KDRAMALOVE KOREAN DRAMA REVIEWS
봄날 SBS (2005) 20 Episodes
Romantic Melodrama, Grade: A-
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
I need to thank my childhood friend Alison for loaning me her long out of print DVD box set from YA Entertainment for this landmark Korean drama, Spring Day (2005, sometimes also called Spring Days), which hit ratings in the 30% range during its initial broadcast in Korea. Three of my favorite Korean actors graced this romantic melodramatic love triangle story, Jo In Sung (It's Okay, That's Love, That Winter The Wind Blows), Ji Jin Hee (Love Letter, Spotlight, Snow Lotus), and Go Hyun Jung (Sandglass, The Queen's Classroom), which was a remake of a Japanese drama called Heaven's Coins. This is especially fun to watch concurrently with, or after, you watch Jo In Sung and Go Hyun Jung together again in the beautiful K-drama Dear My Friends (2016). You can see them acting together in Spring Day when they were young, and see them acting together again when they are eleven years older, and it's a lot of fun to compare them if you're their fan.
I usually find that when Koreans remake Japanese dramas they put a much more sophisticated flair and spin into their productions. The acting always seems a bit more cerebral too in the K-dramas; they don't have to hit you over the head with glaring facts about various story plot points but rather use clever innuendo and subtlety in the writing, to make you think more about what you are watching, and what it all could mean to the characters' lives.
I find it kind of sad that many K-drama classics are so hard to track down today. Most K-drama fans don't seem to care about the past, about how the Hallyu Wave started, or about the shows that launched it in the first place. It's also sad that YA Entertainment, an American company that put out legitimate high quality packages of classic K-dramas on DVD in Region One for American audiences, was forced to go out of business by so many Chinese bootlegs with substandard quality discs. Only a few of the Chinese rip-offs are high quality, the majority will sacrifice visual quality, subtitle quality, sound quality, to compress more episodes onto fewer discs. However, I always know that if I watch a YA Entertainment DVD set that I will be seeing a Korean drama in its best light. I wish they had never gone out of business, but when the consumer buys the garbage ripoffs instead of the high quality DVD sets, this is what happens: legit companies who care about quality go out of business, and that's what happened to YA. Almost immediately their DVD box sets tripled and quadrupled in price. So very few K-drama fans will be able to see classics like Spring Day, to their own loss. As of this writing it's not available on either of the two major streaming sites, so for the best quality I'd recommend buying the YA Entertainment DVD Box Set on Amazon at THIS LINK. Or try eBay, but again, if it doesn't say YA Entertainment on the box, skip it.
A young Jo In Sung & Go Hyun Jung (who in 2016 are actually in business together now), and
incredibly handsome Ji Jin Hee are the classic love triangle between one woman & two brothers
Go Eun Ho (Ji Jin Hee), a doctor from Seoul, goes to Biyang Island to visit with his father Go Hyung Jin's (Jang Yong) long time friend and mentor Seo Dal Ho (Shin Choong Shik). While there, getting off the ferry, he meets the beautiful Seo Jung Eun (Go Hyun Jung), the mentor's granddaughter, who has come to check him out; she's a silent, elusive beauty, who has suffered a trauma so great that she's lost the will to speak. Fascinated by her and empathetic toward her, Eun Ho helps Jung Eun find a way to overcome her past traumas, but just when her gratitude starts to blossom into love, fate cruelly intervenes, leaving the empathetic doctor Eun Ho in a coma, caused by a car accident when driving with his mother, who tragically dies at the scene. (The main reason I graded this show an A- instead of an A was that gorgeous actor Ji Jin Hee spends too much time in a coma in the beginning. I loved him from the first few minutes of this drama. His character was the most admirable one in the series!).
The first time I ever laid eyes on Ji Jin Hee was in a 2005 Chinese movie
called Perhaps Love. A Korean actor in a Chinese film? He starts the
movie with a voice-over while sitting on a bus, and I totally melted:
WHO IS THIS GORGEOUS MAN? I'll never forget that moment. :)
At the hospital on the mainland, where Eun Ho is transferred, Jung Eun meets Eun Ho's attractive younger stepbrother Eun Sup (Jo In Sung), who is also a doctor. Despite his best intentions not to fall in love with his brother's girlfriend, Eun Sup finds himself powerless to resist Jung Eun, and he falls for her as his stepbrother lies comatose. Later, Eun Ho does regain consciousness, but his state of mind is stuck in childhood. He is released from the hospital but cannot practice medicine until he heals. Little by little, he begins to regain his memory. One day as he intercepts a car on the road, he starts to recall the past in bits and pieces and begins to understand that his unacknowledged pain and fears resulted from a tragedy. Jung Eun, thinking it's best for him to know the truth, tells him the shocking news that his mother died in a car accident. Soon Eun Ho has regained his memory and he hopes to continue pursuing his new love Jung Eun. He had helped her heal and now she had helped him heal.
Latent rivalries and misunderstandings come to a boil as the two brothers fight for Jung Eun's affections, with other opposing characters making matters worse. A bar girl named Kim Min Jung (Han Go Eun from Chuno, Jung Yi Goddess Of Fire, Me Too Flower) despises Jung Eun for stealing the hearts of both Eun Sup and Eun Ho, when she had cared for both men in her own way before Jung Eun entered their lives. Eun Sup's mother Oh Hye Rim (Lee Hwi Hyang) also shows disdain for Jung Eun, since she sees Jung Eun's grandfather, her husband's mentor, as a threat to her own marriage. Spiteful that Eun Ho desires to marry Jung Eun, Eun Sup's mother contemplates a plan using Min Jung to poison their relationship. Min Jung visits Jung Eun, deceitfully telling her that she is hindering Eun Ho from a successful medical career because she is holding him back from furthering his studies at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the US. (Ye Olde Mother's Guilt Trip - you see a lot of those in K-dramas). Believing the lie, that she is hindering his prestigious medical career, Jung Eun breaks off her engagement to Eun Ho, devastating him.
Then one day Eun Sup sees the phony medical school pamphlet that Min Jung had presented to Jung Eun. Min Jung admits her scheme to Eun Ho, saying it was done out of her long term love for him. Eun Ho confronts Jung Eun and tells her about the misunderstanding, but Jung Eun refuses to reconcile with him anyway. She then finally confesses that her heart loves Eun Sup, not him. There is nothing more that Eun Ho can do but lick his wounds, and perhaps find another woman who can love him ... could it be Min Jung, even after she had been so devious before?
After Eun Sup learns that Jung Eun loves him back they spend more time together before she goes back to Biyang Island. In the end (SPOILER), Eun Ho decides to forget his feelings for Jung Eun and move on with his life. The two brothers are eventually reconciled. Eun Sup leaves Seoul to become employed as a doctor at the Biyang Health Center, while living with Jung Eun on the island. The end scene recalls the drama's opening scene as Jung Eun runs to the ferry to reunite with her love, who is now Eun Sup.
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