Will it Snow For Christmas?
크리스마스에 눈이 올까요?
SBS (2010) 16 Episodes
Romantic Melodrama, Grade: A

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
(Some Spoilers)

OST Song Ave Maria by Libera

Wonderful, old-fashioned, melodramatic K-drama storytelling at its best, Will It Snow For Christmas? (2010) really has nothing to do with the holiday, rather I think the title is symbolic for rebirth or regeneration for the characters, who are yearning to escape their sadness as winter is approaching. Everyone knows how Koreans practically worship snow in their dramas; there are always scenes showing the characters gazing at it or playing in it while looking very happy, so we have to wonder if that will happen for these four characters who have led such angst-filled lives. If you like a full-fledged, heavy-duty melodrama about the sins of parents visiting themselves upon their unhappy children years later then this is your story.
The cliffhangers on this one are particularly addictive - you can't stop watching! You just HAVE to know what's going to happen next.

Intelligent acting abounds from everyone in this exceptional cast, and a very smooth flow of story. The drama never seems to bog down in the middle like so many other dramas do, particularly the ones that are twenty episodes or more. At sixteen episodes this one is just right. Enough people must have liked it, for YA Entertainment, who put out superior legit DVD box-sets of Korean dramas for people in America, decided to create a nice one for this show. They have since gone out of business and all their OOP DVD box-sets for Korean dramas are going for astronomical prices ... most of the time ... but sometimes you can pick one up for a song on Amazon or eBay; just keep an eye out.

A young Kim Soo Hyun: look at this perfect face!
The kid was born to be an actor and a model
... and he sings beautifully too!

A young Kim Soo Hyun (My Love From Another Star) appears in the first two episodes and in flashback scenes later. How utterly beautiful that boy looked in this drama. I took numerous snapshots of him (can't you tell I adore him? heehee). He plays the main lead actor's (Go Soo from Empire Of Gold and Green Rose) character as a teenager. He gave such a tender performance that my heart ached for him. Also in the cast for the young people's part of the story is a young Joong Ki Song (A Werewolf Boy, Descendants Of The Sun) as the main girl's older brother who ends up dying by drowning. In the short time he is in the drama he makes his mark well with his loving attitude toward his troubled younger sister. In the show his character drowns looking for a necklace that was important to her, which had dropped into a river from over a bridge. For years she suffers guilt afterward for his death.

A young Joong Ki Song 
moments before his character drowns

The young actress Ji Hyun Nam who plays the main female lead character as a teenager is just a fantastic actress (she played the younger version of Hye Sun Gu's character in Angel Eyes and I've enjoyed her in other works as well, such as 100 Days My Prince). It's to the point I am following her now and will watch anything she is in. She literally becomes the characters she plays. It's truly mind bogging how great she is at such a young age: a total natural.

Ji Hyun Nam gets to play opposite two of the most popular
and best Korean actors in Will It Snow For Christmas?
Lucky her!

One of the actors, Jo Hong Song - the 2nd male lead  - played the evil villain in The Suspicious Housekeeper. Man, was he a looker in that show, and in this drama Will It Snow At Christmas? three years earlier, he's even cuter. Be still my aching heart. Yet another example of 2nd Male Leaditis Syndrome here in this drama - where at times you want the main female lead to end up with the second male lead and not the first male lead! It's definitely an often occurring occupational hazard of watching many Korean dramas.


Handsome as the devil, actor Jo Hong Song,
plays Good in Will It Snow For Christmas? (left) &
  Evil in The Suspicious Housekeeper 3 years later (right)

The lead male (the adult character) is played by the subdued, quiet spoken actor Go Soo (I've seen him in more movies than dramas, a particular standout being White Night with Ye Jin Son, a role that knocked my socks off). His character was warm and sympathetic here, even when he was troubled. He rarely lashed out at anyone but kept his feelings in check. He acted a lot with his eyes (see below - you can hear him thinking, "Oh my goodness, it's HER!"). Also, I definitely noticed that Kim Soo Hyun (playing his character as a teenager) went to school on the older actor's mannerisms; Soo Hyun pegged him perfectly, even to the way he rubs the back of his neck, or rarely smiles, but when he does smile the Charm could fill a stadium with warm fuzzies. His leading lady was actress Ye Seul Han (Madame Antoine), and she was also a quiet soul, very sweet, longing to be loved. People in the drama kept disappointing her but she just kept going with hope that her life would improve. These two absolutely had great chemistry together; they needed each other but there were always obstacles and a sense of duty to something higher than themselves that stood in the way of their personal happiness.


Ye Seul Han and Go Soo as childhood sweethearts
meeting again as adults years later at an engagement party

The woman who comes between them out of jealousy is played by Woo Sun Sun, second female lead, who was new to me, but she played bitchy very well. Her character was very hard to like, though once in awhile she managed to get some sympathy out of me. She was high strung and pouty and demanding. I guess every melodrama has to have a character like this, but that doesn't mean I have to like her! When she loses Tae Joon's affections she moves on to Jin Cha and attempts to gain his love. How pathetic women like her are. Just keep looking and find one who isn't attached to another woman, for heaven's sake! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that's the best way to be happy. But some women just don't care if the men they are interested in are taken or obligated to another ... it's full speed ahead, and let's try every trick in the book to win him from the other woman. Nasty.

Sure! Let's get rid of my competition
by getting another job for the girl both men love!

The Story: Kang Jin Cha (Kim Soo Hyun when young, Go Soo in adulthood) grows up in a poor family who is constantly on the move in their pick-up truck. He has a mentally retarded brother named Boo San (Kim Ki Bang) whom he has to look after (shades of It's Okay To Not Be Okay), while his mother, Chun Hee Cha (FABULOUS actress Min Soo Jo, Sandglass) works as a barmaid in numerous places. Mom promises Jin Cha a new start in her own hometown when
Jin Cha is a teenager, but once they arrive and settle in Chun Hee falls back into her old flirtatious ways with men, opening a bar that draws a group of undesirables every day. Poor Kang Jin Cha!

Powerful Early Scenes
With Kim Soo Hyun - He Even Speaks English!

Jin Cha is forced to watch helplessly from the sidelines as his mother hangs out with men who abuse her, he gets into fights with other high school students to protect his mother's honor, all the while trying to deal with his growing feelings for a feisty classmate named Han Ji Wan (Nam Ji Hyun when young, Ye Seul Han as an adult) who at first screams at him due to his mother cutting down a banner her brother had made, but who ends up defending him against bullying, and starting to love him in her own way.

When Her Brother Drowns

In his turn Jin Cha, a very bright boy, offers to tutor Ji Wan in subjects she has a hard time in, like English. They start to grow very close and then tragedy strikes when Ji Wan suddenly must leave town quickly after the death of her brother Ji Yong Han (Joong Ki Song) by drowning, which causes her mother Young Sook Seo (Do Yun Kim) to have a mental breakdown. Her father Joon Hoo (Ho Jin Chun), a private practice family doctor, had in the past had a love relationship with Jin Cha's flamboyant mother Chun Hee, and his wife Young Sook had known of this, which didn't help matters for her fragile mental state when the Cha family had arrived and become troublesome to their lives. They were rather looked on as outcasts in the small town they all live in. Then her only son dying by drowning was the straw that broke the camel's back. She never was quite the same again mentally. Ji Wan doesn't even say goodbye to Jin Cha before leaving, which scars him for years.

Fabulous actress Min Soo Jo plays
Kang Jin's emotional mother Chun Hee Cha

I must say something more specific about the incredible actress who plays Jin Cha's barmaid mother Min Soo Jo. She is a character that at first glance most people would dislike, rough around the edges, borderline immoral, but yet despite everything happening in her rocky life she loves her two sons deeply. The scenes between her and both Kim Soo Hyun and Go Soo were the most rewarding and bittersweet to me in the drama. When he was a teen she would lay her head on his chest at night and pour out her troubles -- he would pretend to be asleep but he was listening to every word. When Jin Cha grows up they really work hard to heal their rocky mother-son relationship; for instance, though they are in different cities for awhile, she calls him every night and asks for him to sing to her over the phone. Then one night they are both particularly sad and she tells him she'll sing to him instead. This was one of my favorite scenes in the drama, which you can watch below. The song she sings has special meaning to her and her own past love relationship with the doctor father of Ji Wan, but also to Jin Cha and his troubling feelings for the older Ji Wan, who is engaged to another man.

Mom Sings A Lullaby
To Her Grown Son

Jin Cha finally finds Ji Wan again eight years later --- suddenly, when he least expects to -- at her engagement party to another man, businessman Tae Joon Park (Jong Ho Song)! Kang Jin was never able to forget the girl he loved in high school, whom he hurt so badly, and then lost. After discovering that Ji Wan's fiance Tae Joon is his own co-worker, the three soon become hopelessly entangled in each other's lives. They all work at the same company run by female executive Woo Jung Lee (Woo Sun Sun), who had loved Tae Joon for a long time and wants to live with him, arranging for an apartment where they can enjoy each other's company apart from work. She's none too thrilled that he's fallen for Ji Wan and wants to marry her. 

At first Ji Wan does not recognize the older Jin Cha and then when she does she tries to disregard their past love history, unwilling to stir the cauldron bubbling underneath all their lives, but she soon discovers that the dark history between their two families cannot be ignored. Neither can their sensual attraction to one another be ignored for long. Then a crazy thing occurs, when Ji Wan's mentally fragile mother sees Jin Cha as an adult --- and thinks he is her dead son returned to her! The kindly Jin Cha plays along, so as not to hurt her feelings, but it's a really bad deception that negatively affects his relationship with Ji Wan, who is no longer engaged to Tae Joon and finally ready to accept true love into her lonely life. At the same time Ji Wan's father, the doctor, is struggling with renewed romantic feelings toward Jin Cha's mother, who has returned to her home town once again.

Who will be the winners and the losers in these strange love and revenge games they're all playing? Will Jin Cha and Ji Wan ever have a chance to be together as a committed couple? Will they be able to let go of past hurts and bitterness? 

Beautifully shot, wistful, and emotionally complex, Will It Snow For Christmas? is a not to be missed melodrama for those who love old-fashioned love stories.