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The King in Love

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  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 1,170 users)
  • Ranked: #711
  • Popularity: #491
  • Members: 4,846
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manicmuse
15 people found this review helpful
Sep 22, 2017
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
My feelings about this drama are very complicated. I was entertained, but frustrated. I was interested enough to watch, but I also felt like dropping it several times. Don't let the simple title fool you. This is a typical love story in some ways, and very unique in other ways. Now that it's over, I think I appreciate the whole story more, but some frustration still lingers.

My major frustration is with the three leads. I loved them as a trio. Those moments were my favorite in the show for sure, and their friendship was also the source of many of the emotions I felt while watching. Still, from the very beginning the show is set up as a love triangle, and that's the part where I think this drama falls short. I'll give it credit for not being cliché, but it still didn't really work for me.

The story centers around Im Shi Wan as Wang Won. It's Won's story, so it makes sense that he was the character I liked the most. I thought Shi Wan did a great job in all aspects. He was funny, he was clever, he was stubborn, he was impulsive... and I enjoyed watching his character navigate all of the palace drama without being passive. I think he did an awesome job.

Hong Jong Hyun plays Wang Rin, his partner in bromance. Rin is the straight man, to Won's uninhibited personality, and their dynamic is awesome. I loved that we get to see the start of their friendship too. The show really explores the deepness of their friendship in a way that got me in the feels from the very beginning. It gets very complex, but their love throughout it all is the strongest story in the drama.

Then lastly there is Im Yoon Ah as Eun San. I loved her character in some ways, but she was also the reason for most of my frustration. When she was being brave, impetuous, and independent, I loved her, and her camaraderie with the guys. However, when the obligatory love triangle comes into play, she spends far too much time looking like a deer in headlights. I won't speak too much about specifics, because which guy you root for is mostly about preference, but it really bothers me that by the end all the romance was still questionable. I thought maybe it was the writing, but I honestly think it's that she had trouble pulling off the romantic parts of the story. I've seen better actresses, Ha Ji Won for example, pull complicated love stories off, but I think where Yoona shined in action, comedy, and even some emotional scenes, she left much to be desired in the romance department. Cute moments with Won worked, because their banter was funny, but anything involving serious romance fell flat. I don't think she was bad, but I do think the role was a little out of her league in that respect.

The rest of the cast was good. I loved Jang Young Nam and Oh Min Suk the most out of the supporting cast (both so good at being bad), but there were a lot of great performances. A few characters made no sense to me, but that wasn't the actor's fault, just weird writing. There are a lot of duplicitous characters to keep the story interesting. If you like ancient Joseon political drama, this story definitely has a lot of that to enjoy. If you're not a fan, you will probably get bored about halfway through.

To be clear, this show is 40 episodes, but the episodes are 30 minutes, so really it's like watching a standard 20 episode drama. I thought the show started strong, and ended strong, but somewhere in the middle I began to stop caring. Still, for some reason I just couldn't quit watching. I think that's because of curiosity, and probably because I became attached to the characters, even when the shows seemed to drag. In those times it helped that the episodes were shorter than usual.

Would I watch this again? I'm torn. If I did I would probably be tempted to skip too many scenes. There were a lot of great moments, and like the characters reminiscing, I would probably enjoy revisiting those moments again. Maybe it will feel different watching while knowing how it will all play out, but I think my main frustrations would remain.

Overall, this is a good drama for sageuk fans who want a different kind of story. It is more bittersweet than completely tragic, and there are comedic moments too to add some balance. I think it's far from perfect, and gets messy in the middle, but it all ties together for a touching ending that made me boohoo cry, and smile through my tears. I never heard of the novel before watching, so I am curious what fans of the book thought. It's not the best or worst sageuk around, but if you're in the mood for something a little less typical, this may be exactly the kind of drama you are looking for.

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marylin511
6 people found this review helpful
Sep 29, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
It's over, and the feels are still here.. That's what my ranks are based on!
Well , this drama was the most I was waiting for this year - except of Criminal Minds of course ( because of LJG), and I can say I liked it from the first episode.. The acting was a little raw then, but the cinematography, the mood and the music made it for me! I wasn't really familiar with the actors before ( except Jong Hyun from ML), and I want to say  three of them really impressed me!
Im  Siwan - it was really my first time seeing him, and he was great, from the first moment till the last! I wasn't always agree with Won's character, but he gained my love and respect in the end!
Yoona - I've seen her in couple of episodes of Love Rain, and I've heard some bad rewies about her, but I loved her and her character so much in this drama! There's always something annoying for me in the female lead in all dramas, but I haven't felt it here! She was always adorable, cheerful and brave through all the story! And she could convince me when she started to love the one she loved..
Jong Hyun - If the 4th prince wasn't played by Lee  Joon Gi in  Scarlet Heart, I'd definitly have crush on this sexy villian :) I hated him there, but sometimes I also felt bad for him - that means he could deliver his character! In King in Love he was the total opposite of Wang Yo.. Maybe he was a little frozen at start, but slowly he opened up, and brought one of my favorite characters ever! Yes, I was team Rin, and I'm proud of it :)
There were very different opinions about drama's love line - some loved it, some hated it at the same line, and I want to say - that's what one of the best parts of this drama, but it's also what lowed it's rating (I think), because most people like predictable....  
First of all- imho - there's no first or second lead in this drama - the three of them are main leads -and they totally deserved to be called it! Because this story is about  friendship - deep and genuine, between three young people! And  the actors did amazing job, showing how much these three deeply loved each other! Sometimes love story came in the middle of their frienship (of course!), but none of them didn't want to hurt another, and that what made this story such painful for them! But at the end they have learned how to understand and sacrifice for each other!  The open ending was satisfing and not at the same time for both teams, but it left a little for imagination of all of us! Thank you, writers for making this story so unique!
There were a lot of scenes that I laughed and enjoyed with the characters, and closer to the end a lot that made me cry! It was lighthearted and bittersweet at the same time! One of my favorite scenes were of course Rin and San goodbye scene and the scene on the cliff... Both broke my heart! Also the last friends'  jorney together - we can see how three of them have changed  and grown up there..
I also want to compliment cinematography and the music - both were spectacular ( total joy for video maker :), and I wish there was this cinematography and music in Scarlet Heart - but it still the most perfect drama for me!! :)
I know, I will rewatch it! Maybe not from the first episodes, but I totally will!
I think that's it.. I guess  I made it clear that I totally loved this drama, and would recommend it to everyone.. But I know, not everyone would love it...:)

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Kathleen
3 people found this review helpful
Sep 23, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.5
"This is the story of how I loved you more than myself."

I love how the friendship of the trio has been portrayed. This drama will make you feel a rollercoaster of emotions.

Kudos to the actors. They were great. The cinematography and the ost is also beautiful.

I love the character development of the three leads. Yes it's cliche, but you'll have to see for yourself who San ends up with :) The ending is also up to audience interpretation.
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llama
1 people found this review helpful
Nov 16, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
It's been a while since I've finished this drama so I initially (and foolishly) believed that I wouldn't have a problem with reviewing this drama. But boy was I wrong on some many levels. Immediately, all of the emotions I've kept tucked away somewhere came rushing out.

This storyline is so unlike any other and that's the main reason why I loved it so much. I'm a true sucker for historical dramas and although I do enjoy a happy ending, I find myself appreciating a drama more when it doesn't always give me what I want. Life happens, you know?

With idol turned actors, I usually have my opinions about them. There are only a few that I have positive opinions about and Im Shi Wan is one of those people. He did such an amazing job delivering those raw emotions, it gave me chills.

And no words can describe how much I was affected by their soundtracks. Even after finishing the drama, I wasn't ready to let go. I had to listen to their OST's every second of every day for almost an entire month because I was clearly possessed. But no matter how much it hurt whenever I listened to it, it didn't hurt as much as when the final episode aired.

Overall, I think this drama did a sensational job at making me feel some type of way. This has got to be one of the best dramas I've ever had the pleasures of watching. I would highly recommend this to anyone who's looking for a good romance. But keep a box of tissues next to you, just in case. This drama is too good not to come back for. There is no doubt in my mind that I won't be returning for a second run.

With that said,
Llama out.

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xXabsintheXx
1 people found this review helpful
Nov 4, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 7.5
"I wish I had never known this flower. I wish I had never seen how beautiful it was, so I would not fall in love with it."

I was very hesitant about this drama in the beginning. The colors were so bright, the title cheesy. I was afraid I would suffer through a soupy and exaggerated melodrama with lots of shortsighted intrigues and superficial characters (what I experienced with My Sassy Girl). The only thing that pushed me into this was Im Shi Wan's dashing historical look in the promotionals. And even though I was still unsure while watching the first episode... when a young man's voice began to tell the story of a frightened little boy, born into a world where he had to face fears and prejudices, hopeful expectations flared up.

It is hard to put my feelings for this show into words. If I were to describe what kind of drama this is, I would say that it depicts the story of the Crown Prince and his struggle to become a man worthy to reign over his country. Im Shi Wan is an incredible actor. I have seen many historical dramas, but his interpretation of a Crown Prince and his performance were a pleasure to watch and a gem among so many others. I was absorbed in his acting, his happiness, fears and his inner and outer battles. Constantly between trying to protect the ones close to him whilst falling short on accomplishing his own desires and dreams over and over again... To see him never giving up and always trying to get the best out of every situation, he became the only character I deeply cared about. And I had the urge to give him a hug more than once. Behind that imposing royal demeanor he upheld at all times, only tiny facial expressions revealed the stinging pain he was feeling inside during constant encounters that tried to marginalize him and drive him to his knees. I was overwhelmed by his endurance and felt his hurt every time he did.
 
The rest of the cast did a relatively good job as well, even though most of them never reached Im Shi Wan's level. But every single one had at least one thread I could connect to. The script gave them more than just one layer and when it mattered I was able to either hate or like the king, the queen, the second male and female leads or the side characters. Maybe the only one I was never too fond of till the end was the big bad wolf. But half the fault lies within the writers who tried to give him more depth during the last episodes but instead went a little over the top.

I enjoyed the love triangle, which I usually don't do in dramas. I think what I liked the most about it was that the female lead was never solely responsible for the two male leads' actions. It just either pushed or slowed down the inevitable development all of them had to confront at some point anyway. And even though bromance was endearing, it was always meant to meet a poignant fate, with or without the additional love interest.

While the first half of the drama started slow, lighthearted and sometimes even funny, it built up its climax with subtle steps, and it  never failed  to gradually increase the ultimate danger. It led its characters to life-changing decisions while it forced them to grow up too fast while facing the consequences of their actions. Somewhere during the second half I was worried the writers might chicken out of the path they created for their characters. But they did not - for the most part. The final aftermath might have felt a little less sever than what it could have  been, but it was still satisfying. I have no idea how others felt about the ending, but I really liked it. Somewhere along the way I realized that it would be one of the most reasonable finishes and my hunch eventually proved to be true.

The King Loves is definitely one of the better sageuks out there, so don't hesitate to start this. It is a pleasant, moving but also tear-jerking drama that will stay in your memory for a very long time.

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shivali
2 people found this review helpful
Oct 7, 2017
Overall 6.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.5
King's love in the start went flawless and i enjoyed it to the core, from the cast to the soundtrack and everything. Im Siwan doesn't disappoint at all in the role of a young crown prince, having a deranged father and an overprotective mother. Due to the strained relationship b/w the father and son, he finds love and haven in the company of his one and only childhood friend Wang Rin. Their friendship was their armour which kept them together in all odds of life.
Lady eun San on the other hand seems bold and strong woman who enters their lives and that's when the trio is built.
The first half of the drama was interesting as we see how each character evolved from weaker to a stronger personality. What annoyed me is that after the first half of the drama ended, there was so much chaos in the plot that it was unclear which track the drama is following. The plot was completely twisted and the emotions of the characters were so unclear that even though the drama ended, that unsatisfying feeling still lingers. I almost felt like dropping it because even though it wasnt a cliché like other dramas yet it creates so much uncertainty and frustration among us, the viewers that we couldn't decide if we should continue watching it or not.
Hong Jung hyun was unexpectedly good and fits in his role. His devotion for the crown prince as a friend was the only thing that made me watch it further. I hated his character in scarlet hearts ryeo so much that I didn't know that his character in this saguek will completely wash away his character from the previous drama. More than the love b/w any of the leads I ship WonRin more and maybe that was one of the reason I continued watching it.
The most disappointing character of the drama was yoona who seems so fickle at times that her character completely lost the track and it was hard to figure out what she wants. All her hollow bravery and smartness faded after a few episodes when she transformed from a bold character to a damsel in distress with those teary eyes in almost every episode.
Also the writers seems to be a bit averted and confused  with the plot. They first make the villain justify the cause behind all his actions but later makes him a completely aberrant being who just seems to serve the powerful and wants to be a king maker. Song In's character seems to be portrayed as someone who cares for the common people and thus want to remove the powerful and ruthless Yuan rule but after a series of events he turns out to be a greedy mad man who only wants power. The only thing that I might miss about this drama is the bonding b/w the leads and the soundtrack.

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