This review may contain spoilers
Have you ever asked yourself what's more important in a drama? Plot or acting? Can a good performance turn a mediocre plot into something unique? Fated to Love You answers this question with a decisive Yes. Let's have a look at this plot. Aside from it being a remake of a popular Taiwanese drama, this is a collection of old clichés: doormat girl meets obnoxious rich guy, an incident of some sort occurs and compels them to live under the same roof, meddling – and maddening – relatives, random humour, misunderstandings, birth secrets, the 'other girl' and the 'other guy', all spiced up with a lot of noble idiocy (although this might be one of the few cases when the noble act is frustrating but comprehensible). It's not hard to see why I treaded on this very makjang field on tiptoe. Therefore, my overall 9 has to be ascribed entirely to the impeccable acting and one of the best thought of OST of songs I've come across. Try out the first 10 minutes of this show, and you'll have no doubts the whole thing is going to be played on style, rather than plot substance. The performance of the whole cast is brilliant, but the two leads manage to outshine everything and everyone. What could have resulted in two trite, annoying characters in lesser hands, becomes one of the best matched couple in melo/romantic comedy. Even when their plot-line drags – and it does, here and there – they are both able to sustain the silence and make it resound. Jang Hyuk… wow, the man can act. Yes, I suppose this is a very superfluous statement for the many of you who know him, but this is my first time and I was enchanted. The character he creates here has no grey areas: Gun is so over the line he goes from hysterically funny to heartbreaking in the space of a few minutes. At times the two aspects are interwoven, and the viewer gets glimpses of his pain through his laughter. But his best trait in my opinion is that he doesn't give a dry fig about what people think of him: he goes on doing what he believes is right in the craziest of manners. It doesn't hurt that the actor is seriously hot. Seriously. When he cuts his hair – this is not considered a spoiler, is it? - I was so distracted here and there I forgot to watch the drama and just watched him. This said, Jang Na Ra is downright brilliant. For the first time in my drama addicted life, I loved a 'weak' heroine. There's a special quality about the rendition of her character that turns her weakness into strength, and her compliance into endearing sweetness. One can see why Gun falls in love with her, because the viewer experiences the same. Possibly, we all know from the start that Kim Mi Young will eventually change, and yet she keeps her true, generous nature intact. With her beautiful, huge eyes she speaks volumes and her chemistry with Jang Hyuk on screen is tangible. Notable mention for Song Ok Sook, aka Mi Young's mother. I enjoyed every minute of her antics and rejoiced in her relationship with both her daughter and her son in law. I already mentioned the music. As a rule, I only like instrumental pieces in dramas. I'm making an exception here not only because the songs are beautiful, but because each piece is chosen with the utmost care, emphasising in turn the fun, the suffering, the romance, the absurd. Isn't this what an Ost should do? Perfect score from me. Because I believe the plot to be absolutely secondary in this drama, I'm sure it lends itself very well to future re-watching.
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