Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dramatic Friday Review: Love Rain part 1 (ep 1-5)

We've chosen to review the recent drama, Love Rain, here on The Crazy Ahjummas.  This drama aired at the same time as Rooftop Prince and The King 2 Hearts.  We started watching it back then off and on when we had a chance, but we were so tied up with watching and reviewing our other two dramas that it was officially on the back burner...until now.  Because it has already aired and we don't really think that it would be a good idea at this time to review each episode week by week as we have done for the currently airing shows, we've decided to do a four part special, reviewing 5 episodes at a time.

This is the first installment, episodes 1-5.

I was right around episode 11 when I found out that I would be doing this first installment.  It had been weeks since I had seen the first 5 episodes and I remembered very little.  I had been so deeply ensconced in RTP and K2H (and the variety show 1N2D when I needed a break in all the drama) and had watched the first several episodes slowly over a long period of time that I just couldn't remember it all.  You would think that I would have stopped at that point and gone back to rewatch and review, but no, I kept going.  Once I had the time to really get in to it, I really got in to it.  I fell for this one hard.  I loved this drama!  Jang Keun Suk and Yoon Ah both stole my heart as Seo In Ha/Seo Joon and Yoon Hee/Ha Na.  I was on a runaway train that just couldn't stop and go back.  Which is why this review is a week late, because I had to finish the drama before I could go back and rewatch the parts I needed to rewatch in order to write about it.

Let me start by introducing you to the main characters and plot line.

This show takes place at two different times - the 70s and modern day.  It is a story of two generations of star-crossed lovers.

We start out in the 70s.  We have a trio of male best friends in college and who are in a band, C'est La Vie, together.  The main lead, played by Jang Keun Suk, is Seo In Ha.  He is an artist from a wealthy family.  He is painfully shy and quiet.  His best friend is Lee Dong Wook (a med school student and DJ at their local hangout spot).  Dong Wook is full of charm and charisma and is popular with the ladies.  The third member of their trio is Kim Chang Mo, a rough and tumble country boy with 5 younger brothers but a golden voice.  Then there are the girls, Baek Hye Jung and Na In Sook who are also friends with the boys and they're C'est la Vie groupies you could say.  One day In Ha passes a girl on the street, and in those 3 seconds, falls in love.  He tells Dong Wook of his "3 second love".  Dong Wook has a 3 second love of his own who we later learn he met at a bus stop and she bandaged his bloody finger.  As fate would have it, it is the same girl who has captured the hearts of these two boys, Yoon Hee.

Now, of course, these aren't the only love interests.  Hye Jung is in love with In Ha and is insanely jealous of Yoon Hee (who is known as the class "Madonna").  Chang Mo is in love with Hye Jung.  In Sook is in love with Chang Mo.  The six of them eventually pair off, none of them necessarily with who they want to be with, except for Dong Wook who gets his girl.  When he finally discovers that Dong Wook is in love with the same girl as he is, In Ha initially steps aside so that his best friend can pursue Yoon Hee.  There's obvious chemistry between In Ha and Yoon Hee, but both are quiet and shy, hide their true feelings and basically let the others guide their choices to avoid hurting their friends.

As you can probably guess, this only lasts so long.  As time goes on, they fall for each other more and more and eventually have to face their feelings, admit it to each other, and confess to their friends.  In Ha even goes as far as joining the army in order to get away from this girl so that he doesn't betray Dong Wook.  They both try to do the honorable thing but they are too drawn to each other.  Finally it all comes to a head. She, knowing that it will be her last chance to see him before he joins the army, runs off to the town where he is doing some sketching for art class.  They unintentionally meet and then fulfill a promise and go see the movie Love Story together.  By the time the movie has ended, they have missed their last train back in to town.  On a whim of fancy, they head out on the night train to the seaside where they spend a romantic night together, finally allowing themselves to be together and acknowledge their love.

{I interrupt this review for a question.  Can anybody tell me what he writes on the window of the train?  I watched it on both DramaFever and Viki and neither one of them translated it.  Agh!  Dying to know what he wrote and what her exclamation point meant!  AGH!!!  Must learn Korean NOW to avoid this problem in the future!}

Upon their return, all is revealed.  It doesn't go smoothly with the friends, but eventually everything is worked out between In Ha and Dong Wook and he, Dong Wook, even gives the couple his blessing and helps them be together.  Just when all is looking up for the couple, disaster strikes.

Yoon Hee finds out she has tuberculosis and In Ha is arrested due to some illegal publications found in his and Chang Mo's apartment.  Yoon Hee leaves for the U.S. to receive treatment and In Ha is shipped off to the army in order to stay out of legal trouble.  And that is where their story ends.  As he is pulling away from the train station, Dong Wook, who knows about Yoon Hee's condition but was asked to keep it quiet (she doesn't want In Ha worrying about her and wants to tell him only when she returns healthy), runs after the train and tells In Ha that Yoon Hee is sick and that he should wait for her.

Next thing we know, we're still on a train, but 30 years in the future.  It's still Jang Keun Suk on that train, but now he's playing the son of In Ha, famed photographer Seo Joon.  He is in Japan for work.  When he disembarks from the train, he literally bumps into a girl who is none other than Ha Na, daughter of Yoon Hee (and still played by Yoon Ah), though of course neither one of them knows each other or that their parents were once in love.  They are simply two strangers that happen to bump in to each other that share a tangled past unbeknownst to them.  In their collision, her phone lands in his coat pocket.

Yes, our dear friend Fate has more in store for these two.

Seo Joon is far different from his father.  He's a known playboy, though he admits that out of all the models he has photographed and *ahem* been with, never once have any of them stirred his heart.  He is renowned for being able to pick up any girl in just three seconds.  He has it down to an art.  We see him use his skills on a model.  She falls for it hook, line and sinker, but just as he's going in for a kiss, a strange cell phone rings.

It's Ha Na's cell phone that ended up in his pocket during their collision at the train station.  She is calling to get her phone back.  He is rude and mean and tells her where he is so that she can come get her phone.  It's far away, but she instantly dashes off to meet him.  Of course when she gets there, he's long gone.  This happens twice again.  Eventually she tracks down her phone in his hotel room (which she accidentally discovers is unlocked and so she goes in to get it).  By this time she is fuming mad at him for sending her all over the countryside and standing her up repeatedly so she exacts a little revenge.  When he brings the model back to his room, they collapse together on a bed with all kinds of things hidden under the blanket.
"Did my boyfriend do this?  No, he would have at least left a knife, not a book." Bwahahaha!

As luck would have it though, Ha Na is still in the room and is caught.  He holds her phone ransom and uses it as leverage to get her to take him to see "diamond snow".  He's trying to come up with a new ad concept in order to save his company from losing their only client (I guess early on in his career he had taken some questionable photographs that many considered to be too pornographic and he has found it difficult to land clients as a result - a fact which is finicky/difficult client likes to remind him of as he threatens to take his business elsewhere).  He thinks that "diamond snow", which he had seen video of when he was snooping around on her cell phone, is just what he's looking for.  They go, have an eventful night and morning that ends in him freezing and sitting in some hot springs to warm up.  That's when one of my favorite moments in the whole drama occurs.  He is telling Ha Na about his 3 second pick up abilities.
Look at that smug, coy face - he thinks he's got her - another girl about to fall victim to his 3 second pick up line
But he's rebuffed.  And embarrassed.  It's never not worked for him.  Is she even a girl?, he asks.
She is unfazed by his charms, but then turns it around on him.  Lo and behold, when she tries the 3 second pick up line on him, it works.  We see him in those 3 seconds fall for her.  He who has never had his heart flutter for any woman, is suddenly and totally smitten by this girl.  It was at this point that I knew I was in for a fun ride with this drama!
Time to turn the tables.  She tells her own version of his pick up line...about her mother's first love and how she wants to have a love like that.  Then slowly counts to three and...
Look at his face!  The smug, coy playboy grin is gone and is replaced by the look of one kitten who is smitten 
He grabs a hold of her like a drowning man grasping for a life preserver
Swoon!  He's so taken aback he can barely breathe let alone utter a coherent sentence
He says again how he's never felt this way before, but this time it's for real, not just his lame pick up line
He goes in for a kiss and then... end episode.  Those tummy butterflies are dancing!

Okay, that's a lot of stuff to cover in one review.  I know I missed a lot of the finer points.  I will try and cover some of them in my screenshots in just a minute.  5 episodes at once is a lot to talk about.  While I really liked the 70s part, it was difficult to watch at the same time, knowing that In Ha and Yoon Hee didn't work out.  They had a lot of tummy-tickling romantic moments though, like with the broken umbrella in the rain or their trip to the sea, which were totally enjoyable.  I also liked the artistry of those first four episodes.  The colors were different, more muted and aged, like old film that's been sitting around for 30 years.  There was a sadder, more melancholy air.  It was depressing yet beautiful at the same time.  When we jumped into the modern era, the feeling of the drama completely changed.  It really is like two different shows, the first 4 episodes and then the rest of them.  I really appreciated how they did that - how they were able to portray these two stories so differently.  I also have to say that even though the same actors play the different characters in both time periods, I thought they did an excellent job of in keeping them separated.  They look different and their personalities are so vastly different that I could actually believe the modern characters to be the children of the 70s characters.  All in all, this drama really hooked and impressed me in these first 5 episodes.

Now, for some pictures to catch some of my favorite moments along the way.

In Ha sees Yoon Hee sitting there and is so struck by her, begins to sketch her.
He looks up and she is gone. He runs after her and then runs literally right in to her. After she walks away he finds her diary.  His attempts to return it don't go so well thanks mostly in part to his extreme shyness around her. He does however read it and learns all about her. He reads the books she mentions, learns her favorite flowers, and so on.  Some of this knowledge he uses for himself, but then he uses it to help Dong Wook woo her.  Heartbreaking really, yet sweet in a "creeper reading my diary" kind of way.
The broken umbrella in the rain!  Those tummy butterflies really liked this scene.  He was so painfully shy and awkward, my heart just melted for him.  Talk about romantic tension though!  Like when she invited him to stand closer to her so that he wouldn't get soaked.  They are so innocent and cute and awkward - loved it!
He is so overjoyed after finally asking Yoon Hee out (during their walk in the rain), he comes back and furiously paints though he is still soaking wet.  This is significant because he has sworn to never paint a portrait of anyone except someone he loves.
This was the moment Dong Wook fell for her.  She bandaged his finger, reminding him of his mother who he lost at a young age. This is their connection - both lost their parents and she's apparently a mother figure to him now.  Yeah, not the best basis for a relationship.  "You're like a mom to me".  Uh, thanks?  Girls, never be with a man if he likes you because you are like a mother to him.  You need a man, not a son.  
At a festival dance, In Ha is injured saving Yoon Hee from a falling prop.  She feels really bad that he is hurt because of her.  They have a "moment" where she bears her heart out to him and tells him that her parents died trying to protect her in a car accident, which makes his injury on her behalf that much harder for her to bear.
He asks Yoon Hee to go with him to pick up his new guitar and then to help him try it out.  He plays the chord with his good hand while she strums the strings.  They sing a little duet together.  So cute!
In Ha apologizes for something and Yoon Hee says, "Love never means having to say you're sorry" (from Love Story and arguably the dumbest line ever in a movie if you ask me).  Then quickly stammers, "not that I love you or anything."  Awkward! But so cute!  She likes him :)
She finds the portraits of her that he has painted.  She instantly knows then that he loves her.  Of course, he tries to cover by saying that he wasn't painting her per se, she was just part of the scenery.  Later on he recounts that and admits that, yes, of course he was painting her - that she was his scenery and always had been.

C'est La Vie plays at a radio music contest, singing the song that In Ha wrote for Yoon Hee.  They win, but the night ends in tragedy as the police charge in looking for Chang Mo (who escapes) and arrest In Ha due to the illegal books Chang Mo had hidden in their apartment.  Yoon Hee, once In Ha has been dragged away, collapses.  Dong Wook rushes over to her and discovers that she is sick.

Jump ahead 30 years....
At "diamond snow", Joon is taking pictures and turns the camera on Ha Na. Even after she catches him and he swears he wasn't photographing her, that he was trying to get the pretty scene behind her and she was in the way.  He makes her move and then turns and continues to photograph her.
Oh yeah, he likes her.  He's mesmerized by her.  He tries to fight it, but he's a goner.  Or soon will be.  Once they go to the hot springs :)
The myth of Diamond Snow is that you will fall in love with the one you see it with.  <3

Those were a small sample of my favorite moments in the first 5 episodes.  What were yours?

Oh, and I just realized that I forgot my obligatory fangirl "SQUEEEEE!" for Jang Keun Suk earlier on, so let me rectify that now... HOLY HECK!  YUMMMMMMM!!!!!  He's one that initially didn't appeal to me back when I first saw him in You're Beautiful, but he definitely improved with time.  You know, like 3 seconds worth of time. ;)  It didn't take long to fall for him despite the bad boy/punk look that normally just doesn't do it for me.  Somehow he makes it work and manages to look pretty darn attractive.  I was excited to see him make a drama comeback.  Chalk me up as another lifetime JKS fan.  Kim Si Hoo (Dong Wook) isn't bad either.  I really like his easy-going, upbeat character.  He's funny and kind and sweet and a good friend.  And, not to leave the girls out, I have to give props to Yoon Ah as well.  I think she's adorable and does a phenomenal job in this drama.  I loved her both as Yoon Hee and as Ha Na.  She shows that KPop idols can definitely transition well into acting.  She is a talented young lady and she and JKS have some great chemistry going between them.

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