picture credits to: http://wiki.d-addicts.com/File:LoveRain.jpg
I wrote just a week ago about Love Rain, penning a halftime review because I thought the show was supposed to span 24 episodes. Turned out it only spanned 20 and thus, concluded its run early this week. Similar to my initial gushing-like-nonsense halftime review of The King 2Hearts and then having to reassess via an overall review, I am determined to do the same with this show because my sentiments towards it, while not quite wavered, has indeed changed.
Love Rain captured me in all its beauty and pathos, as I noted previously. It really did own my heart …until episode 18 or so. I don’t know when I started to check out and lose interest, but unfortunately I did. Due to this, when I think of this show… Sigh.
I will however, stand firm on the fact that what is so winning about Love Rain is the simple fact that it has a story it wants to tell and that it does so really well. At its core, what Love Rain is, is simply this: a love story. I’d mentioned this before too, that there is nothing grandeur about the unfinished love story between In Ha and Yoon Hee set in 1970s and later, their kids Seo Joon and Ha Na. However, I’ve always firmly believed that not all stories are meant to be great, exceptional and the like; there are more untold, smaller stories in life than we know of. Love Rain is one of those. It stands out exactly because of the fact that trivial as the story may be, it is rich with layered emotions.
Lately I’ve been very cynical of endings in Kdramas; it’s so hard to find one whereby my satisfaction and emotionally-invested self holds on to that momentum of emotions all the way to the finish line. When done right, I do appreciate open-ended endings. I have specific typical ending scenes I am particularly hard on and dislike – a final kiss scene and that’s it, for instance, tells and explains nothing on what the show’s been about! – but if nothing else, I’m just as dandy on conventional endings. In my opinion, Love Rain could probably have wrapped up in 16 or 18 episodes. The last few episodes dragged on the emotions that’s already been explored, felt, made known early on. They reaffirmed said-emotions yes, but did nothing to plot progression. By the time episodes 19 and 20 rolled around (and only after 20 aired did I find out that was the last episode after all, which sort of left me feeling strangely tricked), the story had pretty much met its closure, in my opinion. The wedding was simply icing on the cake. Did I love it? Not quite. Yet, did I hate it? Not really either. In all the melancholy stuff the show presented, the ending seemed strangely void of genuine emotions. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed. I will however, admit that in some ways I do like the way the relationship between In Ha and Yoon Hee played out; tragic till the end, but at least now with some peace. In her voiceover in episode 19 I think, Yoon Hee reflected (loosely quoted), “I wondered why we met but could not be together, but now I realize perhaps the real reason is so that they [the kids] can meet.” Ah, I went. That thing called fate which Kdrama loves to play with, of course – except for once, here, it’s apt.
Love Rain is far from a perfect drama, I will attest that. For instance, it is a drama with incredibly ineffectual side characters. The friends as portrayed in the 70s were gold; annoying and all, but with purposes of their own. The side characters in the modern-day however, were all mostly 1D, explored only insomuch. I am saying this because I am disappointed – the writer could have totally gone much further with characters like Sun Ho and whats-his-name who tended to the gardens after Ha Na left. Not all side characters need to be mean and nasty to be memorable, y’know? Sun Ho was such a sweetheart, but also completely flat and that’s so unfortunate because she (writer) could really have fleshed him so much more. Except for Hye Jung – who surprisingly seemed to give in at the end! – everyone was pretty much there for pretty faces purposes or simply plot plodding purposes. In other words: as good as not there.
I will probably not remember Love Rain to be honest, but if there is one and only one aspect which I will, it is the story of In Ha and Yoon Hee. There is something so melancholic and heartrending about them, one I can’t entangle completely from. I know this is partly because in some ways it feels really familiar to a Real Life tragedy I know of. Despite what it is and isn’t – because it sincerely owned and moved me at a point in time, Love Rain has earned a special spot in my heart.
If you’re feeling wispy and not critical about a love story told Kdrama-style; here’s one I would suggest. It will be slow and it will mostly feel like as if you’re lazing about under the sun on a lovely Sunday evening – but hey, that’s still bliss.
Final verdict: 6/10.
PS The soundtrack? Gold. Absolutely winning. The music director deserves props and accolade because all the songs and instrumentals gutted me to the core. All were aptly created, chosen and inserted all throughout the show.