I don’t know why the Kdrama is titled Mr. Baek when the main character’s name is Choi Go-Bong. That bothered me throughout the whole show. There wasn’t a single Mr. Baek in the entire thing. (Did I miss something? Were they alluding to the fact that he came “back” as a young guy?) Oh, well. Guess that’s a silly thing to let bother me.
Choi Go-Bong is a cranky, 71 year old man who has enjoyed amazing success in business but whose personal life has been anything but rewarding. Money has always been first and foremost to him and since he is filthy rich he assumes he’s happy. Little does he know just how much is missing from his life until he’s given the chance to do it all over again.
As he’s making an appearance at an old folks home he had built, it begins to rain and if that’s not bad enough he’s knocked down by a speeding motorcycle and breaks his glasses. A kind girl named Eun Ha-Soo, who happens to be volunteering that day, comes to his aid. Thinking he is one of the residents there she gets him dry clothes, tapes up his glasses and gives him a peppermint. Evidently, that kind act touches him somehow because he ends up keeping the glasses and mint in his bedside table drawer. Later, during a meteor shower, both he and Ha-Soo’s vehicles fall into a sinkhole. Go-Bong begins to have a heart attack and accidentally spills his medication. Desperately trying to reach it, he accidentally grabs what he thinks is a pill and swallows it. However, what he has eaten is really a piece of meteor and what it does to him is nothing short of a miracle. Go-Bong gets to start life over as a 34 year old man and pose as his own (made up) illegitimate son, Choi Shin-Hyeong. Will he make the same mistakes he did before or will the love of a kind woman and the pain of his heartbroken son change his priorities for the better?
I began this show with really high hopes of it being great. After all, Jang Na-Ra is the lead actress and I absolutely adore her. Even though she’s fantastic in this, the show as a whole just didn’t do anything for me. No, I take that back. There were two times I did get a little misty-eyed – after the puppet show and near the end. The biggest problem I had was the fact that I knew Choi Shin-Hyeong was really old enough to be Ha-Soo’s grandfather. If she knew when she first met Choi Shin-Hyeong that he was in his 70’s she wouldn’t have been attracted to him. She just thought of him as a grouchy old grandpa when she met him at the old folks home. I also didn’t understand how he could be attracted to a girl who could be his granddaughter. It was just too weird for me to take the romance seriously. But, looking at it from a Charles Dickens Christmas Carol sort of concept, it was quite touching. As Choi Shin-Hyeong is looking at the world through a car window he says to his secretary/friend, “I never knew how precious each and every day would be.” Sounds a little like something Ebenezer Scrooge would say, huh?
Jang Na-Ra is great and the main reason I wanted to watch this show in the first place. She’s a very talented actress and is perfectly cast as sweet, humble Ha-Soo. Although she may be innocent, I love the fact that Ha-Soo is the instigator of almost all the “skinship” that goes on between her and Shin-Hyeong. Her personality is soft, yet strong. I saw Ha-Soo as a very likable person and the type of female I think most men would be attracted to. A few months earlier I had watched Jang Na-Ra in Fated to Love You and thought it was a wonderful show. I laughed, I cried, and it had been quite some time since a Kdrama had made me cry. Although Mr. Baek is a good show, Fated to Love You is a fantastic one. So if you love Jang Na-Ra, and Mr. Baek just isn’t your cup of tea, give Fated to Love You a try.
Shin Ha-Kyun plays both Choi Go-Bong and Choi Shin-Hyeong. It was my first time watching him and I was left a bit curious. Was I just not fond of his characters or was I not fond of the actor? I think I need to see him in something else before I decide. I wasn’t really attracted to him at first but he grew on me. He may not be gorgeous but his smile is a killer! I wasn’t impressed with his acting as a 71 year old but the make-up department did a decent job in making him look like an old man. I can’t blame the fact that I wasn’t enamored with Choi Shin-Hyeong solely on Shin Ha-Kyun. I think the director chose how he wanted Shin-Hyeong to come across which, unfortunately, is not what I personally find attractive.
The music is very pretty. There’s a beautiful, romantic ballad called In The Time That I Loved You that is sung by Kim Junsu from JYJ, and Jang Na-Ra sings one called All Day. I love it when actors/actresses from the show sing on the soundtrack. Check out the soundtrack on YouTube when you’ve got some time. I think you’ll really like it. Also, just a little heads up… You can hear Yiruma’s A River Flows In You playing in the background when the characters are in a restaurant. Three cheers for Yiruma!
As for scenery, there isn’t a lot that stands out. They do go fishing and the area around the lake is pretty. There’s also some fun outdoor shots of the characters riding a bike, camping, ice skating… But nothing really spectacular.
I’m going to end my review of Mr. Baek with a quote from Choi Shin-Hyeong, “You see what you see, and people choose to believe whatever is convenient for them.” Just a little something to think about as you fall asleep tonight.
The character Eun Ha-Soo
Difficult to take seriously romance
Choi Go-Bong’s temper