Sorry I Love You (미안하다, 사랑한다)
Synopsis: Because of an accident involving his ex-girlfriend, Moo Hyuk is left with 3 months to live. This leads him to head back to Korea in search of his biological mother. The discoveries he makes, changes his heart from longing to revenge. Even with all this darkness surrounding him, he finds an unexpected source of happiness with someone he did not expect to love.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Romance, tragedy, melodrama
Casting: So Ji Sub, Im Su Jeong, Jung Kyung Ho etc….
Sorry I Love You is a drama which definitely had defaults. The whole plot was overall very predictable. It was easy to guess what would happen -apart from the very last twists in the very last episode! The scriptwriter’s writing as well as the OST were excessively tragic so as to control the audience’s feeling (that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the OST for all that. I actually loved it! I even think it was one of the main strength of the drama. SIL can say thank you to Park Hyo Shin’s amazing voice. “Snow Flower” relayed the perfect mood). Every character was oppressed by uncountable sufferances and hardships while the plot went somewhat round and round at a slow pace. The revenge of Cha Moo Hyuk was sometimes even laughable -at least at first (I couldn’t help myself laughing when I saw him for the first time dressed as a bad boy ahjussi -especially when he yelled at Min Joo for having crushed his stuff animal. That was beyond my understanding. You eventually come to understand his whole plan in the following episodes but in my opinion it was nonetheless poorly steered at first).
Yet I can’t explain it: I was utterly hooked by the drama. I really loved following each episode and even missed the drama when I was too busy to watch an episode. I was really moved by the story and the character, even though it was simply written and I picked holes in each one of them. As for the casting it could not have been better. Performance aside, it was insane to see how physically most actors (I’m mainly referring to Im Su Jeong and So Ji Sub) fit their characters. I’m not sure I would have been as touched and as quick to forgive the flaw of the plot if we had had a whole different casting.
Cha Moo Hyuk (So Ji Sub) was from far the best character of the drama even though he was more an anti-hero than a hero. I was dumbfounded to see such bad-temper! -although it was utterly justified. What I liked about him was how constant he remained in his revenge even after meeting Eun Chae for example. Yet I didn’t like how thoughtless he could sometimes be in his actions: for example when he used Eun Chae to hurt Yoon. He never thought that Eun Chae would be the one suffering the most in that story. Moo Hyuk was therefore for me a weird mix of smartness and recklessness. His revenge was smartly carried out overall (if we put aside the stuff animal episode) but never seemed to be fully thought (in term of collateral damage). That wasn’t a negative point for all that, even though it made me call him a “바보” (fool) once or twice. It was a convenient writing: while it kept Moo Hyuk on a rational track (that would have been completely upsetting to see him stop his revenge because of one or two collateral damages), it allowed the start and development of a romance which spiced the plot. A romance which was, to say the least, of the most original. Moo Hyuk was inherently rude, gruff and violent. Life taught him so. It was therefore very interesting and moving to see this big clumsy guy smile when observing Eun Chae walking across a street or caring and protecting her in silent. It was moving to see him wanting to be loved while being incapable to express it correctly, to not say politely (I can’t say that’s very romantic to be ordered by a guy to kiss or embrace him). It was a raw, heartbreaking romance in other words. No charming rich prince or sweet words. That’s what I liked the most in that drama. We could sincerely see Moo Hyuk’s love despite his roughness (whether it was for Eun Chae or his sister and nephew) and read his inner turmoil and conflicting emotions. I now understand why so many people told me it was So Ji Sub’s best role. I already knew that he was talented (he is even in my top 3 “favourite actors”!) but his performance here, literally turned me upside down (even more than in Always, my favourite movie). A heartbreaking performance for a splendid character.
Eun Chae was that kind of heroine I couldn’t help to find super cute. She looked like a kid -especially next to Moo Hyuk. The two actors were actually a perfect match for each other, physically speaking (if we put aside their great chemistry). That gave a very sweet image of Moo Hyuk and Eun Chae’s couple (I totally loved when she disappeared completely in his protective arms *fangirling*). Actually Im Su Jeong’s looks conveniently matched her entire character. It was not surprising to see innocence prevail in Eun Chae’s personality. She wasn’t a strong heroine despite how hard she tried to give herself airs. She had a strong will and conviction but apart from that she always needed to be saved and protected (you couldn’t see an episode without seeing her falling or walking around in the street like a lost soul). Sometimes I actually wished her to be less heroine-like; to see her being more selfish, self-centred -especially towards Yoon. I would have rebelled against him way earlier if I had been her. But instead she always let herself being eaten up by others and never thought about herself. That was actually how in the end she got herself stuck into that awkward love triangle. I have to admit I was pissed against her and her guilty conscious at that time: I didn’t understand why she absolutely had to sacrifice herself and only choose either Yoon or Moo Hyuk. Because of her fear to lose Yoon while being with Moo Hyuk? Because of her fear to be the cause of Yoon’s next heart attack? Because that would be selfish of her to be happy whereas Yoon was at the hospital? Fuck your conscious girl! (and Yoon by the same occasion -sorry pal no hard feelings). Why not share her time between both of them? Hold Yoon’s hand during the day and go to Moo Hyuk’s at night. Easy. It would have been a win-win choice. I didn’t understand why she let herself being completely enslaved to Yoon like she did, why she didn’t even try to tell him that she loved someone else (smoothly, giving hints, little by little…his weak heart could have handled it I’m sure of it). As a result we saw her turned her back against Moo Hyuk in most episodes, creating lots of back and forth in their relation. In other words I hated how she handled all that situation and really felt the scriptwriters’ intention to make us fully pity her -apart from the last two episodes, where they finally made her run after Moo Hyuk (hallelujah!). Despite my critics that didn’t mean I didn’t like Eun Chae. Her behaviour matched the drama and wasn’t that bothering as long as we didn’t give it too much thought.
Yoon embodied the perfect mama’s boy who always got what he wanted in his life. He was sometimes very charismatic and cute, I admit. But he was above all a spoiled child whether it was in his relation with his mother or with his girlfriend. Selfish, whiny he always threatened to kill himself when he was refused something. While Eun Chae wasn’t self-centred enough, Yoon was on the other hand, too much like it. When Eun Chae left the house (who could blame her? being put in the sister-zone by the one you’ve always loved and served -sometimes to the limit of sacrifice- tough!) his first thought was “what about me?”. The only word I could thought of at that time was: “jackass”. It was, therefore, very thrilling to see Eun Chae rebelled against him, yelling at him thereafter. He wasn’t a mean character but he fully deserved that blow. He really needed to be taught such lesson since his mother’s education (which made him a spitting image of herself) had completely stopped him from growing into a rational adult. That’s a shame that it didn’t make him fully evolved into someone less possessive or childish. Yet I had a change of heart -like for almost every character- with the last episode of the drama. In the end he had attenuating circumstances, making his action/selfishness more understandable. For example I hated when he retook possession of Eun Chae after letting her hand go, but I also fully sympathized with him and his desire of revenge against Moo Hyuk (even though revenge never solves anything!). I also fully understood why he shut the truth to his mother about Moo Hyuk considering his own background (what a twist!). All the characters in SIL had, in fact, a point in common: I couldn’t fully hate or blame them. They were all pretty sad and pitiful in their own way.
Yoon was also the third wheel of the drama like you probably already understood with the whole “letting Eun Chae’s hand go”. I didn’t really like that twist about him. I knew his character would turn out like that (you had to be blind to not see that, from the start, he had denied his feeling for Eun Chae) but it was written a bit too conveniently and deep down -even though the plot would have been quite plain without that sudden twist- I would have liked to see him stay single for the remaining episodes (since Min Joo didn’t deserve him). I’m not really a fan of love triangle (what am I doing in dramaland then?) and here, it was too sudden and conveniently-written.
Jung Kyung Ho did a great work whether it was through his innocent and affectionate smile, sulky pout, frown or tears. The only point that made me smile about his performance was his (pretty weak but cute) talent as a singer. That’s actually a good thing he became an actor.
Oh Deul Hee’s writing seemed really simple. The scriptwriter, who wanted to make us hate her as much as Cha Moo Hyuk did, wrote a character deeply hypocrite, selfish. She was actually a character I liked to hate. She made everything big: the smallest issue was always handled as if it was the end of the world. Even for a broken plate she cried “아들,아들” (son) like a helpless child throughout the whole house. She lived in her own unrealistic bubble with her dear Yoon whom she fanatically idolized (that explains how that later turned out). Her “sufferances” always appeared ridicule and pitiful compared to the hardship the other character were going through. She was the complete opposite of Moo Hyuk. Thanks to her distasteful personality she made us like this latter and actually root -slightly- for his revenge. I would have laughed if someone had told me I would actually change my mind about her, half way through the drama. Yet the scriptwriter obliged you to do so. As soon as you think you have a clear idea of her character, they give you the whole truth, turning your opinion upside down. She was not particularly more pleasant. She reminded overall the same along the episodes (apart near the end when they really tried to make her likeable) but the revelation about her, obliged us to forgive her somehow. She wasn’t the criminal anymore but rather the victim. At first I didn’t like that twist because I really loved hating her. But after a second thought it was actually quite clever: thanks to that reversal we were given a better understanding of her whole personality. We got to see her true self. The spoiled, rich actress who seemed to have it all, eventually dropped her mask and that was, to say the least interesting.
The truth finally out, our “hatred” automatically turned toward another character: >>>> SPOILER- Eun Chae’s father. I had mixed feeling about him at first. I knew he was the one who abandoned the two children but he also seemed to have only been the pawn of Oh Deul Ree’s mother. I was ready to not completely blame him but his lasts words to Moo Hyuk, defeated my indulgence. He might have acted according to Oh Deul Hee’s mother’s orders but I hated how he justified his behaviour “Instead of ruining all your lives, I thought it would be better for both your parents and the two of you”. I want to say: who do you think you are to decide one’s life? -SPOILER<<<<
Min Joo -in very quick- was a plain character. She was a vital link for the story but once used, she was almost wholly discarded by the scriptwriter. We barely got to see her in the lasts episode and what seemed to be a very important character turned out to be in fact a supporting role (more or less). She wasn’t all negative for all that matter. I liked the fact that she remained faithful to her initial personality throughout the whole drama. That matched her and served well the drama.
Moo Hyuk’s sister and nephew as well as Eun Chae’s family will actually leave me a stronger memory than Min Joo herself. I really loved the atmosphere in both families whether it was the little quarrels between Eun Chae’s sisters and mother or the writing lessons given by Gal Chi to his uncle and mother.
Sorry I Love You is not one of the best written drama but it’s definitely a classic you’ve got to see. A beautiful story, a splendid OST, an amazing casting. I agree it was far from being perfect but sometimes what matters the most in a drama is not its quality but how much it affected you. SIL definitely belonged to that kind of category and for that it fully deserves a high grade!
Note de Dushbadou: 8.5/10
Note finale: 8.5/10