The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling


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Review: Beauty Inside

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Beauty Inside basically takes Dramaland’s recent-ish penchant for rom-coms with a distinct fantasy twist, deftly mashes it with a well-rounded, well-executed collection of classic rom-com tropes, casts two very capable and very attractive actors as our leads, and then scores it all with a very enjoyable OST sprinkled with everything from cheery-breezy tracks, to wistful-plaintive ballads, to big love anthems.

When Show is cute, it’s very cute, and when it’s angsty, happily, the angst doesn’t actually last very long. Seo Hyun Jin and Lee Min Ki are very good separately and together, and they bring enough goodies to the table that I feel content not to be too nitpicky about Show’s flaws. Just know that Show doesn’t try to be something deeper, and also, sometimes logic is a bit of a.. stretch. But hey, fantasy romance after all, right?

A good pick for when you’re in the mood to switch off the ol’ brain and sink into a good ol’ kdrama rom-com.

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118 Comments

Review: Answer Me, 1988 [Reply 1988]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Answer Me 1988 feels like a larger, bigger-hearted story than its predecessors, thanks to expanding its focus to its community of characters, rather than simply fixating on the leading lady’s husband and the lovelines that feed into it. The adult characters get as much narrative care and attention as their kids, and that helps to make this drama world feel altogether pretty balanced and whole. The entire cast is endearing and committed, and – despite a touch of green in spots with the delivery – exponentially add to Show’s generous earthy winsomeness.

It’s true that the handling of the ending is flawed, but overall, I still found this show to be charming, slice-of-life retro at its best.

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58 Comments

Review: Witch’s Romance

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A winsome little drama that is as charming as it is sweet, and boasts a good helping of fun on the side. Witch’s Romance may not be the most epic noona romance out there, but it’s certainly one of the most earnest and heartfelt.

While (almost) the entire cast is likable, it’s really the OTP that steals the show. Uhm Jung Hwa embodies cautious vulnerability beneath her strong, fearless veneer, while Park Seo Joon exudes a truly lovely blend of sincerity, earnestness and warmth. Individually, they deliver praise-worthy performances. Together, their chemistry feels so real and palpable that it sometimes leaps off the screen to knock you right over.

The writing falters at times and the execution is a little uneven, but with this wonderful, delightful puppy flashing this melty smile at you, it won’t hurt much, I promise.

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27 Comments

Review: Hot Young Bloods [Hot Blooded Youth]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A heartwarming coming-of-age movie disguised – and therefore heavily misidentified – as a campy comedy.

If you were to approach this movie expecting a dose of pure funny all the way through, I’m guessing you would walk away rather disappointed. It’s true that the (often coarse) comedy reigns supreme for a good stretch of the movie, taking up maybe 50% of total screentime (this is not an exacting number, it’s just my feel-o-meter talking). Eventually, though, the funny gives way to deeper, bigger, meatier things. There’s a good bit of melodramatic angst involved, but it’s played well, and it all serves a larger, more thoughtful message than what one might expect, given the initial camp: What does it mean to grow up? And what does it mean to stand up for what you believe in?

Excellent performances from both the youth and adult actors make this an engaging, ultimately satisfying watch, with a bit of thought-provoking on the side.

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