Marriage Contract (2016) poster

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  • Score: 8.2 (scored by 5,487 users)
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Completed
Charming92
60 people found this review helpful
Apr 24, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 6
Overall 9.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.5
Romance, in kdramaland, is usually cheesy, deficient at times and often highly corny. I think it is safe to say that when you’ve watched a-few-too-many romance kdramas they tend to become repetitive as they all follow certain rules by the book. And when you think you’re done with the genre, Marriage Contract happens, and makes you completely revise all your thoughts and beliefs. It is not that MC broke any rules or reinvented the genre. MC actually followed all the clichés and yet managed to come out so refreshing and stimulating against all odds, and that is why Marriage Contract is a must watch.

STORY
Marriage contract is your average, predictable and cliché kdrama. We get our over-used closed and shut-down, borderline rude and arrogant rich, chaebol male lead; the younger, naïve, kind-hearted and poor girl and we see their love story develop through a very foreseeable melo plot-story. However, even if you feel you can predict everything from the first episode, MC manages to pull you in with its incredible and unique feel of raw-ness.

The characters are ordinary, and yet they are so original. The male lead is overly rough and mean on the outside, but with such a marshmallow core that makes him completely loveable from the first moment; the female lead is your average girl in need, but she is a fighter and you will root for her and her wonderful personality to be happy. Characterization and character development are commendable and one of the main reasons i would recommend this.

The drama is packed with small, simple moments of everyday life that superficially are skippable, but they ultimately make the drama what it really is. Small moments, like hugging a friend, trimming your hair, talking to your kid, playing with pets; moments that are insignificant in dramas, but mean so much for a person in real life, because they express happiness and sadness; life’s core traits. THIS is what this show is, and this is where it is unique, this is where it is extraordinary and this is where it exceeds expectations and becomes an amazing show.

Basically, what exactly is Marriage Contract? MC Is a story about how family can completely destroy you as a person, destroy your life, destroy your dreams, destroy your hopes, destroy everything you love. It depicts perfectly the bittersweet/love-hate feelings someone can have towards their family, and how these problems can be confronted. Opening up to a special someone is the key to being happy. Letting go, forgiving yourself and others, and ultimately loving and sharing your life with someone else; and when you've found that someone, live in the moment, don't spend your time restlessly thinking about the future. Be happy, in the moment!

The background of the drama is the very dysfunctional family of the male lead who desperately tries to find an organ donor for his sick and troubled mother. This is where the female lead comes into the picture, hence the marriage contract. See? Super simple, super predictable almost enough for someone to skip/drop this. And yet…. the drama is exquisite, in many ways it reminded me of It’s Ok, That’s Love.

Lastly, I would like to talk to you about the chemistry here, because it is probably the best thing this drama has to offer. I think i can safely say that real chemistry between the leads is rare in kdramas. Some people can ship any pretty faced actors together, I can’t. I need sparks; I need them to prove to me that they are worth my tears, my time and my frustration! Lee Seo Jin and Uee not only had sizzling and magnificent chemistry, not only they looked phenomenal together, not only each of their moments was heart-wrenching and mind-blowing, but they re-invented the term 'on screen chemistry' for me since they managed to actually seem like a family.

What’s more, the most astonishing thing of them all, the kid actress Shin Rin Ah managed to develop such an amazing chemistry not only with Uee (mother-daughter relationship), but with Lee Seo Jin as well (father-daughter relationship). The three of them looked so unrealistically wonderful together they will destroy and revive your feelings over and over again. One of the best overall on-set chemistries I’ve ever seen.

This drama is arguably a masterpiece, not because of an innovative plot or anything like it, but because of its raw simplicity and flawless chemistry.

ACTING
I’ll be frank. I’m tired of people hating Uee’s acting. I am not completely familiar with her previous projects, I’ve watched bits and pieces of them, but she certainly gave the performance of her life here, and I pity people who couldn’t see that! She is an actress who is improving, and she should be praised for this. She puts effort in her acting, she cares! She was impeccable, exquisite and luscious in every way here, there wasn’t a single moment where I didn’t feel what she was feeling, amazing facial expressions, great body expressions, very emotional crying, really mature deliverance by Uee overall. People, who disagree, apparently need someone to hate, please hate yourselves and leave Uee alone!

As far as Lee Seo Jin is concerned, for one, he was so hot, manly and handsome I was taken by surprise. Secondly he managed pull off brilliantly, a pretty complicated character, who could have been easily hated. He delivered a great and sensuous performance; he made his character understandable from the very beginning - he apparently took the time to actually understand his character before taking the role. What I’d like to especially mention is his terrific deliverance on the emotion of happiness. His character was largely depressed, the worst kind of depression; the kind, that is not visible and seem ok on the surface. Happiness is a funny thing, everyone can imitate and say they are happy but which of us actually are? Lee Seo Jin send shivers down my spine, specific moments made, not only his character feel more raw and real, but also it enhanced the whole point of the show and helped the drama have more impact.

Lastly, I feel the need to congratulate the kid actress Shin Rih Na, she is deadly talented, best kid actor I’ve seen thus far. Her role here, wasn’t just to be cute, her role was essential for the drama to make sense and she was exquisite in it. She has a bright future in this industry. These 3 should act together in the future again!

RECOMMEND/REWATCH
This is a melo-romance. People who like melodramas, you’ll like it, it is not overly sentimental (although it does get increasingly depressing), people who like rom-coms, this might be too much for you, but since I know you love a good romance, this is recommended. This kind of chemistry should not be missed or ignored! I will definitely rewatch this at some point!

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Completed
Mody
43 people found this review helpful
Apr 24, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 19
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
This show is love. This show is life. This show is everything.
The first 2 episodes were like meh i wont be too excited for this drama next week. I might even skip it. Who the hell is that ahjussi and Uee is too young for him thats just a mood ruiner. And its like the drama told me *hold up son, we are the real deal* and it hit me from episode 3 to 16. The drama started killing people with its perfection, cute and beautiful moments that arent forced ( its not cheesy its bittersweet ) .
I see people talk about chemistry between acting couples. Here it wasnt chemistry it was lioe rocket science. Beauty overload and the mood of the show was just like old kdramas with the musoc and clothing and just how they value the family and love and emotions.
Best drama i finished this year. ( yes i like it more than the epic ones )
This will be my first review on this site and probably the last because my feels are all over the place.
"Promise that you'll meet me in paradise inevitably
No matter what, I'll keep your love forever with me"

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Completed
manicmuse
10 people found this review helpful
May 7, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 5
Overall 7.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
Marriage Contract is a drama that I can see why people gave it high reviews, but I just can't do the same. Don't let the classic romcom marriage contract between a rich chaebol and a broke girl plot fool you, this is a bonafide tearjerker. Did this drama make me cry and cry again? Absolutely, because the main cast is amazing. What's my problem with Marriage Contract then? Well, read the title and the synopsis and you basically know everything about this drama. Yup, That's it for all 16 episodes. The story is so basic that this drama is definitely saved by the acting!

Uee and Lee Seo Jin took super cliché characters and made them feel real. I'm not a Uee fan, but I was super impressed. Her character goes through so much, and she nailed every moment. I think she's missing some of the charm that other actresses have, so she often comes across as too cold for me (even when she's being sweet), but she gave a very believable performance. Lee Seo Jin gave a great performance too, that proved he's more than just dimples. My only complaint is that some of his really big smiles looked more creepy than genuine. His tears however were extra heartbreaking. Watching their bittersweet relationship is the heart of this drama, and why it worked at all for me.

I admit that in the beginning I didn't like any of the characters. For the first few episodes no one was likable, not even the cute kid. Uee was the most sympathetic in the beginning, but she was also so pathetic that I was frustrated watching her. Then, around episode 4, things finally started to shift for me. Suddenly I was binge watching, barely able to stop myself from watching what happened next. Han Ji Hoon became more charming, Kang Hye Soo became more admirable, and their chemistry started to develop into something engaging. Shin Rin Ah as Eun Sung was also such a strong character that I think she deserves a main character status. She gave a performance that showed she was just as talented as her adult cast members. If she's that good now, I can only imagine how good she can be in the future,

The rest of the supporting cast was excellent as well, even really minor characters, except for one. Kim Young Pil was really bad, like REALLY bad. I almost removed a whole acting point for how bad he was. I'm not sure it was all his fault, because the character was written as being petty and ridiculous, but he just seemed too over the top and fake evil, even for a melodrama. Honestly, all of the characters are pretty one note, and don't have much depth, but the actors managed to insert depth into their performances. Like bad dad Kim Yong Gun, who was text book evil, but he was such a believably unbelievable character who's outrageous actions cured a lot of my boredom with the rest of the plot.

I think the writer is the problem for me. The plot is predictable, it's full of everything you've already seen in a drama. So many of the female characters seemed to be irrationally obsessed with men (husbands, exes, sons) that I often had a hard time empathizing with them. Some of the episodes felt repetitive. There were about five episodes where the literal plot was cry, plan to divorce, cry again. Some other episodes rely heavily on flashbacks, which was annoying. I became invested in the characters and their relationships, so I could never bring myself to stop watching, but I definitely had to push my way through to the end. It did pick up momentum again in the last episodes, and I did like the ending (though it was nothing original), but I just didn't fall in love with this drama the way others did.

This is similar to the problems I had with "Secret", which has the same writer. Weak characters, a predictable plot, skippable scenes, a pathetic lead character always in tears, dragging episodes...

I did like the direction, the same guy who directed "Kill Me, Heal Me". That, and the cast may be what made me like this drama much more than "Secret". My one complaint is that the blatant product placements were pretty hilarious.

I thought the music was not great either. Some of the music chosen seemed so out of place. I did appreciate that Ji Hoon's ringtone was mo' better blues, which gave some insight in how important music was to the character. Too bad they never incorporated a real musical storyline in the actual script.
That could have helped me understand why he struggled so much to join the company.

Would I watch this again? Only if I am feeling apathetic and want to cry my eyes out to prove I still have feelings.

Overall, I would only recommend this drama to fans of super sad melodramas like "49 Days" (which had too much cloud of impending doom for me), "Scent of a Woman" (which I loved, and had similar themes), or "Secret" (which proved to me I do have a melodrama limit). Romance fans will be able to appreciate the love story, and some of the family themes are heart warming, but this is a drama you have to buy a jumbo tissue box for and then just embrace the chronic eye wetness.

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Completed
Chrisstina
9 people found this review helpful
Apr 25, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 4
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
"If someone is to ask me what was the happiest moment in my life, my answer is always the same. It's this moment here and now." This drama is a pure love. From the first second to the last one. I'll be honest with you and tell you that I didn't have high expectations for this drama, but oh boy I was wrong. Really wrong. If someone is to ask me what is the best melodrama, without hesitation I'd say Marriage Contract.
The story seems very ordinary, yet very unique for me. It's like a hidden gem.The charm and beauty of this drama lies in the mood followed all through, you know that kind of mood we all know of those very beautiful and great old dramas you rewatch over and over again. So I can proudly say that Marriage Contract is my guilty pleasure. ;)
However, what'll make this drama forever engraved in my heart and soul is atmopshere( I liked the lighting in this drama, orange, yellow, blue), one of the best chemistries I've ever seen, natural, real and out of this world acting, fantastic characters and their natural developing, memorable music. I liked how this drama was getting better and better with every single scene and episode, without hysterical yelling, unnecessary illogical plots and happenings, and it was calm and logical till the end.

Acting was simply wow. Lee Seo Jin grow so much as an actor and his character is a heart of this drama. He freaking rocked this role. From the jerk to the sweet, caring and loveable husband, son and dad. His strong and powerful acting plus sexy dimples is not easily to be forgotten, for sure. And now what surprised me was Uee. I've always been neutral with her and I've thought that her acting is so-so, but she made me prove I was very, very wrong. She did a marvellous job. I simply can't get out of my mind the way she caress Eun Sung, how she holds back her tears, her gestures, biting her lip and smiling. She literally ruined me because she wasn't ashamed to show her deepest emotions, she cried when felt like crying, she smiled when she felt happy and she loves with all hear heart. She learned to appreciate life, to live in this moment without any regrets. Since I definitely agree with her she has my sincere respect for that. And our little Eun Sung. Withouth her this drama wouldn't be alive. That little girl is such a sweet heart. I've always adored kids since forever and that's maybe why dramas with kids are my weakness, but what can I do. Eun Sung made me to cry bucket of tears because that child is simply fantastic.
I have no words to describe that phenomal and electric chemistry. Both of them showed deepest and raw emotions, their gentle touching, passionate and sweet kisses, tight and warm hugs, their sincere tears and words for each other. As I said you have to see it for yourself, because explaining something wonderful as this is is impossible. I guarantee you that. ;)

Music is very beautiful especially that nice mumbling instrumental which played in the most fantastic moments. OSTs were also addicting and I listen them from time to time. :P

Marriage Contract is a drama full of life lessons with excellent dialogues and wise words. A drama which makes you appreciate and love your life. The one that will hit you hard, crawl under your skin and bones and forever be remembered.

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Completed
ViolinGal
26 people found this review helpful
Apr 25, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
It's certainly the best drama I've watched this month. I'm a little sad to bid it adieu--it had everything you could want from a drama: amazing actors, heartwarming moments, an adorable little kid, and a BEAUTIFUL love story that immersed you completely in the lives of these characters. Everything they felt, you felt. This drama grasped onto my heart and refused to let go. These actors really did a phenomenal job; I definitely want to check out some of their other dramas.

I think whether you are a fan of melodramas or not, this is definitely worth your time. While the subject matter of having a terminal illness is sad, rather than being this forlorn, sappy pit of one depressing scene after the other, it instead had a nostalgic, hopeful, and just plain beautiful feel to it. <33

It was about family and friendships--the important people in our lives and what we're willing to do for them. Appreciating them full-heartily and embracing our present happy moments. The OST is stunning, SO SO beautiful. It really added to all the moments in this drama.

If you're on the fence about whether to start this drama, I say barrel through that fence and just take a chance. It really doesn't disappoint: it's about life, family, love, and happiness. It's just so dang beautiful. I applaud everyone involved in it making it. <333

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Completed
purplenette
6 people found this review helpful
Apr 25, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
I love this drama. The love story between a mother and child, friendship, family, and lovers is so well written, directed, and acted. I was skeptical of the chemistry between the leads at first because of the 15 year age gap, but I was absolutely wrong. Their love for each other is palpable. Although you would think that this drama is sad (and it is sometimes), I was left with a feeling of optimism. Live your life to the fullest because you never know if you have one day, one month, or years. The story does have typical Korean troupes such as rich, jerk man falling for poor, optimistic woman, but they are written in a way as to not interfere with the depth of the story.

Uee is phenomenal as Kang Hye Soo. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed her performance and I was completely invested in the character. Where did Lee Seo Jin come from? I have never seen him in anything and I am wondering why. I can see why Hye Soo fell for Han Ji Hoon. He felt real. With all the fake in this world, that is my highest compliment. All the other actors are good also. Shin Rin Ah is totally adorable as Cha Eun Sung.

I enjoyed the music and have downloaded some of it.

I may rewatch this sometime.

If you enjoy dramas that are uplifting, then I think you would enjoy this. It is reminiscent of the drama Scent of a Woman which I also highly recommend.

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Completed
Katie
7 people found this review helpful
Apr 25, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.5
I was slightly hesitant to start watching Marriage Contract back when it first started airing. While I've watched some very good dramas that center around a main character with a terminal illness, if they aren't done well the show ends up being flat out depressing. Marriage Contract, I am pleased to say, ended up being one of the best illness-centered dramas I've watched. It reminds me a lot of Scent of a Woman, but I actually think I prefer it over SoaW.

The story of Marriage Contract certainly isn't anything new. I'm sure we've all seen plenty of contract marriage and illness dramas. But I think that this was a strength for Marriage Contract. The whole drama had a very nostalgic and classic feel to it. It was very cliche, but still somehow felt fresh. It feels like it could be an older drama. The writers brilliantly used a simple plot and made mundane things into something special. The drama as a whole is very simple and doesn't have any crazy plot twists. We got many scenes of our characters enjoying the simple things in life (like singing, or kitties, or riding a bike). I think show did a very good job of making things that are normally taken for granted feel special. With a simple plot and no overly dramatic twists, the show was very relaxing, yet still engaging. We got to focus a lot on the characters instead of the typical tropes that show up in most dramas.

I was very impressed with the acting in Marriage Contract. I've seen bits and pieces of Uee's acting before, but was never extremely impressed. And while I haven't seen her as a main character in a drama before this (besides Birdie Buddy, which I never finished), I must say that she put everything into this role. I've noticed that many people have complained about her acting in the past, but looking purely at this role, I have nothing to complain about.

This is the first time I've seen Lee Seo Jin in a drama as well, but I thought he did a wonderful job. While he was a very rough and typical male lead at the beginning, I never truly hated his character. I loved seeing his growth throughout the drama. And while Uee undoubtedly played the main character, the show focused on Lee Seo Jin's character just as much. Together, Uee and Lee Seo Jin had surprisingly good chemistry. I questioned the pairing at first since we don't usually see such a large age gap between actors, but I think that somehow they really worked well together. The chemistry was very good and I really loved the progression of their relationship.

Shin Rin Ah was a very nice surprise as well. I think this is the first drama I've watched that has focused so much on a child character, but she played a crucial role. I was very impressed with Shin Rin Ah and was even more impressed to find out that she is only 6 years old (about the same age as her character in the drama). I could see her having a promising future in the industry if she chooses to pursue acting.

I really enjoyed the music and think it added to the classic feeling of the drama. The OST really set the mood and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall Marriage Contract was a very nice surprise. I went in expecting to watch a typical drama, but ended up with something that was somehow new and refreshing despite all of the cliches. I really enjoyed the ending as well. While it could have ended very differently, I don't really have any complaints about how it did end. They did a nice job of making a somewhat ambiguous ending feel final. While normally I would have maybe would have liked to see some ending for other characters in the show, I truly don't think it was needed. The focus was the main couple and I think trying to catch up with other characters would have thrown things off. Overall this was a very enjoyable show. It was solid and consistent and left me feeling more calm and happy than depressed.

Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B12PR5zlUk8

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Completed
Kachiiing
8 people found this review helpful
Apr 25, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 10
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
I have a lot to thank this drama for. Thank you for being my first completed drama of 2016. Thank you for being the first drama that I finished whilst "currently airing" since 49 Days. It's been a long five years, but you did it. You kept me trapped from 1st episode to last.

Why did you keep me trapped?

Mostly because of Uee. To be able to capture the quiet moments of suffering (from cancer) is not an easy thing to achieve. To be able to cut off your hair and take of your make-up (both which required NO dialogue) but show such complexity of brevity - wow. Secondly because of Shin Rin Ah and Lee Seo Jin in equal measure. They literally propped up Uee, with stellar acting of their own. These three's characters in particular were well-developed, and made up for the fact that some secondary cast members (Na Yeon and Jung Hoon - also that rent-a-loan-shark he hired for example) were not written very well - they just provided cheap antagonism to "prevent" the couple from getting together and were slight irritants. Luckily, their screenplay was diminished as time went on, and Jung Hoon was packed off to America. (I also have to do a quick mention to his mom - that girl power moment when she told Ji Hoon's father he was going to die alone - give this woman a medal!) So yes, a medley of multi-dimensional characters and flat characters, that made me reduce the acting/cast score by 0.5.

The story is a typical cliche contract marriage. Execution is on point. I'm always a fan of the cliche, if it's executed very well - and let me tell you - it was!!! Bear with the first few episodes, as that will be the most easiest point to drop and move on - but as you go on, the acting will cinch it for you. If it doesn't - then your heart is made of stone :P

I don't see myself rewatching this anytime soon (I'm still happy I finished this!), but definitely maybe in about 5 or 10 years, I can see myself coming back. Which is why the rewatch score is so high.

Overall, thank you show for being awesome^^

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Completed
Hayleyshy
2 people found this review helpful
Feb 17, 2018
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
Bittersweet, Mature, Heartfelt.

To begin, I am not a fan of contract relationships. However, after finishing Something about 1%, and being completely blown away, I decided to give the genre another chance. Marriage Contract was not at all what I expected! This drama was different from many kdramas in the seriousness with which it portrayed its themes without over-dramatizing as is common in melodramas. It was a thoughtful and slow-burn type of drama that was not flashy but had a ton of heart and deep emotions.

I also enjoyed the OST as it was reminiscent of an instrumental version of "My heart Will Go On" from the Titanic (which as one of my favorite OST, was highly enjoyable at least for me!) However, despite all its positive attributes such as a wonderful cast, interesting take on a common genre, etc., something about this drama felt off too me. I am not sure what it was exactly, but I think it fell down to the pacing. It somehow felt too long and yet too short. The big reveal did not come until episode 11 and then everything after felt hurried. Also, their relationship felt rushed, and then all at once but not in a love/hate sense. There was just not as much development for me to truly believe the intensity of their feelings. All in all, a good drama worth watching, but not one likely to make your top three.

Happy Drama Watching! :)

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Completed
AmastrisDratwka
5 people found this review helpful
Apr 27, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
Lee Seo Jin acted the hell out of his part and showed up with his Big Boy Actor pants and Uee did everything in her power and limited melodrama acting experiences to rise up and meet him every step of the way. That's all you really need to know about this drama, because if you read the synopsis and summary of this drama, you know exactly what's gonna happen at the time it happens without fail.
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Completed
xXabsintheXx
4 people found this review helpful
Apr 26, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
If you’re afraid to start this drama because of its heavy theme: Don’t be.

I won’t tell you how it ends but this drama is not only about the ending but about everything. It will put you through a lot and you will face an emotional rollercoaster (sad, sincere, exciting, lovely and even funny at some times), but it’s so worth the watch and in the end you’ll be glad to not have missed this out.

I haven’t had the feeling of a perfect drama for some time now. But here it comes, starting slowly and making me fall in love step by step. Am I biased now, writing this review since I’ve fallen for it completely? I wonder, but honestly I don’t think so. In my (hopefully) rational judging this drama is pure perfection. Why? Let me explain.

First of all the story. There is actually a story. One big one. And it goes its way and never wavers. Attention! Since this is the first step to conquer you.

There are wholly formed characters with minds of their own. All of them from lead to support. They have depth, are understandable and are carved quite well – whether it’s the good guys or the bad ones. You can see their growth and their change (of hearts). You can root for them – or the opposite. There are special bonds and friendship between the leads and their close friends who never stray but stay by their sides and it just feels so real you actually want to jump in and support them, too.

An already very good story can’t function properly without a really good cast. So, let me shake hands in gratitude with the people who decided on those incredibly talented actors and actresses. Without those it wouldn’t have been as great as it was. At this point I have to mention Lee Seo Jin and UEE. Until now I’ve rarely watched any dramas where the characters got me so good. UEE was brilliant in her role, portraying a young widow and single mother who has to put up with a lot in her life and somehow still manages to bring up her daughter the right way, even if she has to fight hell and coming up with the most difficult decisions because she can only weigh between bad and worse.

And then Lee Seo Jin. He was a new face to me but he convinced me right from the start. Playing the good second son (of a mistress), always trying to please his rich father… and still care for his mother who can’t let go of that affair of hers after all those years (and in vain). Taking on one unholy task to save her by all available means. His change throughout the drama, from being selfish to someone who would sacrifice everything for the other person (or overcome the hurdle of being a spoiled brat that thinks money can buy everything, and slowly bonding with a 7-year-old girl that’s afraid of losing her mother to someone else) was one of the best displayed characters I’ve seen so far. This man was able to show so many different emotions that it still leaves me in awe every time I think about it.

And most of all those two together. You can see their chemistry and even more important you can feel it.

The summary says it all – it’s sounds plain and obvious and the course of story may lead the way everyone possibly imagines – whatever that may be. But reading it and watching it are two completely different things. So, you should jump on the ride and enjoy it wholeheartedly – even if it’s just to see that special relationship between a contract husband and his (contract adopted) daughter. I’ve never seen something more adorable than those two.

All this and that really beautiful OST that emphasizes so well with all those important moments enchants you and makes you want to stay for a very long time. This drama has a really natural feel to it and stands out in the drama jungle.

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Completed
MistyMaid
3 people found this review helpful
Apr 26, 2016
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
Where to even start! This drama has caused me to write my first review on MDL and for good reason! I've seen manymanymanyMANY dramas in Dramaland (mainly Korean because I'm Korean, haha) ever since I was in Elementary school (not joking about that, haha, anybody remember Huh Joon?). I've seen a wide variety of cliches, typicals and over-used concepts, plots and themes. As I continued watching dramas, my taste for dramas matured over time and dramas that I thought were 10/10 back then are now rated like 5/10 now, haha. For example, one these most cliched and over dramatic dramas, "Prince's First Love". Marriage Contract is no exception here and uses one of THE most over-used melodrama plots ever.....sudden death, aka the Cancer Virus! (Calling it a 'virus' because that storyplot spreads easily!)

Now cancer, in itself is no joking matter, so please don't misinterpret my sarcastic scoff as a laugh to the real thing in the real world! But, in Dramaland, it's a pretty infectious concept. Especially in the melodrama department.

STORY: For the most part, it's pretty well-written and handled the cancer story pretty well too! I appreciated how the cancer was not the most PROMINENT thing that carried this story. Yes, it played a major role in Hye Soo's decision to enter into such a contract. But other than that, you don't see the illness take up too much physical screen time away, until much later towards the end where the illness starts to take its' toll on her body. Here, the illness is shown to take on a low-profile while our main characters carry the story. The soft moments really make this drama stand out, where the story highlights the little things in life that make it exciting and entertaining. In my opinion, it really emphasized how people's lives, as they live it, can be all the drama you really need in a story to make things interesting. This drama played out in a very down-to-earth way and really showed the audience the raw of the emotions, frustrations and conflicts. The only thing I disliked was the father. I was really hoping that they would flesh out his character a little bit, to explain maybe why he is the way he is, but alas, they did nothing, really, with the father. But I understand that not every story is going to be perfect, and stories do need a villain, so I guess I can let that go considering the bigger picture.

And as far as the age-gap between the two main characters, I honestly didn't even notice it until I read someone's comment on it. That really tells me that their chemistry was so flawless that I didn't even notice the age gap when watching this drama! Pleasantly surprised when I realized that they do have quite an age gap, but really made me fall in love with this drama even afterwards!

CHARACTERS/ACTORS: Here, we see flaws in the main characters with a rich/not-so-rich chaebol who is dismissive but has a heart of gold. The quiet and somewhat timid looking girl, who is just trying to get by in life. These two character profiles could've been taken on a wild ride of over-exaggeration and just too much, but our actors (and I'm sure writer) really took off with them and made them both lovable and realistically so. I really enjoyed in the fact that these characters were written with more than one dimension! Ji Hoon, our rich and bratty chaebol, showed many sides of himself that are different. When he's with his mother, or with his father, or with his friend. I've seen Lee Seo Jin only once before in 'The Lovers', and I gotta say, pretty impressed with how he took this character to new heights. He showed a variety of complexity with Han Ji Hoon, especially when he's with his father. I think any characters most complex sides show the most when they are interacting with their parents. In MC, we see Ji Hoon show pretty conflicting emotions when he's with either with his mother or his father, and the way he acts with either of them are completely different. When he's with his mother, he shows his more childish and needy side for the love he was denied from her and yet expresses his aggravation towards her, for that denied love. When he's with his father, he's all business, very professional and very logical and direct, yet still shows an air of bitterness in his interaction with him. Loved how Ji Hoon grew up a little as he became more involved with Hye Soo. Hye Soo and Ji Hoon's mother mirror a lot with another seeing as how they both loved a man that left them, both try to do what they think is best for their child, and both, in the end, are also sick. We can see how Ji Hoon acts out a lot in the beginning towards Hye Soo, perhaps because he sees so much of his mother in her. But we see that love mature as does Ji Hoon's attitude towards his mother as well as

Uee, is a actress I've kept an eye on for a little while now since I watched her drama Ho Goo's Love. It wasn't the best written drama ever, but was mildly entertaining. I skipped High Society because I could just tell, it was not going to be good. But, seeing her act in Ho Goo's Love, I saw real potential. Any actor is going to start off rough as they gain more experience in grasping their characters and showing a complexity of expression and body language, so I don't blame some people saying that her acting was bad in the past. I'm sure any one of us would start off pretty bad ourselves in the beginning of an acting career. But in MC, her hard work has really paid off! I've seen such growth in her acting since Ho Goo's and that ugly crying scene is still leaving me with heart-wrenching feels! I feel that crying scenes shouldn't be pretty if they are coming from somewhere genuine, and if it is pretty, than the director/actor/actress is more concerned with how they look rather than performance. Uee really grasped her character well, and delivered an amazing performance as a single mother, struggling to raise her child in this harsh world. Uee performed Hye Soo with a silent strength of will. Most strong female characters I've seen in dramas, yell pretty loudly to project their strength, and that's not always a bad thing, but I've seen a lot of them do that, haha! Hye Soo is a refreshing take on a "strong female lead" whose strength is measured in her restraint and not her struggles. I really appreciate that Uee conveyed Hye Soo as a very level-headed and calm character despite facing so much struggle.Great job Uee!

A big round of applause to the child actress! It's pretty mind-blowing how old this girl is, and yet able to deliver a realistically believable performance in MC. There were no hints of line-reading, sounding like a robot, or flat-toned acting here. Which still blows my mind! You can tell that Shin Rin-Ah and Uee really bonded while acting and it shows through in their performance together, you really wouldn't believe that they aren't mother and daughter in real life.

This part of the review is sooooooooo long because the drama did so incredibly well because of our actors/actress performance here. Gotta give a shout out to the mother, Lee Hwi Hyang. I've seen her is several dramas, and started calling her the "Dragon Lady" when I first saw her in "Stairway to Heaven" because she often played the not-so-nice step-mother or mother-in-law, and also, she has a fierce look about her too. But really liked that she didn't play one in this drama though. We saw how she can be a very warm, kind and caring mother with an affectionate expression. Kudos to the whole cast as well!

MUSIC: Not really one to pick on the music of a drama, but I enjoyed the selections that they chose to compliments the ups-and-downs of the moments. Other than that no complaints. Like I said, not the kind of person who will pick on the music too much, unless it really doesn't suit the drama, or it did a really good job of complimenting it. Such as Kill Me, Heal Me, which I thought was an edgy decision to make it the dramatic theme song. Haha!

OTHER POINTS: Something I really wanted to point out, that I don't think a lot of people noticed is that the director made a very subtle, yet prominent decision to dress Hye Soo in very frumpy looking clothes and nothing too pretty either. If you noticed the way Hye Soo dresses, outside of work, she dresses in very comfortable and loose clothes because she's a mother. Mothers are usually too busy taking care of their child or paying the bills to be concerned with the way they look, and I think this makes the feelings Ji Hoon has towards Hye Soo all that more genuine and real, because he fell in love with her heart and her inner beauty, not for her outfits or pretty face (although, I'm pretty sure that didn't hurt either, haha!).

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this drama! It's rare these days for me to find a drama that I look forward to watching every week and get pretty sad when it ends, but also pretty happy that I saw it. I took away one point because of the lack of a need of Na-Yoon as a character and really how unrealistic the father turned out to be in the drama as a whole and how they never delved deeper into his character either, but other than those two factors, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this and would put this as a re-watch drama and do RECOMMEND this drama to anyone considering watching it!

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