Life's difficulties can take a toll on anyone, and this romantic melodrama portrays the story of a man and woman who are deeply affected. Through their growing empathy and understanding for each other, they embark on a transformative journey filled with new emotions. Sim Woo Joo's life takes a turn for the worse after her father's death, when she's forced out of her home by his mistress. Seeking revenge, she approaches Han Dong Jin, the son of her father's ex-lover. As she spends more time with him, she realizes that she's fallen in love. Han Dong Jin, a workaholic with a lonely life, finds his world turned upside down by Sim Woo Joo's arrival. (Source: CK Warrior at MyDramaList) Edit Translation
Where to Watch Call It Love
Cast & Credits
Call It Shim Woo JooI was unprepared for how much I liked this drama, especially since I've been in a somewhat prolonged slump in K-drama, so this was a welcome surprise. Without a doubt, Shim Woo Joo is the star of this drama. I love everything about her. She is a rare and refreshing character in the K-drama world. I love how much she feels and isn't scared to show it. I love that she isn't a pushover. I love that she lets herself live her emotions, whether anger, frustration, hate, love, or whatever else. Kudos to Lee Sung-Kyung for doing such a fantastic job with her. She has come a very long way.
A lot touched me with this drama, and it's what makes it so relatable. I am from a culture where one is expected to respect elders and authority figures, but as I grew up, I realized respect is earned, not given. People cannot just demand it because culture expects it or because of age or blood relation. I don't know if this drama intends to push this notion, but I respect it for putting it out there, and it's why the story and the way it's told captured me completely.
The raw emotions in this drama and how it looks to tackle societal expectations in who and what love looks like and the need to continually save other people's face/pride, especially of elders, bosses, seniors, and family members, at one's expense, always disguising their true feelings feels more like punishment than reverence. Add to that the hierarchical societal roles and the logic or illogical stance of obedience, responsibility, and adherence at all times is a part of the culture that is hard to accept or even understand if one is not born into it.
As good as Lee Sung-Kyung is, Kim Young Kwang is even better in how he plays Han Dong Jin. I love him in this very stoic, melancholy role. I haven't seen him like this before, apart from his last Netflix drama, Somebody, now that was something else. I liked him as an actor, but that drama proved he isn't just a pretty face with a beautiful smile. The man can act. But this drama doesn't just do a fantastic job of flushing out Woo Joo and Dong Jin as leads but puts the same detail and care in Yoon Joon, Shim Hye Seong, Choi Sun Woo, and even Min Young. It's what makes it such a good drama. One of the best of 2023 to date.
Early on, I understood Woo Joo's need for revenge, and I appreciate her family's reaction to her falling in love with the sworn enemy's son. But I can't find fault in Woo Joo catching feelings for him. What hurts most is that Han Dong Jin was unfairly judged for being the enemy's son. Even before knowing what kind of person he was, they had already considered him as foul as his mother. The sad thing is that when people judge others, they do not define them; they define themselves.
I wish Woo Joo had just opened up to Han Dong Jin, but then life is so much more complex than that. Despite growing up with a selfish mother, I love the person and man he's become. To think that this world has a parent like his makes me cringe and filled with sorrow. I cannot comprehend parents like her, but I now fully understand the saying that every child deserves a parent, but not every parent deserves a child. People say we are products of our environment, but I tend to agree with those who say we are products of our choices despite our environment.
Life is so unfair at times, but it's also a string of natural and unexpected changes and opportunities for growth, despite or maybe because of it. It's admirable how far everyone in this drama comes, or maybe a better word is grows, especially Woo Joo and Hye Seong. I love that falling in love doesn't distinguish between enemies or friends. It doesn't follow human-set cultures or blind traditions. It happens because it's right and, in the process, changes everything for the better.
I love this drama and how everything, spoken and unspoken words, movements, stares- has meaning. It just clicks and falls into place despite how complex we humans can get, as it happened for Woo Joo and Dong Jin and Yoon Joon and Hye Seong. I value this drama for conveying that life is a matter of choices. Just because something is traditional or culturally acceptable, or not for that matter, is no reason to continue, especially when it causes more harm than good. As they say, one's tradition and culture should be a guide, not a jailor. As I said, I wasn't prepared for how much I would enjoy this drama, and to think I almost didn't watch it because of its title. A lesson learned never again to judge a drama by its title.
They say to engage an audience and have them relate to the characters in a story, character development is critical, and if there was any drama that had that in abundance, it's this one. Throughout the 16-week journey, all the characters, even the horrid mom, grew tremendously. What made this drama special was how convincing the actors were, but more importantly, the dialogue and the talking back and forth were beautifully done. I love the message too. Love can forgive all if we let it. All the actors were outstanding, but Kim Young Kwang stood out to me the most. He was just superb. Kudos to everyone involved with this heartwarming drama. Watch it, it will not disappoint you.
An uncommonly, almost tenderly told revenge story"Call it Love" begins with a quote from a writer about love, followed by a voiceover radio announcer's summary: "To understand the loneliness of others, for me, that's the beginning of love." Beautiful, sensitive words... and at the same time: the grounding of this KDrama.
There are so many lonely people out there (even if that doesn't necessarily mean they're alone). There are also those who recognize the other in their loneliness. Love in different facets swings back and forth between each episode - quietly, tenderly, unspoken, then also outspoken, sometimes here, sometimes there. In the case of Shim Woo-joo and Han Dong-jin, despite barriers love like determined water finds its way.
The KDrama offers no ´boom-squish´, no spectacle, yet slow food for the heart. So slow, that it almost touches the edge of the bearable at times. Watching the two protagonists moving through scenes is almost like in slow motion. The facial features are minimal, too. However, it´s nevertheless expressive and intense. Tender emotions are held back, an the next moment some razor-sharp thoughts are communicated without hesitation – Woo-joo is good at that. She embodies a sharp mix of disinterest and impulsiveness. Dong-jin, for his part, is the master of outward indifference and equanimity, enduring life´s challenges quietly and good-naturedly – almost stoically. But both are basically victims of their learned helplessness and of being overwhelmed with their extremely ambivalent feelings towards their own parents. ´She´ is still bitter because of her cheating father, who left the family for another woman. His burden is his exalted mother, who notoriously charms other people's husbands and lives a ´good life´ at their expense, with her son being in the way and left with the father.
A web of loving people are surrounding both Woo-joo and Dong-jin. So, even if they may feel alone with their feelings, they really aren't. Woo-joo's friend, the pharmacist Yoon-jun, feels a lot more for Woo-joo. Dong-jin's school friend and business partner knows his buddy like the back of his hand. Then there's Woo-joo's sister, who for her part is struggling with dating and finally just discovers her feelings for Yoon-jun. And suddenly Dong-jin's ex-fiancé is back, who left him without a word a year ago, went to the USA and is now suddenly back, being ready for the next step. ... Somehow everyone seems a bit lost and sometimes awkward in their emotional life, as well as in their (traditional) family liabilities. They might feel lonely. But they are actually not alone.
Technically speaking, the plot aims for something completely different than romantic love: revenge is the driving force of the story. There's Woo-joo on her vendetta against the woman who stole her father and secured the house as an inheritance – with the vendetta actually targeting the son, Dong-jin. Then there is Dong-jin's former boss, who wants revenge for Dong-jin resigning along with his childhood friend from school to start a rival business. And there's the age-old dynamic between Woo-joo's mother and her rival who stole her husband years ago...
Somehow like balm: here the revenge motive can't prevail in the end. Rather, a gentle template of compassion and forgiveness settles over resentment and bitterness. Like a silk scarf, this compassion covers the wounds and thus changes, rather widens, the perspective. "To understand the loneliness of others, for me that is the beginning of love." In the end the truth of these words is revolving about much more than 'just' romantic love – the heart empathically banging on another one´s wall, makes the wall come down and healing become possible.
Gaze, movement as well as camera angles are chosen with care. Like that more than once time is frozen, sort of. Often enough, this KDrama is deliberately so slow that you might want to give the protagonists a nudge here and there. Paradoxically, this perceived standstill envelops the actually quite dynamic story, which gains its drive from the revenge motive and knows very well how to come up with tension, too. This idiosyncratic mixture of dramatic events and moments of standstill, of revenge and honest love, results in a very unique, ambivalent, subtly burned-in dynamic and elusive fascination for this KDrama. Cupid interjects encouragingly and does it well. Actors and actresses also successfully correspond with authentic emotion.
Ultimately, an uncommonly, almost tenderly told revenge story.
|What do you think, will it be a sad, happy or open ending? by Tejas