You know the saying, “Good things come in small packages”? Well, it’s definitely true in the case of the short Kdrama Just an Ordinary Love Story. It’s only four episodes/hours long but it packs a big punch. So much better than some full-length dramas I’ve seen and you can watch it all in one sitting.
I want you to go into it blind, like I did, so I’ll try to give you as much of a plot synopsis as I can without giving away too much.
This is a love story set amidst a seven year old murder mystery. Han Jae-Gwang is a photographer from Seoul who goes to a small town and falls for his tour guide, Kim Yoon-Hye. She’s a girl that keeps to herself and tries to keep a low profile. She’s been made an outcast because her father is wanted for the murder of a young man. He’s been on the run for seven years and although all the evidence points to him, he told Yoon-Hye he’s innocent and she believes him. Can Jae-Gwang help Yoon-Hye prove her father is not a cold blooded killer?
That’s all I’m telling you. Please, oh please take the time to watch it! I can’t believe I had never heard of it before. I was browsing through YouTube and came across it. The fact that handsome Yeon Woo-Jin is in it made me want to find out what it was so I just fast forwarded to a spot in the middle of the first episode and watched for a minute and then went to the end of the same episode and did the same thing. Yep! I instantly knew I wanted to watch it. So I started it right then and there.
You Da-In who plays quiet Kim Yoon-Hye, and Yeon Woo-Jin who portrays photographer Han Jae-Gwang were both so amazing in their roles they earned the Best Actress/Best Actor in a Short Drama awards.
Just an Ordinary Love Story is definitely unique. An unusual amount of the story is just silence. There’s not a ton of dialogue. It’s a quiet, thought provoking show. The audience watches while things unfold and we try to put ourselves in the lead characters thoughts. We learn some things through flashbacks and try to piece events together as the characters do. I was very intrigued with how the show was both written and filmed.
There are twists and turns that no one would guess, one in particular I didn’t see coming that was a jaw-dropping surprise. As for the “ordinary love story” part, there are actually two – one between our lead couple, and one connected to the murder mystery – and neither would be considered “ordinary” by any stretch of the imagination. There’s no “skinship” in the show – no kissing, no cuddling… – but the romance is still nice.
After the show was over, and I was thinking about it, I kept telling myself how much it reminded me of the Kdrama Pride and Prejudice. It just had that same sort of feel to it. (That’s only something that would make sense if you’ve seen both shows.) I was curious about the screenwriter, Lee Hyun-Joo, so I decided to look for other shows with that name attached to the writing and, guess what… Pride and Prejudice is accredited to Lee Hyun-Joo. Am I good or what?
As far as the soundtrack goes, there aren’t any beautiful ballads or jazzy uptempo songs. Other than a sweet, music box sounding opening song the rest of what we hear is just quiet instrumental stuff or plain silence. Perfect for this particular drama.
The scenery is beautiful. Set during, what I considered to be late autumn, we see some fall colors and watch the chilly air fill with little clouds of steam as the characters talk. The sight seeing tour also takes us to some historical buildings, those ancient style ones from the Joesen period. But just like Pride and Prejudice there isn’t a lot of color. Except for some autumn leaves the show is mostly shot in dull gray-type hues. That helps keep our mind on what’s actually transpiring and not veer off to the aesthetics of the scene.
It was all put together so thoughtfully – from the colors, to the music, to the acting, to the writing… You can tell everything was considered and executed to the exact expectations of the director and screenwriter. Watching Just an Ordinary Love Story is four hours well spent.
A just right ending
Award winning acting
Characters we care about
Handsome Yeon Woo-Jin
NOT just ordinary love stories
Nothing really comes to mind