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Kim Hee Ae will portray a woman who is having an affair with a married man. She is Lee Hwa Young, a woman who doesn't feel guilty even after stealing her friend's husband Add Synopsis In Portuguese
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That being said this is one of the best dramas i've ever watched because of the perfect, symbolic and realistic characters as well as the quite fast paced and pragmatic plot. The premise is simple and is set around a woman who is in love with a married men and does everything in her power to get him. The drama focuses more on the 2 main female characters, the wife and the mistress, while the husband takes the 2nd wheel of this ill-fated love triangle.
Interestingly, it is a lot different than other similar themed adultery kdramas. Usually we get a sad backstory that tries to excuse and partly maybe even justify the actions of the adulterer. Here the story is a lot more brutal, there is no melodramatic backstory to drive any of the character, thus the drama is completely character-driven; while it does a splendid job delving into the mind of each and everyone of them.
What the drama wants to do is not glorify cheating or excuse the adulterers or even punish them or push viewers into a forgiving mentality towards them. On the contrary, i would stay, it stays neutral to all of that, it depends on the viewer's viewpoint whether to understand, hate, like or dislike the characters, and it depicts solely the repercussions of infidelity in the most cruel way possible.
Starting from the couple itself, how years and years of (superficial -obviously) happiness fall apart, questions, doubts about what went wrong, efforts to save something that has already died, screaming, violence, paranoia is just the beginning. Having kids in this situation will only worsen the process making it even more heartbreaking. Children hating their parents, accusing themselves for their broken family, not knowing how to react or deal with it. Continuing to the extented family that are just ready to jump in, judge and make everything worse (whether they want to help or not). What's more, it widens its spectrum to social everyday life and work place, showing that people are ready to judge hate and ridicule the situation and everyone involved.
Furthermore, we get a very good insight on what adultery means in the korean society. The drama is 10 years old, so i'm guessing (and hoping) there's a sea change in this department but i liked how the writer sneakily promoted the idea of equity when it comes to adultery. If, in a society in which cheating men are considered normal, then so should women. Hate one-hate both or accept both. But also loved how it showed that no matter how strong the bond between the mistress and the husband is, there will always be situations that will prove that the marital bond is just too strong to be broken that easily thus "love is not enough" the feeling that kept coming back throughout the drama.
Money of course wouldn't be possible to not have a prominent role in such a gritty drama. It shocked me how everything always revolved and apparently always will revolve around money. "Stay with him and accept his cheating and make him your personal atm machine for revenge", "If you stay with her, i'll disown you and you won't get any of the inheritance", "Quick get pregnant so you can demand some of the inheritance". Life is supposed to be about happiness, an affair happens because something in a marriage isn't working, bringing money to the topic just made the whole thing even more disgusting but that much more real too.
The drama is entirely character driven, hence it will be unappealing for most viewers. There is no backstory no shocking revealings nothing, just people meddling with adultery and the implications. The drama was ultimately a never ending fight between the characters -which woman will win- and a self-hating game of each character alone.
At this point i'd like to talk about the character since they were so significant. Each character represented something, fought for it until the end or let it consumed and eat him alive to his destruction. In the very end everything does happen in vain something that makes everything even more tragic and sad.
Hwa Young was the mistress, and she represented Greed. A sad person that was used by her family and decided that she'll do whatever it takes to be happy thinking nobody but herself for the first time in her life. However, for that one person she'd choose, she'll give her all, and she had nothing but her ego. She shreded that ego like it was nothing, she increasingly settled thinking this is what she wants and that she'll eventually be happy, but happiness comes from within. A greedy person who wanted someone else, someone empty, to give her everything and in return she'll give all of herself too. But it was not that simple. I appreciated her persisting personality, i appreciated her character up to a certain point, but everything in her life comes with a price. She was ready to change for 1 person, but she picked poorly, now she's gotta live with that. What she needed wasn't someone else to love her so she'll feel complete but she needed to love herself first in order to be complete.
Joon Pyo was the husband, and he represented Selfishness. A tad similar with the mistress at first glance but no. They were probably absolute opposites by the end. A person who loved deeply, but -plot twist- loved himself more than anything else, and he barely even realised it ever. 24 episodes and he couldn't make a simple choice, he many times felt like a tennis ball just being thrown here and there with no mind and will of its own. A complacent person, wanting it all till the end. But can you really hate and judge a person who is just too empty to even realise what is going on around him? Selfish people are usually selfish because they are empty.
Ji-Soo was a bit more difficult being the wife. One would expect she would be the easiest person to like and root for. Yet it took me several episodes to even bear her face. She represented those people-pleasers. Growing up as a cater for others, she barely even created a personality of her own. Being the pushover of her sister she never shaped a whole identity and all that came to bite her in the worst way possible. Such people need the personal time to get to know themselves first and cater for themselves before going on to form relationships.
All the characters were increadibly well-thought-out and well-written. I have to admit that i severely disliked them in the first half when there are barely any logical decisions made. I loved how there are shy, small steps made by all of them in terms of character development in the 2nd half, goes to show what dramatic situations do to all of us. And i was thoroughly shocked by how close i felt to all of them by the end. I wanted this to be over since episode 4, and by episode 24 i couldn't let them go.
In the very end i wouldn't call what happened "character development", real people don't change, they adjust. This is what happened here, the characters tried to adjust and i couldn't help but appreciate their authenticity and the marvelous writing. In the very end, it was nothing but themselves that kept them from happiness, the happiness they had been chasing since moment 1.
Lastly i'd like to mention the amazing deep messages we got about decisions and consequenses of our actions in this drama. In a very honest and rough way, situations like marriage decision, significant other choice, having kids, forgiving your spouce, your kid, your parent, life choices in general and a whole lot more were targeted and talked in a subtle but meaningful way.
The drama was full of symbols; beautiful but so so so difficult to watch.
The acting was luscious and spectacular by more or less the full cast. However, the real memorable acting here was by Kim Hee Ae who gave the performance of her life in every way. She was memorable, she conveyed the feelings and concerns of such a troubled, totally hateful character in the best way possible. I hated, i disapproved, i understood, i felt sorry, i rooted, i cheered, i felt sad, i cried. In episode 4 i would have never thought she would have made such a turn on me. Kim Hee Ae studied this character and made it hers.
Kim Sang Joon was brilliant too, i especially enjoyed his angry scenes, he was always rather quiet and remorseful, and his puppy eyes were on spot. Yet, he conveyed the mindset of his twisted character perfectly, acting like a victim when he was the sinner and really believing it. A wonderful ill-hated chemistry with Kim Hee Ae that basically made this drama work.
Bae Jong Ok was amazing as a person-pleaser, i have to admit during some conversations it felt like she was just uttering lives, i especially liked her paranoia scenes, she was shivering. I think there could have been better choices for this role, but she was not bad in any case.
I have to mention especially Ha Yoo Mi from the supporting cast, because she was flawless in her incredibly hateful and crazy sister role, hopefully i will never see her again lol.
Would i ever recommend this to anyone? No. Is this one of the best dramas i've ever watched? Yes. Confused much? XD
Problem here is, there is a very small amount of viewers that would enjoy this. Adultery is my favourite kdrama concept and out of all the dramas i've watched this was the most difficult one. There is no real comedy, there is no likeable or relateable character, you need to work hard to understand them. The episodes are big and in the very end you'll end up depressed plus this is a 10 year old drama. If you like the concept of adultery, you are mature enough to watch without judging too much (and it will be hard in this one) and you like serious, depressing dramas, give this a chance. I want to rewatch this in 10 or 20 years time, because i can feel there are a ton of things that i missed because of my age mostly and because i lack the expreriences this drama dealed with, but it won't anytime soon, this was difficult to get through just once.
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