Yoon Jin Ah is a woman in her mid-30s who doesn’t know yet what it’s like to date a man. She’s been dumped by a man many times because of her clumsy, reckless, and foolish behavior. And again, a man she wanted to marry dumps her for the worst reason ever: that she’s like bland, tasteless devil's-tongue jelly, which means she’s not attractive at all as a woman.
Just then, Joon Hee appears before her with a broad smile on his face. He’s as refreshing as a soft drink. Joon Hee is Jin Ah’s childhood best friend’s younger brother, who used to live next door. Jin Ah has always remembered him as a little kid, but one day, he comes back as a really masculine man. When she is surprised by his change, her gut feeling tells her that she would truly fall in love this time.
Cast & Credits
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once”.
For me, this sums up most of this drama. It is watching two people slowly and then passionately fall in love with one another. The doubting if the other feels the same, the awkwardness of new love, the heart fluttering moments, and everything in between. The realism, chemistry, and gradual buildup of the relationship in the story was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was reminiscent of the director, Ahn Pan Seok’s, previous work Secret Love Affair. Except this is less about two lost souls finding one another and more of a story of realizing the right person was someone you knew all along. Brilliant in its subtleties, this was a true example of a slow-paced romantic melodrama.
However, despite this drama’s strong beginnings, the middle could best be described as lukewarm. Muddled with repetitive plot scenarios that take far too long to resolve, around episode 9 this drama started to feel almost like a chore to watch. The chemistry was still there but the spark was missing, making what could have been my favorite romance of all time, one that I found myself barely making it to its conclusion. But despite its faults, this drama still deserves a solid 8, because it’s first 6 to7 episodes literally had ME feeling butterflies. I even wanted to tell random passersbys to watch this drama if they want to FEEEEEL what it is like for two people to fall in love. I did not think it was possible for me to feel so strongly about a drama, and for this it deserves the 8.
Overall, I recommend it, but mostly the first nine episodes. After that, you could probably skip to the finale and be just as satisfied.
End of review, thanks for reading.
Indeed, I could end my review here, since the above is basically all the drama left me with. But to the precious 18 hours – or something – I’ve dedicated to this show, I owe at least a more in-depth epitaph.
"Something in the rain" would have worked wonderfully as a 2 hour movie: the plot can be easily condensed in so short a time, we would have enjoyed a lovely on-screen chemistry and there would have been still room for the artsy cinematography the drama likes so much to sport. But, alas, the writer and director opted for a long narration, taking one conflict and a half and building this repetitive and aggravating slice of “real” life around it. What in the beginning seemed like beautiful aesthetics meant to create an atmosphere and enhance the plot, turned soon enough to be a trick to hide the lack of it. Because of that, the cinematography became, in my eyes, one of the drama flaws.
Let me make this clear: I have absolutely nothing against a slow pace that helps the viewer enter the world of the characters. I love small details: a meaningful glance, a trembling hand, a quiet dialogue that says it all, but here scenes are simply overstretched, even the most mundane, irrelevant ones. I have actually timed a scene: a character gets out of a taxi and walks unobserved on the road for as much as 65 seconds (try to count in your head and you’ll realize it’s an eternity). The camera stays still and the character walks. No close-up shot of the face expression, no weird or telling gate, no encounter to be remembered later on, just a walk that bears no significance whatsoever in the plot, except perhaps that it teaches us how people walk in Korea. I could go on describing scenes like this one, there are a handful. When a 2 whole minutes hug came, I truly became restless. And bored.
All the while, most characters are extremely bi-dimentional. No explanation, flashback or insight is given to justify their motivations. They are trapped in this present bubble and immortalized with one or two character traits only. We are left to speculate about their past, future and, at times, present. This show isn’t centered around a meaty plot, but does not focus on characterization either. There’s only so much a believable on-screen chemistry and artsy aesthetics can do to keep my interest alive.
Which brings me to the love story itself. The only positive trait of this romance is it’s realism, at least in the beginning. However, because these two jump from meeting on the road to being madly in love, I was deprived of my favourite part of romance, that is the falling in love process. Worse, episode after episode I started feeling like a voyeur, peeping through the keyhole to spy on an ordinary albeit pretty married couple in its daily routine. Since voyeurism isn’t my favourite hobby, I lost interest very soon in the nth walk with or without umbrella or yet another scene with these two frolicking around with the ever-present music that should tell a story but does not. They have no heart-to-heart chat, they don’t talk about their dreams, their plans, their future together, they hide more than they tell. Why these two people who have very little in common should love each other is not for us to know. Ah, yes! They are both gorgeous, that must be it.
The tension is all built around the opposition of a mother who’s in serious need of good therapy in whatever culture we set this story. Don’t get me started on the ex boyfriend arc and the harassment on the working place: the first goes nowhere and the second takes an eternity to go… where did it go?
Not yet happy, these badly outlined characters are for the most part disagreeable. If I have to watch a slice of life drama, I want to become attached to these people, but here I grew increasingly indifferent to all of them, otp included. The heroine is possibly the one who frustrated me the most and no amount of sociological analysis on the customs of South Korea will ever make me love a grown up woman who can’t stand up for her rights and for the people she supposedly loves. The fact that the author decided to portray a female lead who never learns from her own mistakes put a huge distance between me and her and makes the ending, good or bad, senseless. If it was my fault to expect something different, than I’ll take the blame, but at least I have learned something and will try to be a wiser viewer in the future (i.e., drop the hot potato before it scorches).
Finally, the music! Two good songs repeated ad nauseam and another old-fashioned two that made seaweeds grow in my ears. That’s the ost – an inappropriate definition anyway, since ost stands for “Original Sound Track”, that is, songs or music created on purpose for the show. I doubt Carla Bruni (?), Bruce Willis (??) or even talented Rachael Yamagata met to create this meager ensemble.
It’s extremely ironic and sad that the episode I enjoyed the most is the discussed last one. If only everything had taken place much earlier on, I’d have liked this drama. Unfortunately, as it stands it makes little sense and the prospect of subjecting myself to a second watch is unthinkable.
My dear 18 hours, RIP.