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Where The Cherry Blossoms Fall


Where The Cherry Blossoms Fall
Perfect Marriage Revenge korean drama review
Perfect Marriage Revenge
2 people found this review helpful
by Sakura_Falling
17 days ago
12 of 12 episodes seen
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 6.5
This review may contain spoilers

Perfectly Vengeful

Perfect Marriage Revenge is not the kind of drama I typically get into, but every once in a while one catches my attention and I'll end up watching it. And what fun it was! Brought back to life after suffering a lifetime of abuse and neglect, Yi Joo comes back for revenge, but along the way finds love and the family she'd never dared to hope for. It's one of those dramas that you know is going to have a happy ending, but the ride to get there is a touch bumpy and the drama is delicious.

I tend to struggle with Makjangs because they always feel slightly too long and somewhere in the middle things start to lag and I lose interest. At 12 episodes though, Perfect Marriage Revenge mostly avoided that issue because there was so much going on that there just wasn't a whole lot of time for filler nonsense. There's a fairy tale element here, I think someone mentioned Cinderella, which is certainly apt given the evil stepmother and sister vibe, but in this case, Cinderella is, in many ways, her own fairy godmother and the handsome prince is more than just a pretty face. Yi Joo spent her entire life as a door mat, letting pretty much anyone and everyone walk all over her. Yet, despite the extreme abuse she suffered, she refused to let it turn her bitter, at least until she's on her deathbed and begins to realize just how deep that abuse ran. Given a second chance at life, she sets out to take revenge on her adopted family and utterly destroy them for the pain they caused her. Her first move, is stealing her sister's love interest, who is all too willing to join forces with Yi Joo. Do Guk had fallen in love with Yi Joo before he even really met her, her paintings capturing him, and when they died on the same day, he wished for her to find the love she so desperately wanted. Also given a second chance at life, he throws his lot in with Yi Joo, determined to help her seek her revenge and make her fall in love with him along the way. Of course, it's not smooth sailing. Their enemies, namely Yi Joo's adopted mother and Do Guk's brother, aren't entirely stupid and they manage to win a few hands, but in the end, good prevails and evil falls. Being a soap opera, naturally you have to throw common sense out the window and just go along with the absurdity. There are plenty of twists and turns, most fairly obvious, but with one or two that actually did surprise me. The ending was a tad prosaic. Everything gets wrapped with a neat little bow and it's almost too perfect. Still given everything our leads went through, I suppose they deserve a non-dramatic ending. The pacing was decent all things considered. It did get a tad laggy about midway, mostly with repetitive scenes, particularly between our leads as they reassured each other that they were in this together and they would succeed. Yes, we got that the first five times you said it. But otherwise, things progressed pretty steadily.

Ah, the over the top characters, dramatically plotting, hunting down secrets and desperately trying to conceal secrets, righting the past and attempting to destroy the past. They're all larger than life and almost to a man, or woman, polarizing.
- Yi Joo is the perfect woman. Despite her family's abuse, she continued to go through life with a smile and refused to let their hatred tarnish her. But once she set her heart on avenging herself on them, she was ruthless, meticulously tearing them apart. The change in her from the first episode to the next is stark. Gone is the naive, trampled young woman and in her place is someone who knows her worth and is willing to go to bat for herself. While the need for that change is clear, it's still abrupt. And while not apparent in that first episode, it's quickly shown that she is a very intelligent woman, though how she has some of the knowledge she possesses is unclear. Her relationship with Do Guk, while slow moving, is overall well done as she grows to trust him and then to love him. Despite the drama surrounding them, their relationship is relatively drama free, save for when she discovers that he was also brought back. Even so, they maintain communication and soon overcome that obstacle. Yi Joo's character development, despite having a few moments where it stalls, is also well done. While Do Guk certainly serves as her biggest support, she is not without agency and is pivotal in changing her own life around.
- Do Guk is the perfect man to Yi Joo's perfect woman. Caring and loyal with a strong moral compass, he comes alongside Yi Joo to help her accomplish her mission in taking revenge on her family. Obviously taken by Yi Joo from their first meeting, it's not revealed until much later just how deep those feelings go. While the reasons Yi Joo fell in love with Do Guk are more obvious, Do Guk's reasons are more shrouded. His feelings originated from how her painting made him feel and grew from there. He serves as a safe space for her and she for him. His character development is much more subtle and yet it's still present as he comes to find his own purpose and gain the strength and courage to pursue it.
- Jung Hye is Yi Joo's deliciously malicious adopted mother. Rotten to the core with a cruel streak a mile wide, she made Yi Joo's life a living hell, until she comes back and Jung Hye finds that she's met her match. A woman willing to do absolutely anything to get ahead, she is a master manipulator. Lying comes as easily to her as breathing even when it comes to her own daughter. She's consistent in her vile ways until the bitter end when she's left with the knowledge that she has been utterly forsaken.
-Yoo Ra is the worshipped daughter of Jung Hye who can do no wrong. She looks down on her older sister because she's adopted, flirts with her sister's husband, and is a pampered princess. While not generally taking an active role in her mother's schemes, she attempts to do her own damage to Yi Joo and discredit her, though she's rather inept and her own reputation is damaged instead. Piece by piece she is brought down as she discovers she's not even her father's daughter, her mother has been lying to her, and she's pregnant with the wrong man's baby. I was concerned for a bit that they were going to go for a redemption arc with her, but was very glad they didn't as that just wouldn't be as satisfying.
- Jung Wook is Do Guk's conniving older brother. The presumed heir to the family's company, his moral compass points in the exact opposite direction as his brother's. Willing to cut corners, lie and cheat his way to success, there's very little he won't do to get ahead. Holding the event that left him with an injured leg over his brother's head, he actively seeks to leave Do Guk out in the cold, making home an uncomfortable place for him and reminding him of his supposed superiority. While Jung Wook never shows any remorse for what he does to his brother and Yi Joo, he is eventually brought down a few pegs when his father reveals that all the resentment he'd built up and held onto, blaming his father for abandoning his mother, was all for naught as it was in fact, his mother who abandoned them.
-Honorable mentions go to Do Guk's mother and grandmother who were both badass women in their own ways. I loved them both and how willing they were to accept Yi Joo as a member of their family. And, of course, can't forget Yi Joo's own mother who overcame so much to be reunited with her daughter. The one character I did feel a bit bad for and whose ending wasn't wholly deserved was Se Hyeok. There's certainly an element of he made his bed and now he has to lie in it, but he at least seemed to have actual remorse for his actions and was trying to turn over a new leaf. It's a pity that he couldn't escape Yoo Ra.

This series had a great cast that really embraced the drama. Jung Yoo Min was lovely as Yi Joo. She did a great job of combining Yi Joo's softness with an iron will. Sung Hoon was effortlessly charming as Do Guk with an added depth that gave the character dimension. Together their chemistry was a little more subtle, but also very much present. They didn't need excessive amounts of PDA to show that they loved each other. Lee Min Young did her job very well as I absolutely despised Jung Hye. Kang Shin Hyo as Jung Wook, however, was not as compelling. I certainly didn't like his character, but my feelings were much less strong when compared to how Jung Hye made me feel.

The production was quite good. I liked the cinematography. Possibly because painting and art work played a part in the story, there seemed to be a higher level of attention paid to color in the costumes, set, and design in general. It was very pleasing to look at. The women's costumes in particular were gorgeous. It was clear that a lot of time and effort was put into those. The men's, however, was lacking a bit and it would have been nice to see them given the same attention to detail.

Perfect Marriage Revenge is not a drama to take seriously or try to find sense in. It is a soap opera so anything goes, no matter how absurd. But there is humor to be found in the absurdity, fun in the drama, and satisfaction in the knowledge that good will triumph over evil.
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