Sorry, I Love You 미안하다 사랑한다 (2004) KBS 16 Episodes
Romantic Melodrama / Classic / Grade: A+
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
Sorry, I Love You (2004) was a 16 episode,
monumental and historic Hallyu television hit series
made by Koreans, but popular all throughout the Asian
world, and the K-drama that launched countless viewers
around the world, even in the West, into the
magnificence of Korean drama for the first time.
Including myself. It was my very first Korean drama that
I watched, in 2006, and I was hooked. Over a decade
later and hundreds of K-dramas watched, I'm still
hooked. I feel sorry for anyone in the USA who has never
watched a Korean drama. They don't know what excellence
they are missing. American television today is 99% trash
and unwatchable. South Korea is a great respite from it.
I Love You (otherwise abbreviated as MISA, for "Mianhada, Saranghanda"
in Korean) is a thoroughly addictive show, because it
develops its plot lines slowly, passionately, and you
really begin to care about the characters; you grieve
when they are sad, and are joyful when they are happy.
The leads are all very attractive people (especially the
awesome and incredibly handsome Jisub So as Mu-hyeok,
and the little dynamo Su-jeong Im as Eunchae, who was
brilliant in the Korean classic horror film A Tale
Of Two Sisters), and their acting is realistic,
intense, evocatively emotional, and often funny as well.
The music soundtrack (OST) is beautiful too - so popular
that KBS released two different CD sets for it), and the
production values are excellent. It was filmed on
location in Australia at the beginning of the show, and
then the story moves to Korea.
story revolves around Mu-hyeok Cha - a street
hustler, petty gangster, growing up homeless in
Australia after his Australian adoptive parents evicted
him as a young man - who is shot in the head at the
wedding of a woman he loved, Ji Young Moon (actress Yeo Jin Choi).
She was marrying a rich gangster for his money, yet
Mu-hyeok, still deeply in love with her, risks his own
life to save hers when an assassin shows up to kill the
wedding couple. He throws himself into harm's way to
save her. The doctors cannot remove the bullet that
lodged in Mu-hyeok's brain as he tried to save her, and
they give him only a few months to live.
Ji Young gives him a lot of money and tells him to
return to his homeland of Korea to die. He goes and
makes a search for his birth mother, named Deul-hee Oh (actress Hye-yeong Leefrom
Over Flowers), whom he
believes gave him up for adoption because of financial
hardship. When he finds her he is shocked to discover
that she is rich, lives in a mansion, and has another
grown son named Choi Yune (played by actor Kyung
Ho Jung) who lives with her in luxury, and so
Mu-hyeok purposely doesn't reveal his identity to her, but instead
plans to take his revenge on her and his pampered
Along the way he discovers he has a mentally-challenged
twin sister named Seo Kyung Yoon (an outstanding performance
by actress Hye-Jin
Jun), an adorable nephew named Galchi (cutie-pie
Park), who was born to his sister after she was raped,
and he falls in love with a gentle, humble girl named
Eunchae Song (Su Jeong Im), who works as a personal
assistant for his famous singer brother Yune, but who
comes from a poor, dysfunctional family who neglect to
give her the love she requires, including her
emotionally distant parents (actor Young Ha Lee and
actress Hye Ok Kim), silly older sister Sook-Chae (Ji
Yeong Ok), and hilariously funny younger sister Minchae
Eunchae is at first attracted to Yune, and thinks she
loves him, but then begins a growing interest and
attachment to Mu-hyeok. He just seems so lonely that her
heart goes out to him. Meanwhile, Mu-hyeok is
intentionally trying to target Yune's love, Min-Joo Kang
(actress Ji-young Seo), in a sexual ploy to further hurt
actor in this show is perfect for their roles, including
a secretive adopted "grandfather" named Hyun Suk Min
(wonderful actor Goo Shin, from the great K-drama Thank
You, written by the same writer of I'm
Sorry, I Love You), who watches over the mentally
challenged adult sister and nephew of Mu-hyeok, but who
has his own private agenda of revenge, which is revealed
later in the drama.
Over time Mu-hyeok begins a mellowing process, as he
falls deeper and deeper in love with Eunchae. Will he
continue to cling to bitterness and revenge until the
end of his life, or will he find the grace to forgive
those he believed wronged him?
Many surprises are in store for the viewer (and
Mu-hyeok!) during this series, right up to the last
scenes. There is also some wonderful humor to relieve
the dramatic tension. Jisub So and Su-jeong Im have
a potent chemistry together seldom seen on screen in
either films or television shows, even in the very
best K-dramas. They don't require words to communicate
with one another .... simply being in each others'
presence, and gazing at one another in rapture ....
suffices. This is the kind of love and attachment
so many people yearn for in their lives but never find.
I personally feel that Mu-hyeok is drawn to the motherly
side of Eunchae, since he lacked a real mother for most
of his life. This is obvious in several scenes, for
instance, when she helps a child in distress, or rescues
a stuffed animal carelessly thrown away. Mu-hyeok is
amazed at her devotion toward anyone or anything in
distress. It causes him to begin to re-evaluate his own
sad, bitter life.
really adored this show. I have watched it several times
over the years and always see something new in it; it
remains etched in my heart forever, a top favorite
romantic Korean drama despite the hundreds I have
watched, and everyone I have recommended it to has
become just as hooked as I was! It's just as addictive
as those famous British - PBS series such as Upstairs,
Downstairs or The Forsyte Saga or The
Duchess of Duke Street - made in the West in the
1970's! Except the stars are all Korean! Or just as
addictive as Downton Abby is today!
seeing I'm Sorry, I Love You. It is unique and
special in the world of K-drama, utilizing few
conventional K-drama storytelling stereotypes. You will
shed many tears watching this drama, so stock up on
~ These last two images sum up
the tragedy of Mu-hyeok's motherless life ~
an episode of the Korean show Star Date, nine
years after I'm Sorry, I Love You was made, the
interviewer asked Jisub So fans, while he was in
earshot, "What is your favorite Jisub So drama?" and
without exception all of them said, "I'm Sorry, I Love
You!" The interviewer then asked actor Jisub So what he
thought about I'm Sorry, I Love You so many
years later, and he looked directly into the camera and
said, "The best drama ever made." Confirmed by the best
actor in South Korea! Do not miss it for the world!