A Thousand Days' Promise
천일의 약속 (2011) SBS 20 Episodes
Family Melodrama, Grade: C+

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA


I will have to be brutally honest about why this slickly produced 2011 Korean melodrama A Thousand Days' Promise did not appeal to me and why it's near the bottom of my favorites' list. This is going to be a pretty short review compared to most of my other K-drama reviews!

Rare Full OST

One: this is a show about a 30 year old female character who is diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer's Disease, a form of dementia which is the same disease that killed my own father. I understand all too well the pace and progression of this disease, watching my father decline week by week, month by month, until he didn't know who I was, or who his grandchildren were. So therefore I knew going in that I was going to have to steel my emotions to some degree from becoming too intense as the character went through the progression of her disease.

What I wasn't prepared for was that SHE HARDLY SHOWS ANY REAL SIGNS OF THE DISEASE until near the END of the 20 episode show! Where was the truth about this horrible nightmare of a profound and fatal mental illness upon the woman and her family? I ended up being more frustrated and bored watching the character's supposed "ordeal". The writers did a terrible job. Then I was horrified to see that the characters even brought a baby into the world, knowing the mother had this disease!!! (I think the husband was just as much out of his mind as the wife was, with that bad decision!). A child will grow up with a permanent wound in their heart if they grow up without a mother, whether it's acknowledged publicly or not.


Two: Soo Ae. The lead actress was not one of my favorites when I watched this drama in 2011. She isn't naturally pretty, she needs lots of hair, makeup, and special camera angles to look attractive, and she strikes me as morose much of the time in her characterizations. Although I have since liked her in other roles much better, for this role they really needed someone more sympathetic as an actress, like Ye Jin Son was in A Moment To Remember (the 2004 superb Korean movie classic on the same subject, which I highly recommend you watch instead).

Three: Lead actor Kim Rae Won. I liked him earlier in his career, but he's not aging well, he's pretty much gone to pot physically. I read he might have alcohol problems and it showed here. Sorry to be so blunt, but the cute young man of the films ...ing (2003), My Little Bride (2004), and the K-drama Love Story In Harvard (2004) is GONE.

Four: Very early on in this drama they show a sex scene between the two main characters. I HATE THAT! I barely know who these characters are and they show me a sex scene between them? Where's the class in that? That's like something a typically crass American show would portray. Immediately I was turned off and against my better judgment continued watching this turkey, hoping against hope it would get better, and because I found myself loving the gorgeous music score -- to me the only truly redeeming, beautiful aspect of this K-drama! I particularly love Sung Si Kyung's song One Love and the main title theme called Pain.

Five: This drama is highly unrealistic when it comes to the nature of the typical man. Here Kim Rae Won's character is engaged to another woman but having sex with Soo Ae's character (so we already know off the bat he's a selfish, lying heel), and then just a few days before his marriage to the other woman he hears Soo Ae's character has Alzheimer's disease and he suddenly drops the fiance and marries Soo Ae instead!!! Now, do you know a single man in real life, one who has already proven himself a cheater, who would knowingly marry a woman with Alzheimer's when he could marry a healthy woman without the condition? I just laughed at the whole ridiculous, contradictory premise of this show!

Incredibly, this dull, poorly written show got pretty good ratings, over 20%, and I simply don't understand why. Guess the people who liked it really have no clue what Alzheimer's Disease really is about: it's not just losing your memory, it's losing your bodily functions, your sense of reality, language, and to a great extent your entire humanity; you become simply a "vegetable".

I made the mistake of buying a DVD box set on Amazon sight unseen, which I promptly resold after viewing. I didn't even want to keep it in my own K-drama library! There are many other, far better Korean dramas to watch than this one.