Doona! (2023) poster
7.8
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 21,032 users
# of Watchers: 41,267
Reviews: 132 users
Ranked #3342
Popularity #284
Watchers 21,032

Doo Na, a member of the girl group Dream Sweet, suddenly left the group one day and ends up living in the same share house as Won Jun, a college student. Doo Na mistakes him for being her sasaeng fan, and Won Jun does not know who she is. They become curious about each other. (Source: Korean = Netflix Korea || Translation = MyDramaList) ~~ Adapted from the webtoon "The Girl Downstairs" (이두나!) by Min Song Ah (민송아). Edit Translation

  • English
  • 한국어
  • Arabic
  • Українська
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 9
  • Aired: Oct 20, 2023
  • Aired On: Friday
  • Original Network: Netflix
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 21,032 users)
  • Ranked: #3342
  • Popularity: #284
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Where to Watch Doona!

Netflix
Subscription (sub)

Cast & Credits

Reviews

Completed
chazerb
292 people found this review helpful
Oct 20, 2023
9 of 9 episodes seen
Completed 15
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
This review may contain spoilers

Artistically stunning with hidden meanings :)

I don’t write many reviews. I’ve only ever written one before and it was for The Glory. But this stunning drama deserves one, especially as I am upset at some of the comments and reviews made so far.

I am in England, and currently we are having a pretty intense storm so I am home and had free reign over the tv. I had saw this on my Netflix recommendations, so decided given its nine episodes that this would be my treat for the day (alongside wine and chocolate obviously ;)

This drama is stunning. Visually, directionally and its gorgeous writing. The main characters are endearing and free spirited. I resonated to Doona through mental struggles and her cold approach to relationships.

Key to the series here is that Doona is outwardly cold, but inwards she is warm hearted and yearns for love and approval. This needs to be remembered as you go through the series, every decision she makes you need to remember that inwardly she feels so much profound pain. She also loves Wonjun more than anything in the world. But she needs approval, and her career is the only thing that can satiate that need.

Your twenties is a period of change and growth. Ebbs and flows are normal - reviews upset about the ending are not looking deep enough.

Here’s something you may not of noticed. In the last few episodes - After the opening credits, at the beginning. There is a clip, which is very interesting in response to the ‘open’ ending. In the last episode, the clip is Doona and Wonjun meeting in a field of flowers. *look* at the outfits! Wonjun is wearing the suit and coat that he is wearing in the last scenes. When he is smiling at cake, glances at jewellery. Before walking in the hotel, and Doona turns round. Clearly she calls for him, or they are already in some kind of situationship.

The opening credit scene shows after this ‘open’ ending, they do meet and I believe the intention is to be together and make it work.

Because all these years later they are ready for eachother. They have the approval they needed from the world all those years ago. Now they are ready for it from eachother. Early on in the series, Doona says that her personal life and career would calm down after a few years. In 2027, that has happened and she can love freely the person she loves.

Gorgeous hidden meanings and direction. The director is a genius, look at CLOY. People shouldn’t write this drama off, be upset if you were initially- go back and re watch looking at the depth and meaning of words.

It’s beautiful and has enriched me for the better.

I hope it enriches you as well.

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Completed
lex
77 people found this review helpful
Oct 26, 2023
9 of 9 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

A cliche love story about your “not so typical” girl next door & the ordinary boy she falls for.

***DISCLAIMER: This is just my opinion, we don’t have to agree and I’m not here to argue with anyone. This review is kind of long so please bare with me.***

A/N: I went into this drama blind without reading the webtoon or having any preconceived ideas.

Tropes: girl next door, grumpy/sunshine, friends to lovers.

General Overview:

I kind of liked this drama because it is really nostalgic and takes you back. The cinematography is beautiful and it seems like it was meant to be a documentary or memoir of sorts recounting Doona and Won Jun’s experiences and how they crossed paths and essentially changed the trajectory of each others lives forever.

An ordinary guy and a superstar girl – that’s a cliche if I’ve ever seen one. I found it kind of tricky getting into this drama because the first 2 episodes are slow and you’re not really sure what exactly is going on because theres not much context but as you keep on watching and bridge the gap between episodes 2 & 3 and really delve into episode 4 & 5 things start heating up and becoming more interesting. I like the relationship between Doona and Won Jun because it shows us what a new adult / young love is and how at times it can be messy especially when there’s a lot of miscommunication thrown into the mix.

Their love story is by no means perfect but it’s also realistic in the way that other people watching can definitely relate to it and look back on their own past relationships / first loves and be reminiscent of a similar time / experience in their lives. Even if you have never experienced something like there are a lot of important life lessons to be learned.

I honestly feel like this drama lacked depth and they could’ve done so much more to better capture the struggle between wanting to live a normal life with your love and choosing to chase/ follow your dreams and be an idol. The ending sucked big time but again, I had already predicted it would be a sad/open ending by episode 5.

____________________________________________________

A More Detailed Review (spoilers ahead):

Doona opens with Doona submerging herself in a pool of water and seemingly sinking to the bottom of it and drowning… I believe this is a reflection of how she truly feels on the inside.

The drama follows Dream Sweet Doona, a kpop idol who has fallen from grace and has taken a hiatus from being an idol due to an on-stage accident in which she stated she could no longer sing. We see her smoking profusely in a lot of the shots... we're not sure what's going through her head. Doona appears forlorn and despondent, as if she is fighting to find her place in the world while being neglected by the individuals she most badly wants to hear from. The number one person is P (her agent), who does not respond to any of her texts or phone calls.

As the story progresses we see Doona meet Won Jun and a love/hate dynamic develops between them. She can’t believe Won Jun doesn’t know who she is and that he’s not a fan as she sees him sporting a sweet dream hoodie. Anyways a uncanny dynamic develops between them and Doona finds herself annoying him and asking him out to eat for the fun of it. Won Jun thinks she’s only teasing him and is not actually serious. They get into a spat one night as Won Jun says something that hurts her feelings and sends her over the edge.

From there they make up and you see them hanging out and Doona giving Won Jun advice on love as Won Jun still seems to have feelings for this girl (Jin Ju) from his past. It seems they were almost high school sweethearts and did like each other but in the end things did not work out. Now a year later, Jin Ju has re-entered his life and Won Jun wants to obviously be more just friends but they keep missing the timing. I think this is essential to the plot because Jin Ju is a symbol of the past… and past memories while Doona is a symbol of Won Jun’s present and future. Back then, Won Jun was weak timid and was not able to confess to the girl he liked and win her over. This past Won Jun seemingly no longer exists as he is intrigued by Doona. He enters unfamiliar territory when he is with her and so she seems enthralling and fun to hang around. Even though Jin Ju and Won Jun have all the history and memories, it shows you can only hold onto a person for so much and no more. This was demonstrated when Jin Ju finally starts showing interest in Won Jun and was able to confess her feelings, he had already mentally moved on and was now interested in pursuing Doona.

Insights:

Doona lacks emotional intelligence because she has never led a typical/normal life. She also has trouble controlling her emotions, which I believe is related to her lack of emotional awareness. As someone once said, you have to be good with yourself before you can be good for other people. I think Doona needs to take care of herself and prioritize her mental health. It was very saddening watching her go through these psychotic breaks and moments of weakness completely alone. If “being in a room of crowded people and still feeling alone” was a person, that would be Doona.

Given that Donna appeared to have been groomed from the age of 13 or 14 until her early 20s, my heart ached for her. Doona became codependent on her agent as he effectively made her into an idol. It's obvious that the agent did not view her as a real person, but rather as a product or item. He was a manipulative man who only valued her when she was complying with his wishes. Her agent was simply emotionally absent and only doing his job but Doona misinterpreted it for love and concern. In essence, he exploited her as a tool as Doona only piqued his interest when she brought in big bucks and advanced his career. The moment the flip switched in her head and she told him she could no longer handle the idol life he became very cold and distant. It just showed that his affection for her was conditional on her performing and acting a certain way.

It's clear that Doona is a complex individual who has led a very one-dimensional existence. She had a one-track mind because her life was always regimented and linear. Her walls and fences gradually started to come down when her celebrity faded and she had some alone time without others chasing her, revealing the shell of a girl who genuinely needed to repair her inner child. Her mom dropped her off and was too busy coning others out of their money, so only her grandmother took care of her. She did not regard Doona as her daughter or child, but rather as a paycheck. She seemed more liberated and at ease when she spent time with Won Jun. I feel like hanging out with Won Jun made Doona feel free and ordinary. In a way he came into her life as a blessing.

Likes:

I enjoyed the cinematography and the setting. It was a very cozy and fitting drama to watch in the fall!

I liked Se Jong’s performance as Won Jun. It was refreshing to see a very emotionally intelligent man grace the screen. He literally was such a green flag and gave off the impression of a man who was ready to open his heart to someone who didn't appear to deserve him. Se Jong portrayed his innocence and naivety to perfection. It was endearing, but it also demonstrates how males are capable of feeling emotions and having strong feelings for the person they love. I can understand why he was only able to see the best in Doona because love is blind and gives people rose-colored lenses.

The chemistry between Won Jun and Doona was off the charts, if that's what you were mainly watching for. Warning if you are currently single this drama will definitely make you feel even more so. I felt like a third wheel or like I was intruding when watching some of their scenes because it was a bit intense and caught me off guard.

I thought Ha Young’s portrayal of Jin Ju was endearing. Her character brought so much light even in darkness and was one of the best to come out of this drama. Ha Young is seriously so charming on screen and has one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen. Her story was so tragic and she smiled and pretended to be happy on the outside to conceal the fact that she was actually breaking inside. She has strict parents which I’m sure people on here can relate to however the emotional and physical abuse she faced daily was so uncalled for. I liked how Jin Ju handled it with grace and eventually left her home situation. I was lowkey rooting for her and Won Jun in the beginning because she seemed like the of ray of sunshine he needed in his life. To me their personalities seemed more compatible than Won Jun and Doona but they took too long to confess how they felt. Even though her and Won Jun did not work out I am glad they are still friends… and you never know they might have missed their timing now but they could always reconnect years from now.

I also enjoyed the performances of the supporting cast. I-Ra and Jung Hoon were cute and I am happy they got together in the end. The friendship dynamic between everyone was refreshing and I’m glad they still met up to hang out and drink together rather than the friendship being lost after everyone moved out of the building.

Dislikes:

I must admit that Suzy's performance was not the best; I feel like she could have put more effort into truly selling the role. She mostly just posed in the scenes and kept on smoking and sighing which got really repetitive. She seemed to be in unfamiliar territory and did not have a similar experience to channel when playing Doona (a pop star fallen from grace) This led me to believe that she had never really had a had first-hand experience with despair, mental health concerns, and depression / loneliness as an idol. This role was clearly daunting for her and it showed.

In the 3rd act conflict when Doona saw her ex (the agent) and dropped Won Jun’s hand not once but TWICE I was pissed. Like that was an immediate red flag! And then she legit got in the car with the ex and didn’t like that he wasn’t reassuring her and saying all the things she wanted to hear then she opened the door, threw herself out of the car and hurt her foot?! That was absolutely psychotic and batshit crazy. Then she wants to come crawling back to Won Jun and playing the victim?! LOL this was so toxic and messy but at the same time realistic portrayal of young (blind) love. But more seriously, in those moments I questioned if Doona actually had any care or sympathy for Won Jun or his feelings. She was saying one thing but her actions always consistently proved otherwise. I guess this is what people would call a contradictory character but to me it was apparent she needed to work on herself because her behavior was deplorable.

The miscommunication between the leads was absolutely unnecessary and they could have fixed their issues with a simple and honest conversation. When Won Jun asked her if she’s back bc her agent didn’t want her I was like damn! Get her again for me. Being the other person, who appears to be someone's fallback or backup plan in case they can't get the main person they're seeking, is a tragic situation. The exchange between Doona and Won Jun eloquently encapsulated how awful it is.

I was irritated by the agent's attempt to minimize Won Jun's significance. He pretended to be concerned about Doona's welfare, but his true motivation was to use her as a means of generating income for himself. He presents himself as superior to everyone else and shows pretends like he has no concern for those so-called "kids." Mind you he's in their business 25/8 and suggested they break up immediately. In my opinion, the agent acts like a whiny boy who gets upset when he doesn't get his way in a situation.

9 episodes seemed too short but also too long because if you think about it this drama could’ve easily just been a 2 hour movie lmao… there’s so much unnecessary dragging out of the plot.

As I reviewed my episode ratings, I realized that I only ever gave one episode an 8 out of 10, while the others received ratings between 6 and 7. In my opinion this drama suffers from a severe lack of depth and overcompensates by focusing too much on ridiculous relationship drama. It does far more showing than actually telling. Then again, there is only so much they could fit into 9 episodes. Realistically speaking this drama only needed to be about 5 or 6 episodes long, after that it became tedious and started to drag on.

____________________________________________________

Quotes I liked:

"Of course we won’t always know everyones story entirely because we all have a version of ourselves that we want to hide from the world."

“You once said to me that you and I come from two completely different worlds. That you never could’ve imagined we would ever cross paths. So to find ourselves sitting side by side was purely by chance. Or maybe even an act of destiny.”

“You may be right that we met by chance. But I’m still happy you were the one I met.”

“But do you know what’s really hard? It’s not the people who were never there to begin with. But it’s when you lose the people that were always there from the start. That’s enough to drive you really insane.”

“You’re selfish and unstable and you hurt me without even thinking twice about it.”

“You came and totally flipped my world upside down! But still I’m feeling crazy because I want to be the one that you want.”

“Blaming the winner when you lose is really only going to make you look a lot more pathetic. It’s a bad look.”

____________________________________________________


Final Thoughts:

Overall this drama is the definition of a friends to lovers, toxic love story with miscommunication at the forefront. It was comforting and nostalgic in the way that sometimes you need a soft drama which you can relax and watch without focusing too much on a heavily plot driven story.

Should people should watch it or not? I have no idea, it depends on your taste and if you enjoy cliche and predictable dramas or not. It seems like a drama for persons who enjoyed Nevertheless. As I said it's difficult getting into the drama because of the slow pace and I'm not sure how many people would actually stick around to see their relationship "progress." Their relationship is chaotic and toxic so if you do decide to watch brace yourself!

In my opinion, people encounter stories like these on a daily basis, but most of them romanticize the toxicity and fail to highlight the difficulties that come with relationships and the desire to be wanted or chosen in the same capacity / way that you pour love and care into your partner.

What broke my heart while watching was the fact that both characters had their short comings but Won Jun was willing to overlook all that and give Doona a chance but she was not emotionally available / mature and just carelessly played with his feelings because what she needed at the time was his attention and comfort. Even though Doona knew they wouldn't last in the long run, she effectively used Won Jun as a stand-in in her life. Doona is a real emotional wreck, and I was struck and annoyed the entire time I was watching.

Nevertheless, I believe there are many valuable things that both younger and older individuals may learn. Cease the moment, learn to be emotionally intelligent, go after what / who you want before it’s too late. Some people believe Won Jun and Doona ended up together but I believe they met each other at a time in their lives where they both needed each other. Simply put, not everything is meant to last forever and if you ever want to find happiness, you have to learn to be okay with that.

With all that being said I gave this drama a 6.5 but after assessing everything I rounded it down to a 6/10.

Anyways that’s my two cents, you can watch it and see for yourself!

(Ty to those who read this far!)

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Details

  • Drama: Doona!
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 9
  • Aired: Oct 20, 2023
  • Aired On: Friday
  • Original Network: Netflix
  • Duration: 50 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 21,032 users)
  • Ranked: #3342
  • Popularity: #284
  • Watchers: 41,267

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