Our Beloved Summer – First Thoughts

Name: Our Beloved Summer
Writer/director: Lee Na Eun / Kim Yoon Jin
Date: December 2021
Number of episodes: 16
Genre: Comedy / Slice of live / Romance
Based on book/manga?: Yes, based on the webtoon “That Year We” by Lee Lee Naeun and Han Kyoung Chal

Why did I press play? The plot is fresh and intriguing, and Kim Da Mi was brilliant in “Itaewon Class”, and I wanted to see her in something else.

After the first two episodes, I wasn’t that keen on this drama. It felt like many of the moderns ones that try too hard to be alternative and “real”. Luckily I was waiting for new episodes of Luoyang to air, and continued watched this drama in the meantime. As it turns out, this drama gets better and better the further you go into the story. There is that edgy element of realism, but the comedy sprinkled throughout the episodes creates a delightful atmosphere. 

Each of the characters, including all the supporting characters, have district personalities, and is at the extreme end of those personas. But what the show does it have all the characters never cross the line of being ridiculous. I have never seen this done so well before. So you can really enjoy everyone without ever cringing. This element is probably the start of the show and what sets it apart from its peers. 

The love story is also unique and marvelously written. The two leads dating for 9 years, then broke up, and meet 5 years later. It’s clear as day that both have never moved on from each other, not even an inch. Part from their careers developing, they are in arrested development. As Lee Sol yi says “they haven’t changed at all. They are still a nuisance to everyone around them,” she says this with sassiness, but means no harm. 

The chemistry and tension between this is raw, and almost tangible. The climax at the episode 8 blows you over. I must have watched that scene three times. 

The male lead, Choi Woong isn’t exactly swoon worthy, but as the story progresses, he becomes incredibly attractive, and worthy of male lead. Again, there is this perfect balance of showing his quirkiness and weakness/faults, but then also his initiative and masculinity. I found myself rooting and empathizing with him most of all. Choi Woo Shik acting is also top notch. It’s so natural, only the character exists 

The female lead, Kim Da Mi is a brilliant actress, there is no doubt about that, and she brings that raw talent to this drama. She is pleasure to watch in every scene. With no surprise, Gook Yeon Soo’s is also brilliantly written. When is comes to her Gook Yeon Soo, the story emphasis, her subtle growth, self-awareness, and honesty and vulnerability with herself.

Truly one of the best mature Korean dramas of the year.

Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?
Choi Woong played by Choi Woo Shik (male lead)
Gook Yeon Soo played by Kim Da Mi (female lead)
Kim Ji Woong played by Kim Sung Chul (high school friend and in charge of the documentary)
NJ played by Roh Jeong Eui (celebrity)
Koo Eun Ho played by Ahn Dong Goo (Woong’s manager)
Lee Sol Yi played by Park Jin Joo (Yeon Soo’s best friend)

Theme: I think the theme will only become clear towards the end.

What it’s good for? Pajamas, a quiet house, and to absorbed into a gratifying story.

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