I apologize in advance for the length of what follows. This drama hit me like a tsunami of emotions and has left me bruised in so many places I'm in dire need of a strong tonic I had promised myself to never say this, but rules are made to be broken: King 2 Hearts is the best drama I have ever watched. It is so because it fully responds to what I ask a work of fiction: not just to entertain me, but to make me feel. Deeply. I suppose it's not for everyone though. It raises issues which require a level of maturity, as well as a huge dose of emotional strength. It plays on prejudices and the rotten nature of politics, sparing no one: the arrogance of the western world, the obtuseness of military regimes, the cowardice of politicians, the corruptive power of money no matter where. But it highlights the best virtues too: loyalty, friendship, courage, honesty, responsibility towards the people we love. This story is the growth of a group of people, from biased to understanding, and most of all is the birth of a king worth of this name. It's obviously a love story too, but I'm glad this is only partly the focus of the drama. Don't expect a rom-com, or you'll be disappointed. The comedy is there, mainly in the beginning, and it is a clever sort of fun, but it's devoid of the usual comedic tropes, and it always has a black undertone - which I personally adore. So to me this is a truly romantic drama, in the classical sense of the word, full of awe, suspense and heartbreak. There isn't even an ounce of fluff: if this is what you're looking for, King 2 Hearts is not for you. Two words about script and direction: the first is one of the most consistent I've come across, never deviating from reality even when the setting is fictional. I am aware some of the scenarios are controversial to say the least, but if you give a look at the way international politics works, you'll see that - alas - it's a lot more plausible than we would like to admit. This said, the writers managed to create an ensemble of wonderful characters who touch the heart, and always thought-provoking dialogues. Direction is splendid, very film-like, playing on grand-angle and close-up shots, on colours, light and dark. The action scenes are believable and thrilling. Standing ovation for the performance of the entire cast. Everyone has done such a brilliant job, I'm in awe. Ha Ji Won is wonderful, to say the least. I've read some arguing that a north Korean soldier can't be so girly and trusting in the matters of the heart, but her multiple layers are what make Hang A the incredibly believable character I fell in love with, and Ha Ji Won the awesome actress she is. Besides her doing most of her stunts, she studied the North dialect, voice intonation and poses. The result is a charming mixture of vulnerability and strength which is profoundly feminine. I'm glad I've really got to know Lee Seung Gi with this drama, because this young man has done an amazing step forward in terms of acting. His performance as the shallow, prejudiced playboy he's in the beginning slowly growing to be a king to be proud of, is mind-blowing. I truly felt all his suffering, doubts, uncertainties, fear… stress. He has gained a loyal fan for his professionalism and for the courage to accept a controversial part which more mature actors had refused before him. Jo Jung Suk and Lee Yoon Ji have been an incredible revelation for me, both acted so naturally it's almost unbelievable. Hat off to all the other actors. I was just as involved in their fates as I was in that of the main couple. They all made me laugh, weep (buckets, really), be proud or exhilarated. Yes, even the villain. It won't be easy for the actor to shrug off the image. He embodies evil in its most horrific, unadulterated form: gratuitous cruelty, the pleasure to see others suffer, vanity and megalomania, all highlighted by a child-like behaviour which is as disquieting as it reduces him to the sub-human this character actually is. Oh, the music! A good soundtrack explains the scenes with the notes. When he wrote the score for the 1993 film "The Piano", Michael Nyman said he needed some piano pieces which could speak for Ada, who is mute, and work as a substitute to her voice. That's what the music in King 2 Hearts does: if you close your eyes and listen to it (I have it all on my i-pod) the music will speak for the scene, and will keep on speaking to you when the show is over. The instrumental pieces are simply perfect and aching. "Two Hearts" begins with the pound of two hearts, hence explaining in a second a title whose meaning I had been pining over for weeks. Simply beautiful. I have already re-watched half of the drama and am going through a second (third?) complete marathon. If I gave this a lower re-watch value I'd be a hypocrite. And, believe it or not, it improves on second watching. There's so much more I'd like to say about it, but I fear I've been wordy enough. I feel a last word of… warning is needed though: be prepared to feel strongly. If what you ask a drama is to entertain you or divert you, don't watch King 2 Hearts; only approach it if you're ready to grow so much attached to these characters, seeing them go will give you an almost physical pain.
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