THE SHORT VERDICT:
This drama has a gorgeous color palette and the cinematography is excellent.
I thought Winter Sonata (done by the same PD) was pretty when I first watched it, but fast forward 8 years – that’s like a whole century in technology years – and everything is way, way prettier.
That’s the main – perhaps only – change, really. The PD maintains the rest of the style that he used in the Seasons dramas. The slow pace hasn’t changed. The bent towards classic melo and its associated tropes hasn’t changed.
Only go here if you’re feeling nostalgic for the Seasons dramas of yore.
THE LONG VERDICT:
The early set-up in the 70s was a little trying on the patience. I guess you really do need to be in the right mood for this show.
I found myself being bored by the slow pace, even though the cinematography was very pretty. The hairstyles on the men were awful and ugly, and the storyline is very much reminiscent of the Seasons dramas, and that feels way too old-school, somehow.
I found myself getting annoyed and impatient with Jang Geun Suk’s character for being so wishy washy. Have I mentioned how much I hated the hair?
Quite a lot of people enjoyed the episodes that were set in the 70s. I wasn’t one of them.
I found it way too slow, and basically, boring. I found it a welcome change of pace when the time skip happened.
After the time skip, the hair didn’t get better. It was just different. Ok, maybe the hair got just a tiny bit better.
I found the writing around the meeting and sparking of the OTP odd and uneven. I understood that they fell for each other, but I didn’t quite get how that happened or why, other than they were supposed to.
But ok, that happens in some other dramas too, and sometimes, you just have to suspend disbelief and go with it.
I was rewarded with several episodes that were truly cute, light and enjoyable. Jang Geun Suk’s and Yoona’s characters meeting and bickering, then denying the growing attraction, was the stuff that we kdrama romantics are always hungry for and are ever ready to lap up in spades.
That’s when I actually looked forward to the next episode, and I might have even done some back-to-back episodes. Alas, that was short-lived.
[MINOR SPOILER ALERT]
When the discovery of the parent pair was made, the story took a dive and everything became mostly mopey and sad with noble idiocy as the attitude of the day, with a sprinkling of sweet and cute thrown in very sparsely.
With the addition of the Evil Mother who thinks the entire world is at fault for her misery and owes her a living, and the back-and-forth plot mechanics towards the end, I became impatient for the drama to end. I had to literally endure the scenes with Evil Mother. Ugh.
[END MINOR SPOILER]
At this point, I feel like I should give Seo In Guk an honorable mention.
To be honest, Love Rain was where I first laid eyes on Seo In Guk. And I found both of his characters seriously annoying.
BUT. Then I watched Answer Me 1997 and I loved him to bits. And now on hindsight, I find him quite amusing in this show.
I mean, look at this:
So if you’re a Seo In Guk fan, I think you’d enjoy him in this. Context really is everything.
I think suspension of disbelief is the order of the day, if you want to even remotely enjoy Love Rain.
First of all, there’s that thing where almost every character in the 70s portion gets a doppelganger after the time skip. Even Seo In Guk gets cloned in the character of a nephew. Convenient, that, since his earlier character remained single and never had a son.
Also, the Evil Mother plot device gets really, really old by the time we get to the end of the series. Yes, she was easy to hate, but the writers also made the leads – and everyone else too, for that matter – look like idiots for basically indulging her very, v-e-r-y extended tantrum.
A big distraction was the hair. Specifically, Jang Geun Suk’s hair. It was bad in the 70s, but honestly, the stylists outdid themselves. Jang Geun Suk’s hair became uglier and uglier as the episodes progressed, and that’s saying a lot, coz he never had good hair at any point of the show anyway.
Conversely, Yoona’s hair got better and better as the show progressed, so that was some consolation.
I have such mixed feelings about this show.
The cinematography was pretty throughout, and the music was serviceable. And the final episode had some very pretty cinematography around the OTP. And like I said, Yoona’s hair was much prettier than Jang Geun Suk’s, so I rather liked looking at her hair, especially after the final time skip when she had long curls. So pretty.
In the end, though, I think the bits that I liked just don’t stack up well against Evil Mother. They never stood a chance against Evil Mother.
I can’t see myself watching this show again no matter how pretty it is.
Be very careful with this one. I know people who loved this to bits, and I know people who will never touch this one again. Sadly, I’m not one of those who loved this.
Timing is everything. You need to be in a very specific mood for this, and you need to be very, very nostalgic for the Seasons dramas.
Because this show will either feed your nostalgia, or kill it.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Pretty to look at, but more melodramatic than what it’s worth.
FINAL GRADE: C