What Does ‘Love in Sadness’ Have Going For It Beside A Scandal?

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Ryu Soo Young plays an abusive husband in ‘Love in Sadness.’

MBC

Love in Sadness is an interesting blend of the soapier kind of  Korean drama, updating a 40s noir plot, sprinkled with some Hallmark Channel-worthy flower allegories, some fine poetry, and plenty of lovely cinematography.

It also has one standout performance. Every time Ryu Soo Young is on the screen viewers may sink back into their seats in terror.

Ryu plays Kang In Wook, a successful businessman who spent his life under the thumb of his cruel father. He takes more abuse than he should from his father, who he was once terrified of and is now desperately eager to please. Instead of learning from his father’s abusive behavior, which ultimately resulted in his mother’s death, he perpetrates it by locking up his wife and brutalizing her. The frightened wife, Yoo Ma Ri, played alternately by Park Ha Na and then Park Han Byul, turns to a plastic surgeon for help, because she feels the only way she can escape—in a world with extensive CCTV coverage—is to alter her face.

The kind hearted surgeon, played by the ever affable Ji Hyun Woo is the opposite of her husband. He wishes only the best for her but winds up giving Yoon Ma Ri the face of his beautiful yet indifferent late wife, Woo Ha Kyung. Generally the kind doctor alters people’s faces to help them overcome injury or disfigurement but in this case, his motives might be more complicated.

The theme of plastic surgery giving a person a chance at a new life and altering their perception of the world inspired two 40s noir films. In A Woman’s Face a blackmailer’s disfigurement made her see the world in a different way. In Dark Passage, a man undergoes surgery to hide from the law. Both those themes are at play in this drama as Yoon Ma Ri sees life differently with her new face but is also in hiding.

The plot offers many dualities, comparing the difference between the two Woo Ha Kyungs, one of whom is kind. The other is not. It compares life before and after plastic surgery, as well as how Ji Hyun Woo’s character Seo Jung Woo is the complete opposite of Kang in Wook. While there are shades of gray in both characters, they are still so far apart that Ryu is shot a lot in black and white, while Ji is often captured in warm colors and surrounded by flowers.

Ryu Soo Young is really bone chilling as the obsessive, cold-hearted and yet so desperately vulnerable husband. His gaze is meant to send chills and when he glares at anyone who gets in his way, he does so with the cold fury of a snake-haired Gorgon. He wants to find his wife and lock her up in a cage, slowly shredding and devouring her sense of self.

It’s a common theme in k-dramas that an innocent character will be abused by unbridled power and that good people do not always realize they have the means to fight back. When they do realize that they have agency, power can crumble in ways that have far-reaching implications. Ironically, its a theme that also plays out in the real-life drama that has created negative associations for Love in Sadness.

The drama received negative publicity because the main actress, Park Han Byul, is married to Yoo In Suk, one of the alleged key players in the Burning Sun scandal. As a partner in Yuri Holdings, with Big Bang’s Seungri, he was implicated in allegations of violence and drugs, as well as possible police bribery, taking place in the Burning Sun nightclub. The MBC drama began broadcasting in late February and when the scandal broke had only completed a few episodes. Some viewers requested that Park Han Byul be removed from the drama, because she was married to Yoo In Suk, but the drama’s producers did not agree and she remains for the 40-episode drama. The unfolding plot will provide an interesting comparison with the real-life scandal.

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Ryu Soo Young plays an abusive husband in ‘Love in Sadness.’

MBC

Love in Sadness is an interesting blend of the soapier kind of  Korean drama, updating a 40s noir plot, sprinkled with some Hallmark Channel-worthy flower allegories, some fine poetry, and plenty of lovely cinematography.

It also has one standout performance. Every time Ryu Soo Young is on the screen viewers may sink back into their seats in terror.

Ryu plays Kang In Wook, a successful businessman who spent his life under the thumb of his cruel father. He takes more abuse than he should from his father, who he was once terrified of and is now desperately eager to please. Instead of learning from his father’s abusive behavior, which ultimately resulted in his mother’s death, he perpetrates it by locking up his wife and brutalizing her. The frightened wife, Yoo Ma Ri, played alternately by Park Ha Na and then Park Han Byul, turns to a plastic surgeon for help, because she feels the only way she can escape—in a world with extensive CCTV coverage—is to alter her face.

The kind hearted surgeon, played by the ever affable Ji Hyun Woo is the opposite of her husband. He wishes only the best for her but winds up giving Yoon Ma Ri the face of his beautiful yet indifferent late wife, Woo Ha Kyung. Generally the kind doctor alters people’s faces to help them overcome injury or disfigurement but in this case, his motives might be more complicated.

The theme of plastic surgery giving a person a chance at a new life and altering their perception of the world inspired two 40s noir films. In A Woman’s Face a blackmailer’s disfigurement made her see the world in a different way. In Dark Passage, a man undergoes surgery to hide from the law. Both those themes are at play in this drama as Yoon Ma Ri sees life differently with her new face but is also in hiding.

The plot offers many dualities, comparing the difference between the two Woo Ha Kyungs, one of whom is kind. The other is not. It compares life before and after plastic surgery, as well as how Ji Hyun Woo’s character Seo Jung Woo is the complete opposite of Kang in Wook. While there are shades of gray in both characters, they are still so far apart that Ryu is shot a lot in black and white, while Ji is often captured in warm colors and surrounded by flowers.

Ryu Soo Young is really bone chilling as the obsessive, cold-hearted and yet so desperately vulnerable husband. His gaze is meant to send chills and when he glares at anyone who gets in his way, he does so with the cold fury of a snake-haired Gorgon. He wants to find his wife and lock her up in a cage, slowly shredding and devouring her sense of self.

It’s a common theme in k-dramas that an innocent character will be abused by unbridled power and that good people do not always realize they have the means to fight back. When they do realize that they have agency, power can crumble in ways that have far-reaching implications. Ironically, its a theme that also plays out in the real-life drama that has created negative associations for Love in Sadness.

The drama received negative publicity because the main actress, Park Han Byul, is married to Yoo In Suk, one of the alleged key players in the Burning Sun scandal. As a partner in Yuri Holdings, with Big Bang’s Seungri, he was implicated in allegations of violence and drugs, as well as possible police bribery, taking place in the Burning Sun nightclub. The MBC drama began broadcasting in late February and when the scandal broke had only completed a few episodes. Some viewers requested that Park Han Byul be removed from the drama, because she was married to Yoo In Suk, but the drama’s producers did not agree and she remains for the 40-episode drama. The unfolding plot will provide an interesting comparison with the real-life scandal.

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2019-03-23 14:45:00
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