I Need Romance – First Impressions

This drama is refreshingly… modern. I say that with the thought of how Korean dramas usually are when it comes to love lives of singles. It’s honest and sassy, and I’d say a little edgier than Woman Who Still Wants to Marry. I feel like in I Need Romance, the girls are more open and talkative about their lives – much like Soulmate. In Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, I think friendship between the girls was the core. Here, I feel like love and the dating life is the core.

I mean, when the first scene is a make-out scene, you know you’re in for a lot of kissing, sex, and frank talk about relationships.

The opening sequence already sounds like Sex and the City, and I’m not sure I like that it just so blatantly rips from the HBO series. The soundtrack in general also has a whiff of “Amelie,” which always scores points in my book. But anyways, moving on to the story…

Sun Woo In Young (Jo Yeo Jung) is a 33-year old hotel manager who is in a ten-year relationship with Kim Sung Soo (Kim Jeong Hoon), an aspiring film director who is also her junior by a little. They had met at 23, when In Young was attending a (failed) class reunion and Sung Soo had gone to see this “friend of a friend” that he was so curious about. I think he had a crush on her since way back, and thus was the only one who showed up at this reunion.

They share a small kiss after first meeting, and it blossomed into a long-term relationship where they are like a married couple, but not yet official. People around In Young even wonder if she’s really dating anyone, as she hasn’t gotten a ring yet.

Her two best friends are Park Seo Yeon (Choi Yeo Jin) who is a self-acclaimed maneater, and Kang Hyun Joo (Choi Song Hyun – totally different from her role in Prosecutor Princess), a shy 33-year old virgin who just got engaged. Seo Yeon disapproves of her two friends – one has no sex experience, and the other can’t get her man to commit with a ring.

Things get worse when In Young finds out through her coworker Sung Hyun (Choi Jin Hyuk) that a) her boyfriend of 10 years is debuting as a director with a new film, b) his premiere is the next day, and c) he had an interview with a news magazine already about it. She’s disappointed that he doesn’t tell her any of these things, and when she confronts him, Sung Soo says that he didn’t want her to see his terrible movie. He’s ashamed of it and only did it for the money. He’d rather invite In Young to the movie he’s actually proud of.

That goes over well with In Young until she gets a call from actress Yoon Kang Hee (Ha Yun Joo), who is helping a very drunk Sung Soo home. The cast and crew had all gone out to party together, and Sung Soo got terribly wasted. Immediately In Young feels threatened. When an interview with Kang Hee announcing her relationship with Sung Soo is released the next day, In Young falls into a trance, not understanding how she lost Sung Soo so quickly.

Sung Hyun – who clearly harbors a crush for her – cheers her up by dragging her for a run, taking her to eat lunch, and jumping on a trampoline with her while pretending that he doesn’t really know the true reason for her glum mood. It is with his help that In Young realizes she needs to cut her losses quickly. As Seo Yeon had said, if he’s not going to marry her now, he may not marry her ever.

In Young confronts Sung Soo: does he like Kang Hee as well? Sung Soo can’t help but be honest; he’s attracted to Kang Hee but he’s still in love with In Young. He doesn’t want to lose In Young. Well boy, you can’t have it both ways, and under the same streetlight where they shared their first kiss, In Young gives him one last passionate kiss and breaks up with him.

Comments:

Kim Jeong Hoon is all grown up. It’s kind of weird to see him tackle these roles when he’s so baby-faced. He’s doing well – and I like him a lot here more than in Goong. But he’s so…baby-faced. Anyways. The three girls are falling into the stereotypes of “innocent girl,” “seductress,” and “girl-in-between.” I’m kind of bored of those stereotypes so I hope they play around it a little more. Hyun Joo’s love life won’t be perfect, as when she tried to get to base 3 with her fiancee, he immediately stopped their make-out session and bid her good night. Suspicious. He’s either seeing someone else, or he’s gay.

I’m enjoying the girls because they feel so relatable, like my best friends. They manage to act effortlessly, so I never feel like I’m watching a drama, but am watching a slice of life. (What is up with all these slice-of-life dramas? Is that the trend this summer too?) One stylistic approach that I do like is how they sometimes take snapshots of scenes as if they’re snapshots of the characters’ memories. It adds to the whole “slice of life” approach, and feels like a movie than a drama.

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