A tomboy is mistaken for a young man, but maintains the deception for the sake of employment. The situation is complicated when her male boss begins to develop feelings for this "boy".
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On my part, I can say Coffee Prince made me reconcile with Korean dramas. If I have to tell the whole, bitter truth, for some time I thought Korean could only produce melodramas, with round eyes girls pouting and arrogant dudes raising perfectly trimmed eyebrows. Until I landed on this drama.
Everything about it felt so real, by the middle I wasn't a simple viewer anymore: I was part of that group of friends. The kind of alchemy they created on screen is rarely found in dramas, because in most cases one is reminded that these people are acting. But Coffee Prince feels like they are having fun together. It reminded me of a dinner with my friends, or camping out with them.
There's a delicious special at the end of the drama, which shows some behind the scene bloopers and interviews. And it's amazing, because either the special looks like integral part of the drama, or the whole drama is like a behind the scene: the interaction between the actors stays the same. Even the make up and clothes are everyday things, not a catwalk display.
And I absolutely loved the way the issue homosexuality was treated. I loved that Han Gyul was tormented by the thought of being gay, but that he was even more so in finding out that she was a woman. Because love, betrayal and trust are universal feelings and have no connection whatsoever with gender.
The music deserves a mention too. Coffee Prince has an outstanding OST, very unusual and difficult to put into a precise musical category. Some pieces have a jazz undertone which I personally loved.
I've read some people complaining about the pace of this drama, saying nothing major happens. But a work of art, be it a movie, a drama, a novel or a cartoon isn't made only of events. It's made of style too, of images, silences, scenery, words. Thousands of love stories have been written and shown in dramas. What makes this one a delightful watch, is the ability of actors and direction to make us connect and "live" this sweet love story with the characters.
Therefore, I'm ready to recommend this show to everyone.
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Let's face it, the reality of a girl passing herself as a man and almost everyone around her believing it is a bit farfetched. That is the basis for this drama. All of the orbiting comedy, drama, angst and love circles around this unlikely scenario. How this drama pulls it off and makes it possible for you to suspend disbelief is that every other situation in this drama is grounded in an everyday reality.
Eun Chan is the eldest daughter of a family with no father. She has to take care of her mother and younger school age sister. She is a tomboy and added to that, she has no real money to further her education which would have made it possible for her to seek better employment. She works constantly. From sun up until late into the night she goes and goes. Delivering milk, teaching kids Tae Kwando, delivering food, sewing dolls eyes, shelling chestnuts and on and on. She doesn't have the luxury of dressing up, being a pretty girl who can buy clothes, shoes and make up. This back story for Eun Chan grounds that unbelievable idea of people thinking she is a boy in a reality the audience can get behind.
From that starting point Coffee Prince continues its excellent storytelling. Eun Chan isn't looking for love, she is only trying to survive. When she meets Choi Han Gyul her whole world begins to tilt on its axis. Because the writer and actors do such a wonderful job with their characters, it sucked me right in from start to finish. Coffee Prince isn't about high angst and melo. Its dramatic tension is about the budding of a deep love, the fear of telling the truth, the question of whether love knows gender and mostly, forgiveness. This drama worked for me because somehow the director, writer and actors made me feel like a comfortable spectator in every scene, witnessing the story unfolding.
I cannot emphasize enough how well done and addicting this story is all the way through. The side characters of this drama were just as delightful as the leads and that doesn't happen often. Watch out that you don't fall in love with Lee Sun Gyun as Choi Han Seong! This show had a 1 episode extension which prolonged the end just a little bit but didn't drag it down. (17 Episodes total) Thank goodness this drama seemed very well plotted out all along the way.
Gong Yoo and Yoo Eun Hye are wonderful and have amazing chemistry. And not just them...It is a rare thing when any drama or movie comes along and somehow the whole cast seems magically fit for one another. Whether it be lovers, family or friends...this drama truly has that quality.
The music in Coffee Prince is eclectic and fun. The set designs are lovely...even Gae Sik Ahjussi's disgusting apartment! Some of these sets have become tourist spots in Korea you can still visit today.
If you haven't ridden the fun, funny, touching and magical ride that is Coffee Prince, please jump on board. It's worth every minute...I promise. Even after my 5th watch I still find things I adore about this show.
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