A darling, upbeat blast into the past, reflecting a time when Korean dramas were still sweet and innocent and just plain FUN to watch, A Love So Beautiful (2020-21) captivated me immediately with the exuberance of its perfect cast, who all had terrific, sublime chemistry together! Because I'm older I usually tend to avoid the youth dramas, but I am so glad I made an exception and checked this one out: it was so great that I ultimately couldn't follow any other Korean drama running at the same time, and I put several on the back-burner to watch later. This one captured all my attention. :) That is the greatest compliment I can make for any Korean drama. Frankly, this one made me realize how tired I was getting of all the darker-themed K-dramas the Korean entertainment industry has been making lately. With the world under such stress because of the Covid-19 pandemic it was like a breath of fresh air to watch a show so clean and old-fashioned, with good morals seen throughout, and characters who remained friends during all their formative years into adulthood. If I could make an analogy to American television dramas, it was like going back in time to clean-cut teen and family-oriented shows like The Waltons or Happy Days in the 1970's. So refreshing!
Most of the young cast here were new to me, and that was nice, too, to watch some fresh faces for a change. I was particularly entranced by the leading lady, So Ju Yeon; she is a fantastic actress, and she had me smiling and laughing throughout most of the story. I could tell she was in her twenties in real life, but the makeup artists did a great job transforming her into a teenager for most of the drama. She was superb at playing a shy young thing, and she ended up being my favorite character of all.
I also had quite a case of Second Male Leaditis (what I call the phenomenon of liking the second male lead character more than the first male lead character) in actor Yeo Hoi Hyeon (While You Were Sleeping, film The Last Princess), but as the story progressed I did warm up to the first male lead character, played by Kim Yo Han, quite a bit. His character was just more awkward in expressing his feelings for the female lead character, more standoffish at first, but as time went on it was clearer to the audience that he had fallen head over heels for her, and my heart softened toward him. The main supporting characters, played by Cho Hye Joo and Jeong Jin Hwan, were also a total blast to watch, too, and had me giggling quite a lot throughout the series. The show wouldn't have been the same without them. Really, the chemistry between all of these actors was just dynamite, and helped carry the show into the Excellence A+ Category for me. This drama was made previously by the Chinese, but after seeing this wonderful Korean version, there's no way it could compare for me to this fine delectable concoction of a Korean production.
We begin our story In the Springtime of 2006, and are introduced to several high school classmates who are friends sitting in the same classroom together everyday. They include shining personality and artistic (but not the greatest student in the world) Shin Soli (So Ju Yeon) who is seventeen years old, and who has a huge crush on quiet, smart student Cha Heon (Kim Yo Han) who wants to be a doctor. We also meet Woo Dae Sung (Yeo Hoi Hyeon), an athletic student, excellent at swimming, and he has a not so secret crush on Shin Soli. There's also attractive female student Kang Ha Young (Cho Hye Joo), closest to Shin Soli, who has a crush on the school doctor. Last but not least, we meet be-speckled and funny Jeong Jin Hwan (Jeong Jin Hwan, same name as his character), the class clown, who has his own unrequited crush on Kang Ha Young.
Scenes and Funny Bloopers
Also on the sidelines is a class troublemaker, Wang Se Hyeong (Kim Dong Kyu), who sometimes breaks out of his dark side to help other students in need, ultimately proving himself a good guy. Another pretty female student, named Oh Hui Ji (Park Ji Won), has a crush on Cha Heon as well, and sometimes that brings her into conflict with Shin Soli, although they ultimately end up burying any hatchets and remaining friends. Hui Ji becomes dependent on painkiller drugs but ultimately breaks free of the addiction.
Shin Soli's parents (Jo Ryun, Yoon Seo Hyun) are salt of the earth, funny types to watch; they encourage their daughter in her love for Cha Heon. Cha Heon lives with his father (Lee Dong Kyu), his mother having passed away earlier in his life. In flashbacks we see that Shin Soli and Cha Heon had originally met in childhood, so it's endearing to see their "first love" romance blossom over time.
All the closest classmates often get together after school to go to events together. As time goes by the school doctor leaves and Jeong Jin Hwan develops a serious illness, which finally causes Ha Young to realize she actually loves Jin Hwan. At the same time swimming student Dae Sung has some physical problems as well that might negatively affect his desired career as a professional swimming champ. Shin Soli offers emotional support but it's clear to Dae Sung that she still loves Cha Heon. He backs off from pursuing her time and time again, and tries to just remain friends with her, calling her affectionately "brother!" and helping her when she's in need and Cha Heon isn't around.
Eventually after high school graduation we watch all the friends go to college together, graduate, and go on to promising careers. Jin Hwan and Ha Young get married, Shin Soli temporarily breaks up with Cha Heon when he goes to America to study medicine, but they eventually end up together when he returns to Korea. Soli becomes a web toon artist, and creates a popular web toon called - you guessed it! - A Love So Beautiful. Eventually Cha Heon and Soli become engaged. Swimming star Dae Sung meets a female doctor friend of Cha Heon's, named Dr. Seo Ji Su (Yang Yu Jin), and sparks seem to fly between them, leading one to suspect that Dae Sung will finally have a romance of his own.
If you are tired of all the darker-themed Korean dramas that seem to proliferate these days, then definitely give A Love So Beautiful your undivided attention. It's filled with irrepressible charms! You won't regret it, I promise! I'm sure I'll be watching it again whenever my spirits need to be lifted from all the trouble in the world today. Enjoy!