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You Are Beautiful aka You're Beautiful
미남이시네요 (2009) SBS, Grade: B+
Romantic Comedy, Music, Spiritual



Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA

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Shin Hye Park. Geun Suk Jang. Hong Ki Lee. Yong Hwa Jung. If by some odd chance you are unfamiliar with these names you will certainly know them by the time you finish this charmer You Are Beautiful (2009 aka You're Beautiful). These actors are all just too adorable for words and have super personal chemistry together as a group! This show was a huge hit in Korea and solidified all their careers permanently. The soundtrack sold well in Korea and other Asian nations where the show aired, particularly Japan. The drama is available for download on Dramaload, and a Region One DVD boxset is available to buy on Amazon.

The character Shin Hye
Park (Tree Of Heaven) plays, Mi-nyeo Go, leaves a nunnery where she is in training as a postulant, and has to pretend to be her twin brother to join a male band named A.N.Jell. She cuts her hair, straps down her breasts, wears boys' clothes, and has to live with boy band members, who slowly begin to suspect all is not what it seems in regards to "him" (her). These gender bender K-dramas are some of my favorites, they're always very funny, and sometimes even poignant.



From left to right: Yong Hwa Jung, Shin Hye Park, Geun Suk Jang, Hong Ki Lee
 
In the story, Mi-nyeo's musician twin brother Mi-nam is overseas in the US getting plastic surgery done on his eyes; a prior operation had gone badly so he needed corrective work. He is delayed in returning to Korea to take up his place as the new fourth member of the popular male band. Her brother's agent Hoon-yi Ma (In-kwon Kim) secretly goes to visit Mi-nyeo his sister at the convent and chases her all around, begging her to take his place until her brother can return to Korea. Mi-nyeo tells her Mother Superior about the request and because it's known that Mi-nyeo is quite the tomboy, always distracted by other things, running around here and there and being late to services, the Mother Superior isn't against the idea, thinking some time in the outside world would be just what Mi-nyeo might need to
grow up and move forward in her life. (Think of The Sound Of Music, where the Mother Superior in that show realizes that being a nun isn't exactly what is best for Maria). Mi-nyeo and her brother had grown up at the convent and knew no other life; they had both wanted to find their biological mother, and the brother had thought that the notoriety of being in an idol band might lead her to contact him.

 

Mi-nyeo is determined to visit Rome instead and solidify what she thinks is her calling to serve God as a nun. However, fate intervenes with other plans for Ml-nyeo when she loses her ticket at the airport and has to return. She decides to do her brother the favor of joining the band in his place and hopes she can at the same time learn something about their biological mother.

 

Geun Suk Jang, as the character Tae-kyung Hwang, is the lead guitarist and vocalist for A.N.Jell. He declares HE gets to make the final decision as to whether "Mi-nam" gets to join the band. He insists he (she) sing for him and his other two bandmates, Shin-woo Kang (Yong-hwa Jung from CNBlue, here in his acting debut), the most thoughtful and reserved member of the band, and Jeremy (Hong Ki Lee) who is the gentle clown of the group. Tae-kyung locks the door of the practice room so the head of their music agency, President Ahn (Chan Jung from Lovers), and Mi-nam's agent Hoon-yi, can't get in, and he demands "Mi-nam" start singing.

Mi-nyeo is terrified and delays singing at first, thinking she will give herself away as a girl, until suddenly inspiration hits her and out comes this splendid voice singing the religious song Panis Angelicus, which knocks the wind out of the sails of all the boys standing around her! A glowing light comes through the window, as if even God and the angels approve of her song.



In the beginning Tae-kyung is very wary and standoffish toward this "boy" Mi-nam, and makes "his" (her) life with the band group very difficult. On the other hand, Shin-woo and Jeremy are mostly kind to her, though Shin-woo seems to be the first one to suspect "he" might be a "she". Jeremy ends up being pleased with Mi-nam because his faithful dog Jolie (named after Angelina Jolie) immediately takes a liking to "Mi-nam". He only trusts people whom his dog trusts!



Many humorous situations take place with sexual innuendo moments, as is common with many of the gender bender type of shows, for instance, Tae-kyung falling on top of Mi-nam and wondering why he is attracted to "him", locker room jokes, Mi-nam walking in on Tae-kyung showering in the apartment bathroom, or Jeremy grabbing "him" from behind and wondering why "he" doesn't feel exactly like a man.

When Tae-kyung eventually discovers that Mi-nam is a girl he threatens to reveal it to everyone else, but Mi-nam manages to win him over to prevent him from doing so, and he allows her to stay. Shin-woo discovers her true identity early on too, but does not reveal what he knows either for a long time - only Jeremy remains in the dark for much of the show, though even he starts to feel attracted to her without understanding why he would like a guy!

Shin-woo

Shin-woo tries to comfort Mi-nyeo, but 2nd male leads usually have a rough time of it with the girl

The story continues with Mi-nyeo still acting as Mi-nam, trying to keep her true sexuality away from publicity hounds and paparazzi, not to mention the head of the entertainment agency for which they all work. There is additional sadness for Shin-woo too, as he falls more deeply in love with Mi-nyeo, knowing he's in competition with his friend Tae-kyung's feelings for her. Once again it's hard not to root for the second male lead some here because he's such a square guy, while the main lead male character is temperamental and volatile. Why do the Koreans always manage to do this to us? (Oh well, that actor wins the actress in Heartstrings later, so it's all good!).

Trouble also comes in the form of Tae-kyung's singer mother Hwa-ran Mo (Sung-ryung Kim), who knows crucial information about the twins' biological mother, but who lies about what she knows, which puts Tae-kyung and Mi-nyeo's developing love relationship at high risk for failure. Someone who is hoping that happens is the ambitious actress He-yi Yoo (Uee) who wants Tae-kyung all for herself.




Then Mi-nyeo hears that the real Mi-nam, her twin brother, is on his way back to Korea. This could be a shocker and deal-breaker for everyone involved. Then he shows up (Shin Hye Park plays him too!) and more problems result for everyone involved. A big concert is planned: who will perform in it with the band: Mi-nyeo or Mi-nam? (They filmed this dramatic scene during a real rock concert where 25,000 fans showed up!). Will there be a dramatic unveiling of Mi-nyeo's real identity?

I have to admit I shed a few sentimental tears at the wonderful ending. I absolutely loved the last song Tae-kyung sings to Mi-nyeo. It's easy to see why You Are Beautiful has developed a huge cult following over the years. Don't miss it.

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