Sad Sonata is a love story about two men and one woman. The young Joon Young, who was raised by his mother who sold liquor to American soldiers, met the blind Hae In and they became childhood sweethearts. Then, Hae In immigrated to the U.S. following her aunt and her uncle, an American soldier that married her aunt. There she met Gun Woo, who was Joon Young's best friend and the son of a very rich man. After she received a letter from Hwa Jung saying that Joon Young is dead, she accepted Gun Woo's love. After an operation, Hae In was able to see again . The story picks up again when composer Joon Young, singer Hae In, and music producer Gun Woo all meet again. Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
Cast & Credits
Yes, it is sentimental. Yes, it is emotionally intense. Yes it is a Love Story - KDrama style."Sad Love Story" marks the beginning of the wave of success that over the past two decades has carried KDrama far across the South Korean peninsula. It has mastered the art of telling drama in a way that grips the heart and doesn't let go until the end - even if some aspects are predictable and there are clichés: the journey is the goal. One is always close to the emotions of the protagonists and they move unrestrainedly up and down. More drama is always possible. Yes, it is sentimental. Yes, it intends to be emotionally intense. Yes it is a Love Story - KDrama style.
Actually, "Sad Love Story" is a love story through and through. Touching in all possible directions. Obviously 'sad' too. The story navigates between 'blissful' and 'desperate' within a fascinating field of tension and relentlessly takes the audience along. At the same time, "Sad Love Story" is a study of how often supposedly small interventions (actually more like assaults) - sometimes nasty and selfishly motivated, sometimes noble and well-meaning - can mercilessly plunge one (or more) lives into misfortune. The level of pain and suffering people can endure is amazing (and encouraging). This story is fictional, but reality is full of it in all sorts of variations.
Among other things, in this KDrama one is confronted with the USA - from a South Korean perspective. That's quite interesting, too. "Sad Love Story" thus points towards a reality that people in the 21st century might be happy to forget. South Koreans and Germans probably have this in common: the presence of foreign military forces. Since the Korean War of 1950-1953, the USA, as an ally, has operated various military bases in South Korea to help defend the country in the event of a military threat from North Korea. After Japan and Germany, the United States is showing its strongest military presence with its troops stationed in South Korea. Camp Humphreys south of Seoul is the largest unit with US military personnel stationed overseas. There are several more, i.e. including Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, Camp Walker in Daegu, United States Navy Fleet Activities Chinhae near Busan, and two Air Force stations in Osan and Gunsan south of Seoul.
------------------ SIDE NOTE: --- "American Towns" ---
"Sad Love Story" puts the "America Town" (or "A-Town") of Gunsan in the focus of the story. The Air Force Station on the west coast is rather small, but the stationing of the US soldiers ensured that an entertainment culture geared to their specific needs was established. "American Town" in Gunsan is not the only one of its kind. They have thrived around all of these US bases since the 1950s. For example, today's hip Itaewon with its famous red-light district "Hooker Hill" in Seoul dates back to this "A-Town" culture, which specialized in entertaining the American GIs. Bars, restaurants, shops, services. Particularly lucrative: brothels... The KDrama also makes reference to the GI entertainment culture in the larger cities as it progresses. And finally also to the somewhat 'other' reality behind the dazzling GI heroes in uniform, which sometimes appears quite sobering when back 'at home' in the USA...
The "A-Town" was designated as an independent area with special "tourist facilities". It is a contractually regulated fringe zone, coordinated between the USA and South Korea - an intermediate world with its own laws. In spatial terms, too, it is located between the actual residential area (e.g. the city of Gunsan) and the air base. It consists of a cluster of bars, shops, restaurants and a few hundred small apartment buildings, each consisting of one room, kitchenette and toilet. Here lived the prostitutes, barmaids, singers...
In "Sad Love Story", the protagonist's mother runs a bar in "American Town", that optionally offers additional comforting services, while the protagonist's aunt is a singer in this bar. Together with other employees, they live in the immediate vicinity of each other and form a kind of community, so to speak. The "A-Town" forms the setting in which most of the characters in this KDrama grow up or live. It's a world of its own. It is at the same time an existential basis, a shackle, a flaw and the driving force to wanting to break out. It is also the place of greatest happiness and source of inspiration for the two protagonists.
Anyone watching this series should have a handkerchief or two handy. The Wheel of Fortune challengingly turns for two souls who are deeply connected in love and who mutually encourage each other to actually be true to who they are. Mercilessly the wheel turns and turns and turns... To a certain extent, actor Kwon Sang-woo ties directly into his role in "Stairway to Heaven", while actress Kim Hee-sun shines as a stoically frugal blind person who due to her disability is often helplessly at the mercy of her environment.
I admint, I forgot quite a few KDramas relatively quickly after watching. However, there are some, that due to their emotional intensity, today are still as present as if I had just seen them. These KDramas create a state of being that one doesn't really want to leave - also (or precisely because) it consistently remains in this characteristic conflict between weal and woe. And I am sure, "Sad Love Story" will also be one of those memorable ones. The soundtrack skillfully catches this situation and never tires of throwing in its leitmotifs as a pacemaker. "Sad Love Story" may be 'old', also outdated in format and style, but at the same time the series is timeless. In its mercilessly stirring mixture of love story and makjang it´s one of several masterpieces of the early 2000s that offer Love-Story-telling in its unique KDrama way. It is not about ´watching´ a story from the outside, but letting it in and empathizing. However, you have to like this style. Also the repeated holding on to the emotional key scenes. E.g. the topic itself has long since been told, but so that it also emotionally reaches the audience, the shot stays a little longer...
It should also be noted that the mixing with the US military and the scenes in the USA required a comparatively active participation of ´American´ actors. Those who also speak Korean (for an uncomplicated, smooth organization on the set) are probably rather rare. The talented ones among those obviously even more so. In this respect, the production inevitably breaks down a bit in terms of its acting quality.
And last but not least: In general, the early KWave productions are still more soap-like-style and not comparable to those Netflix (co-)productions over the past 6 years. Being spoiled by recent production quality, one can certainly linger on one or the other detail, as well as on the abundance of episodes (i.e. more and more and even more maybe unnecessary emotional loopings for the actual story to be told). If you have a problem with that, I would not recommend this KDrama.
"Sad Love Story" is for lovers of mercilessly intense emotional, slow-paced Makjang Love-Stories with plenty of heartache and a clenched fist in the pocket (and sometimes in the face).