No matter how I conclude this post, Love Rain will always be a special drama for me. I was going through a terrible slump in life where nothing seemed interesting to me. I stopped reading and watching dramas. I basically lost interest in everything till I told myself – That’s enough! I didn’t want to lie in that ditch for long so I decided to force myself to watch a drama. I thought I should watch my ‘eternal love’ Ji Chang Wook’s drama because I love him like crazy and knew that his drama would cheer me up. But one of his most popular dramas, Empress Ki has 50 long episodes and that’s a huge commitment for someone like me who cannot watch beyond 16 episodes. So, I turned to my ex-celebrity crush Jang Keun Suk and I am so glad I chose this drama. I do not care how flawed Love Rain was as a drama, I loved everything about it because I felt good watching it. It felt like the drama breathe new life in me. That is why I always say that Korean dramas changed my life.
Love Rain had been on my ‘to-watch’ list for an eternity. I did try watching it once but I gave up after the first ten minutes. I did not like the whole ‘love at first sight’ thing so I did not bother watching the drama. However, I recommended this drama to people who liked Jang Keun Suk and they all had great stuff to say about this drama which piqued my interest in it. Aforementioned, I finally made some time to watch the drama and now have mixed feelings about it. Though I loved the first half of the drama, the latter half disappointed me and I had to force myself to watch the drama.
Love Rain (2017) (20 episodes)
Seo In Ha (Jang Keun Suk) is a university student who falls in love with Kim Yoon Hee (Im Yoon Ah) the moment he sees her. They become friends and even share the same feeling for each other. However, circumstances do not favour them and they separate to set on different paths.
Several years later, In-ha’s son, Seo Joon (Jang Keun Suk) bumps into Yoon Hee’s daughter, Jung Ha Na (Im Yoon Ah) at a railway station, where she accidentally drops her phone in his pocket. Ha Na chases after Joon for her phone but he decides to not return the phone easily to her. They hate each other at first till Joon realises that he has fallen for her. He confesses his feelings for her and she too decides to go with it. Both of them start dating each other unaware that their parents In Ha and Yoon Hee have reunited after years of separation and have decided to marry each other.
Let’s weigh Love Rain, the idealistic love story spanning over generations, on our show beam balance and see if it is worth a watch or no.
Jang Keun Suk (JKS): Defiance and arrogance is what defines the character of Suh Joon, as the two qualities shield his vulnerabilities. Joon is starved for love. But he acts promiscuously because he is afraid of being hurt in love like his father. Suh Joon is egoistic but not selfish. He cares for his parents but often hurts them because they never really loved him the way he would want them to. Despite his tiff with his father, he decides to sacrifice his love for his father’s happiness. Joon is like his father when it comes to loving only one woman. However, if you ask me to pick one, I would pick Joon over In Ha only because Joon does not believe in stupid nobility and eventually goes for what his heart longs for. (I’m lying. I picked Joon only because he looks drop-dead gorgeous in that funky hairdo.)
Coming to actor Jang Keun Suk, can someone tell me why is Asia Prince JKS (that’s his nickname and also his Instagram profile id) so underrated? Why doesn’t he do good dramas when he is talented enough to pull off complicated roles? Jang Geun Suk is a complete package for a romantic drama. He not only has the looks but also the acting skill required for such roles. In Love Rain, he has played two characters. One is the reticent and withdrawn In Ha and the other is the rebellious and arrogant Joon. JKS portrays both the roles to perfection. His body-language, voice and even expressions are restrained when he plays In Ha of the 70’s. And he undergoes a complete transformation when he becomes Joon. His walk, his hair, his attire, his demeanour change so drastically that you see no traces of In Ha in him. It requires some serious talent to convince viewers of two starkly different characters and make them fall in love with both. I wonder if anybody else can carry off Joon’s quirky hairdo the way JKS rocks it.
Soulful OST: The album of the show is its highlight. The album is as romantic and emotional as the story. JKS ‘saaaaaaraaaaang’ still echoes in my ears as I try to croon the title track ‘Sarang Bi’. However, my favourite songs would be Again and Again by Yozoh and Because It’s You by Tiffany.
Sarang Bi by Jang Keun Suk
Again and Again by Yozoh
Because It’s You by Tiffany
And how can I forget Ha Na’s funny ringtone? I love it so much that it is now my ringtone as well. 😉
Classy Cinematography: Be it the yellow and brown toned 70’s or the colourful 2012, the drama’s cinematography was breathtaking. I loved the show’s colour palette and camera work. For instance, Joon and Ha Na’s first meeting at the railway station was beautifully shot with Ha Na’s face being backlit by the Sun. Similarly, the whole ‘Diamond Snow’ track looked divine in the snow clad mountain. Not to mention how hot JKS looked in that jacket.
Slow Paced Second Half: The plot of the drama is a treat for romance lovers but the story is flawed. I don’t know what Joon sees in Ha Na and why he likes her so much unless it is in his genes to fall for the same face over generations. Or maybe the ‘diamond snow’ myth worked its magic on him. Anyway, I will not rack my brains trying to justify an unlikely couple because every second couple I see in a drama seems unlikely to fall in love in the real world. So, l think I can spare myself the stress. So, the story is flawed in many ways but despite all the convenient ‘coincidences’ on the show, it is likeable. What isn’t likeable is the slow pace at which the story progresses after episode 12. The drama starts off at a slow pace then picks up and then dips again till it manages to look up a little before the finale. A few episodes in between i.e. episode 13 to 20 things get terribly slow and painful and boring. I fail to understand the point behind all the misery. The leads find it painful to face each other because of the whole ‘family’ situation they are in but are still always around each other. Is their city so small that they cannot help bumping into each other? The show could have been titled Love ‘Pain’ because the leads go through hell lot of pain to be with each other. However, I will not complain much because the drama gave me a much sorted ending unlike the Taiwanese drama ‘Devil Beside You’ which dealt with a similar ‘almost sibling’ love. I think the show writers had content for only 16 episodes but were forced to drag it beyond that which is why it got evidently dragged to four long and uninteresting episodes.
Wasted Supporting Cast: Why on earth does this character Jeon Sul exist? I can understand why Chang Mo existed in the first half. But what is his nephew doing in the second half? In fact, most of the side characters have nothing to add to the story. Barring the third angles i.e. Hye Jung, Mi Ho and Tae Sung, all the other supporting cast were wasted. Tae Sung looked like he was forced to like Ha Na because I was not convinced with his reason for liking Ha Na or even fighting with Joon for her. However, I liked Joon’s sidekick Jo Soo as he provided some comic relief in a rather dull show. Other than that, the supporting cast has no support to offer to the show.
Watching Love Rain post episode 12 was painful but I managed only because of Jang Keun Suk. Call me a silly fan girl but trust me, had it not been for him, I really would not have endured 8 utterly dull episodes. Yoon Ah cannot act. At least she couldn’t in this drama. I hardly remember any change of expression on her beautiful face. The supporting cast does well in their respective roles and limited screen time.
I give Love Rain 2.5 out of 5 rating. Love Rain helped me out of my drama slump but it may not necessarily overwhelm you. It is a sweet love story gone insipid towards the end. If you are a fan of Jang Keun Suk then do watch this as he nails it as Joon. If you don’t know who JKS is then do watch this drama as you will definitely fall in love with him. If you don’t care who JKS is, then skip this one as you may not be able to endure the second half.