21 January 2022

K Drama Review: Now, We Are Breaking Up (2021) 4.1 || 4

We've been looking forward to Song Hye Kyo's comeback.  While we were not too happy with Encounter, we knew she would bounce back and we'd love her again the way we adored her in Full House, Worlds Within, and Descendants of the Sun

Admittedly, this show still left much to be desired. But one thing's for sure, Queen Hye Kyo's back. 


Now, We Are Breaking Up tells the story of Ha Yeong Eun (Song Hye Kyo), a designer trained in France. While studying in France 10 years ago, she met a guy, Yoon Soo Wan (Shin Dong Wook). They were going to reunite in Korea. However, on the night of their reunion, Soo Wan died in a car accident. Clueless about what happened, Yeong Eun presumed that Soo Wan simply ghosted her. Fast forward to 10 years later, Yeong Eun meets a sought after photographer, Yoon Jae Gook (Jang Ki Yong of My Mister). The supposed one night stand evolves into a complicated relationship after they find out that Jae Gook was Soo Wan's half brother. The drama takes us through how Yeong Eun and Jae Gook try their best to overcome the obstacles to their relationship. 

Song Hye Kyo as Ha Yeong Eun

This is probably the best post-marriage Hye Kyo I've seen. In other words, she did so much better here compared to Encounter. She seems more relaxed and natural in this drama. 

I loved the independent woman vibe she exuded throughout the show. Yes, she fell in love. And she probably made a mistake the first time. But afterwards, she never allowed to lose herself in love. 

My favorite Young Eun moments were when she was acting all mother hen to her team and when she was bonding and/or bickering with her best friends.  

Jang Ki Yong as Yoon Jae Gook 

No doubt about it, Jang Ki Yong is good looking. According to Oppa, he's a pretty famous model. It's funny how he reminds me of Song Joong Ki sometimes. :D

His chill moments were refreshing to see. After all those threatening scenes he had in My Mister, it was nice to see Ki Yong in something more relaxed. 

I admit, however, that I was not a huge fan of his serious acting, where he tends to be quite stiff and one-dimensional. It was as if I was transported back to his My Mister days. 

Although Jang Ki Yong might need a bit of an improvement, I'm confident that he'll get better. He's young and still serving in the military at the moment. I look forward to a new and improved Ki Yong when he comes back. 

Jae Gook and Yeong Eun

Yeong Eun and Jae Gook make a very good looking couple. What drew me to them initially were their witty line exchanges, way before they discovered each other's identities. Their chemistry was good during their light moments like when Jae Gook was helping Yeong Eun get a gig in France. 

However, I was not too happy with Jae Gook and Yeong Eun's dramatic moments. There were scenes where I felt they both missed the opportunity to make us really feel what was inside their hearts like during that phone conversation when Jae Gook confessed that he was the guy who took the photo Yeong Eun bought in France and they talked about falling in love while they were breaking up. I just thought that scene should have been overflowing with emotions, which I missed.  

Unfortunately, as the show progressed and their relationship deepened, I felt that the chemistry between the two began drifting away. There were moments when I was more excited to see the other love pairs. It totally didn't help that the show dwelled too much on the breaking up/Jae Gook leaving for Paris part, that we barely had time to see their relationship flourish. 

Seok Do Hoon and Hwang Chi Sook 

This was one pair I really enjoyed. They provided life to the show especially during moments when I didn't feel the main leads that much. I loved how both Kim Joo Hun (Encounter, Train to Busan, Start-Up, and Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol) and Choi Hee Seo were funny without going over the top. And they did well in their serious scenes too like that sweet moment when Chi Sook leaned on Do Hoon's shoulder as she cried about her sick friend. 

Chi Hyung and So Young 

To be honest, there were moments when I preferred watching Chi Hyung (Oh Se Hun) and So Young (Ha Young) over the main leads. They both looked so cute especially when they're bickering with So Young insisting on her seniority while Chi Hyung brags about being the son of the president. I'm just glad that they ended up together. 


The Good

One thing I loved about the show was that it did not drag on the identity issue. Admittedly, Jae Gook could have just told Young Eun right away that he was Soo Wan's brother. But at least they didn't waste episode after episode hiding this secret. 

I also liked the drama's real talk on mature love - that relationships don't just involve two people. There are moments when we have to consider others too, no matter how inconvenient it may be. On the other hand, I also liked how the couple tried their best to not mind what the people around them were saying. Like when Young Eun's mom asked the couple to break up since they were bound to break up in the future anyway because their issues will wear them down. I loved how Young Eun replied that they will not break up based on speculations and they will break up when their issues are already bothering them. 

I loved the friendship theme in the show. How Yeong Eun, Chi Sook, and Mi Sook (Park Hyo Joo) were always there for each other, even after Mi Sook passed on. 

Oppa felt that Mi Sook's storyline was not necessary and that it broke the story's flow. Personally, I liked it. It was heartbreaking to see her say goodbye to her daughter. And I loved how she gracefully handled her husband's (Yoon Na Moo of Vagabond, Love Alarm, and Fight for My Way) affair, that she even went as far as entrusting her family to her husband's mistress (Ki Eun Se of Hopsital Playlist). I was just glad that the husband didn't end up with the mistress. 

I also loved the strong, independent woman storyline. Like how Yeong Eun turned down that oppressive department store that looked down on local brands, how she strived to be recognized internationally, and how she knew her worth and how she went to where she think she'll really bloom. 

Although I believe that the storyline about Yeong Eun's parents (Choi Hong Il of Crash Landing on You and Nam Gi Ae of Jirisan, Encounter, Suits, and Descendants of the Sun) could have been excluded, my key take away from their relationship was that you really have to be straightforward with men who tend to be very clueless all the time. 

I also loved The One team. How the president looked after Yeong Eun even if she was being pirated by a competitor. How he wanted to make sure she will get good terms. And how he wanted to reward her with her own company for her loyalty. And although Yeong Eun chose to leave in the end, The One still supported her by helping her get suppliers. 

The Not So Good

The first problem I had with the show was how Jae Gook was too pushy with Yeong Eun about her past with his brother. I didn't like how he judged her right away without even finding out the real story. 

I'm also a bit on the fence about the coincidences, serendipity, small world, and you and me against the world storylines. I've only been watching K dramas for around 2 years and I've seen these stories a lot already. It's as if the world only revolves around the main characters - Yeong Eun bought Jae Gook's photo, whom she meets 10 years later and who happens to be her ex's brother. And how almost everyone wanted Jae Gook and Yeong Eun to break up. 

It's also quite exhausting to watch the archaic and overused storyline of arranged marriages like Soo Wan's and how relationships are made complicated by things that or people who should not even matter. I can probably take the interference of the couple's parents. But for Soo Wan's ex (Yoon Jung Hee), who's not even officially part of Jae Gook's family, to get involved is just absurd. I can't understand why she would let her grudge get in the way when business should be her priority. 

And my biggest problem with the show was its fixation on breaking up the main leads. Specifically, I can't understand why Jae Gook wanted to break up. Was it only because Yeong Eun didn't want to leave with him? But wasn't he okay with staying with her in Korea before? I felt it was quite immature of him to break up just because of that. I mean, why limit their options to just being together or breaking up. Won't a long distance relationship work with all the technology available around them? And it also felt weird for Jae Gook to still ask Yeong Eun to reconsider and to give her a plane ticket even after she said no and explained her reason for staying. 

Anyway, the show hinted at a happy ending for the two and I guess we should be happy with that. 

Oppa says...4.1

Noona says...4.