Beloved aka Dear You is a 2012 Korean remake of 1995’s popular Japanese romantic melodrama “Koibito Yo” (My Dear You). I chose to watch this drama because of the Korean cast, whom I had enjoyed in other dramas: Kim Min Joon (Damo), Park Sol Mi (Winter Sonata), Hong Jong Hyun (Wild Romance), and Choi Yeo Jin (I'm Sorry, I Love You). The majority of this cast were active in early 2000's shows so I was curious to see how they had aged a decade later. It was like a blast from the past. They're all still doing well and plugging away at their craft with excellent professionalism.
If you watch this you should be prepared that this K-drama is quite honest about sex and physical attraction, unlike the vast majority of K-dramas out there available on streaming web sites. They never show anything explicit in the show, but it's strongly hinted at -- for instance, the about to be married couple are intimate right before the ceremony, while the guests are waiting outside! That made me laugh. "We're late for our wedding, so no time for foreplay", says the groom, and then there is a fade out as he approaches his bride. Hilarious. Pretty darn surprising for usually clean as a whistle K-dramas.
The Story: The drama is about a group of city-dweller business people who are searching for love and passion in their private lives. Lovely Park Sol Mi who played second female lead in the historic Winter Sonata stars as Seo Chan Joo, a fashion magazine editor trying to move forward with a wedding to a cute man younger than herself, named Go Jin Se (actor Hong Jung Hyun in a moving, sensitive performance).
On the day of the wedding ceremony she seems reluctant to leave her dressing room, and bubbles over with constant tears. We are given no reason for her tears at first, but we discover why later -- that she is still not completely over her ex-boyfriend whom she had been passionately in love with, a handsome rich businessman named Choi Eun Hyuk (Kim Min Joon). He had cruelly dumped her at a bar, saying he had taken up with another woman he preferred more, named Baek In Kyung (actress Choi Yeo Jin, who had played the first girlfriend of So Jisub's character in I'm Sorry, I Love You).
We cut to three years later and Chan Joo and Jin Se seem happy enough as a married couple, they still are physically intimate with one another, joke around with each other, and seem to enjoy each others' company. They have a picture portrait of themselves taken by a photography store near where they live, that displays it in the window for the entire neighborhood to see, and whenever they walk past it together they stop and stare at it, making comments on how pretty it is and how happy they look together.
Then one day Chan Joo's old lover Eun Hyuk comes back into her life, and he doesn't even seem to care that she is married to another man, and that he is married to another woman: he tells her he is still not over her, that he made a mistake, and would like to get back together again! She seems shocked at first and is appropriately rude to him, slapping him hard. He tells her he is not happy with his wife and misses her terribly (same old sob story, buddy, why not divorce the wife FIRST, BEFORE you take up with another woman?). Do wedding vows mean anything to people anymore? "Forsaking all others"? "Till death do us part"? "In sickness or in health?" Just old fashioned nonsense, or a real vow made before God and family?
Try as she might, Chan Joo can't seem to help herself; she is still attracted to Eun Hyuk, despite her protestations otherwise, despite a romantic and passionate kiss in the rain which she tries to rebuff. His persistence in pursuing her and confronting her about her deep unresolved feelings for him eventually begins to pay off. She is totally shaken. Especially when Chan Joo discovers that her husband Jin Se is becoming emotionally involved with a disturbed young dancer named Ran (Bae Noo-Ri), the daughter of Jin Se's former teacher. She spies on her own husband and wrongly determines that he no longer loves her.
A relationship that began with Ran's own fantasies of stealing a husband away from his wife actually achieves its goal. This gives Chan Joo an excuse to ask for a divorce from Jin Se, which she really wants so she can be loved by Eun Hyuk. When Eun Hyuk's unhappy wife In Kyung finds out about their relationship she secretly causes troubles for Chan Joo at her job.
Chan Joo's main character flaw is that she reacts too quickly and too emotionally to any challenging situation in her personal life, however despite her personal problems she has prided herself on always doing well at work. Now there are unexpected challenges there too, which risk her livelihood.
Jin Se has never stopped loving her, but he sadly signs the divorce papers she hands him at their favorite restaurant, and he tries to move on with his life, despite a broken heart. He tries to feel more than compassion for the troubled Ran but can't quite manage it. Chan Joo has many friends at work and they are a good support system for her, but she remains a very troubled woman, torn between her feelings for two men. Whom will she be with at the end of the show? You'll have to watch it yourself to find out.
This drama is very sultry and absorbing but when I look at the plot objectively it's not much more than soap opera. However, I still had troubles turning away from this show and basically marathoned it over two days. It was a pretty realistic story. Most marriages hit rough spots but if a couple is really meant to be together they will usually end up together.
The talents of the actors here made a rather predictable show far more interesting to watch than I suspected going in. I also loved the music score, it reminded me of the film Titanic. I kept visualizing Kate and Leo on the doomed ship! The best part of the drama for me ended up being actor Hong Jong Hyun's wonderful performance as Jin Se. This is one up and coming young actor. Keep an eye on him in future!