ 8.5 / 10 cause it isn't exactly a bright and light drama. I'd watch it only when I feel down and mellow. I do have to say, there is a sense of completion after you finish this drama. It feels like a lot has been lifted off your shoulder.

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Completed
scarletquill
2 people found this review helpful
Jul 21, 2016
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
I just finished watching this drama and I have a headache, and a heartache.

Before starting to watch this drama, I was a bit skeptical because the reviews weren't singing glories of this drama, and most people haven't heard of it. I went for it anyway because a trusted friend recommended it to me, and also because of Uhm Tae Woong and Lee Soo Hyuk.

WARNING: This drama is not for everyone.This drama is not for people looking for a lighthearted romcom. This drama is not for people who do not want to deal with heavy subject matter.

The drama deals with a very intense and heavy content, that of adultery, but it deals with it with great finesse. It is very easy for us, as the audience, to look at it from the outside and take a moral stance regarding adultery. It is very easy for us to blame Il Ri, or Hee Tae, or Joon - especially, Il Ri and Joon for crossing the forbidden boundary. However, life is not always so easy and straightforward. Feelings and emotions can be a murky place to navigate through. This drama unfurls and explores those complicated feelings, those taboo feelings, slowly and with great detail and exposes us to the raw guilt and pain that comes with adultery. A majority of the audience tends to blame Il Ri, for leading both the men on, for not stopping before it got too late. However, I felt that each of the three were to blame in one way or the other; it was a series of events that led them to the situation - events that could have gone different ways, but perhaps were necessary for each character to find themselves and their relationships.

The drama doesn't really take an overt moral stance regarding adultery; it won't try to convince you that adultery is wrong or right. This drama is about growth, about negotiation, about understanding, about acceptance, about confrontation with ugly and painful feelings. The drama doesn't just make the characters undergo these, but the audience as well.

The acting is stellar. Uhm Tae Woong is spectacular as usual. Lee Soo Hyuk gave me so many feels, so much heartache. Lee Si Young could have been better but I honestly cannot imagine anyone else as Il Ri. But really, Choi Yeo Jin mus be applauded for portraying that role with such aplomb. I am in awe. They played the flawed, and fragile characters with such conviction. The same goes to each of the supporting characters.

The drama has a very autumnal/winter concept, which is further emphasized by the fact that it is set in winter and the warm colours that are used throughout the drama. I believe the cinematography focused on an autumn colour palette because of the mature subject of the drama. The soundtrack sets the perfect ambiance for the drama - rather than being jarred with a loud song suddenly playing at dramatic moments, the music and songs just blend into the background, adding intensity to the scenes. There is also a certain nostalgic vibe to it; I don't know how else to describe it.

I will always be partial to this drama for hitting so close to home, for being so raw. Honestly, it is one of those life-changing dramas that make you question, to debate, to deny, and then to accept - much like most of the characters in the drama. I have always maintained that cable dramas (especially TvN and OcN dramas), despite not receiving much attention, are changing the landscape of Korean drama. Valid Love is one such drama. It slows down in the middle, but keep watching. The ending is worth the length of the drama.

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Completed
Sweetiepea
2 people found this review helpful
Apr 21, 2016
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 4.0
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This drama was very disappointing in that the wife caused her own heartache in their marriage. She took on more with his family even when her husband didn't want her too. She also made her family think she was being taken advantage of when she was the one who fought her husband to take on the role of caregiver, ignoring the advice of her husband. When she became overwhelmed, she looked to another man who she was kissing 3 days after meeting him. I didn't like this drama because the writer never truly developed the characters. I was left with the feeling that the wife still wasn't happy with her husband in the end. I also had the impression that mentally, she and the man she had an affair with were mentally challenged.

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Completed
Boon Ang
0 people found this review helpful
May 20, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.5
I must commend the writer/s for a very well-written script. I appreciated the subtleties employed to help us understand the drama better.

The uses of honorifics employed by Il Ri connotes a different level of relationship she had between Hee Tae and Kim Joon. During the period when she was dating Kim Joon, Il Ri addressed Hee Tae as "dangsin" (a more affectionate reference to "you" which can be interpreted as "dear") in private as well as in the presence of Kim Joon. In comparison, Il Ri rarely called Kim Joon "dangsin" in public or in the presence of Hee Tae. The only occasion she called Kim Joon "Dangsin" many times was when he asked her to what he meant to her. Most of the time, Il Ri addressed Kim Joon as "Carpenter Kim". This stark contrast is evident in her final farewell visit and letter to Kim Joon & Hee Tae respectively. In the former situation, Il Ri never addressed Kim Joon as "Dangsin" but in her farewell letter to Hee Tae, she used "dangsin" to address Hee Tae many times.

My remarks are made as someone who does not understand the Korean language. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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