The Liar and His Lover (aka Lovely Love Lie), based on the manga Kanojo wa Uso o Aishisugiteru by author Kotomi Aoki, is an enjoyable romance surrounded by a great deal of wonderful music.
Ever since she was a little girl, Yoon So-Rim has dreamed of being a singer. With her two best childhood friends, Baek Jin-Woo and Lee Kyu-Seon, she creates a small band and begins to enter contests and attend auditions. Although they’ve never been lucky enough to capture the attention of others, the students at their high school love them and they have the support of a wonderful teacher. One day she is stopped by a handsome, young stranger who asks to borrow her phone. She listens as he begins to hum, recording a beautiful song into her phone and then he’s gone. And in that instant she’s in love – with the song and the stranger. When they next meet, by chance, she tells him she has written some words to go with the beautiful melody he recorded on her phone. But he’s not at all impressed. In fact, he’s horrified. You see, he’s a songwriter and Crude Play, the band he produces, is going to use that song! He can’t let this girl ruin everything. So, the lying begins and, of course, he falls head over heels for the straight-forward, sweet So-Rim. Imagine his surprise when he finds out she and her two friends were just signed to Soul Music N – the music company he works for!
Music is the number one important thing in Kang Han-Gyeol’s life. Although he knows how to drive he enjoys taking the bus so he can hear voices that might inspire a wonderful song. He is Soul Music N’s top songwriter and everything he comes up with is an instant chart topper. He was the original bass player in Crude Play but gave up that place for a couple different reasons. He has a strained relationship with his father who was away most of Han-Gyeol’s life. Everyone is amazed at the change in Han-Gyeol after he falls for So-Rim.
All Yoon So-Rim has ever wanted to do is sing. She was raised by her grandmother because her parents passed away when she was very young. Although music is important to her, she values relationships and promises more. She would rather not make it big if it means leaving her two Mush&Co band mates behind. She adores Han-Gyeol and is behind him in all his decisions. As a huge Crude Play fan, she’s thrilled when their bass player, Seo Chan-Young, offers to produce Mush&Co.
Seo Chan-Young has always felt inferior to Kang Han-Gyeul. He became his replacement in Crude Play when Han-Gyeol gave up being the bass player so he doesn’t have the same kind of bond with the other members that Han-Gyeol has. He wants to write music but what he comes up with, although good, doesn’t hold a candle to Han-Gyeol’s masterpieces. He falls for So-Rim the minute he hears her voice and begs for the opportunity to be her (Mush&Co’s) producer.
Chae Yoo-Na, Sole Music N’s top female singer, has been slipping from her standing and is fearful of loosing everything she’s worked for. She and Han-Gyeol were dating but they broke up because she felt like she took a back seat to his music. People argue she got to where she was by using her looks, not her voice. She’s desperate to save her career and feels singing a song written by Han-Gyeol could do just that.
The CEO of Soul Music N is Choi Jin-Hyuk. He discovered Crude Play and Chae Yoo-Na and is the one responsible for making them the huge stars they are. He has loved Yoo-Na from before she made it big and just wants the best for her. CEO Choi is the one who stopped Crude Play from playing their own music and is now suggesting the same for Mush&Co. His thoughts are more on making money than they are on making music.
Twenty-four year old Lee Hyun-Woo, who plays Kang Han-Gyeol, has been acting more than half his life. He began his entertainment career as a cast member of the children’s show Oolla Boolla Blue-Jjang and went on to appear in several large scale historical Kdrama productions such as The Legend, King Sejong the Great, The Return of Iljimae, and Queen Seondeok. 2010 seemed to hold a dancing theme for him – he played the part of a student who just wanted to dance in the excellent drama Master of Study, and another high school kid who wanted his fellow students to enjoy the freedom to dance in the stage production of Footloose. He won the Best Supporting Actor Award and the Rising Star Award for his performance in the 2015 motion picture entitled Northern Limit Line, which happened to be the most watched film that year. His first starring Kdrama role came last year (2016) in Moorim School. Lee Hyun-Woo can also add singing to his list of talents. He has recorded three single songs and has sung on the soundtrack of three shows he’s been in, including The Liar and His Lover. Oh, and one more very important thing – the guy has a killer smile!
Park Soo-Young, better known by Joy, the stage name her vocal coach came up with for her, plays the part of Yoon So-Rim. She became the fourth member of the Kpop girls group Red Velvet in 2014. She appeared in the reality TV program We Got Married as BtoB member Yook Sung-Jae’s “wife”. The couple was very popular and even recorded a fantastic song together entitled Young Love. You can enjoy listening to it on YouTube. Joy has done some modeling but The Liar and His Lover is her first ever acting job. In February of 2015 she graduated from School of Performing Arts Seoul.
The acting in this drama is quite good. So good, in fact, that I was surprised to find out The Liar and His Lover is the first thing many of the actors/actresses have been in. It’s the acting debut for Joy (So-Rim), Hong Seo-Young (Yoo-Na), Kim Sung-Joo (Si-Hyun), Shin Je-Min (Lee Yoon), and Song Kang (Jin-Woo). Lee Seo-Won (Chang-Young) and Park Jong-Hyuk (Lee Kyu-Seon) were each in a movie before their roles in this, while Jang Ki-Yong has been in five other dramas before playing Crude Play’s drummer, Ji In-Ho.
I enjoyed the fact that this drama didn’t have any evil-to-the-core characters. There are a few who aren’t always above board and sometimes make selfish choices but none that stay up nights plotting to ruin someone’s life.
The romance end of things is fun but the kisses leave a lot to be desired. Maybe the director toned them down because the target audience for the show seems to be teenagers, those interested in idol groups. I really wish the director had allowed the actors/actresses to be a little more realistic with their kisses. Darn. The romantic chemistry is pretty good, though.
There’s one “oops” that I want to mention. Watch for a scene where Yoo-Na and CEO Choi are sitting on a couch, talking. She has on an off-the-shoulder shirt that goes back and forth, exposing her shoulder and then not. It happens a few times in that one scene.
The music is absolutely wonderful. I wouldn’t mind having the entire soundtrack on my phone. Most of the songs are actually performed by the folks who sang them on the show – Crude Play sings In Your Eyes, I’m Okay, and Peterpan. Hong Seo-Young sings the ones her character, Yoo-Na, recorded on the drama, Counting Stars at Night and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Joy, who plays So-Rim, performs A Fox, Your Days, Shiny Boy, Waiting For You, and The Way to Me. She also sings I’m Okay with Lee Hyun-Woo. The entire soundtrack is extremely good!
The drama takes place during the spring so outdoor shots are bright and warm. Most of the background is the Soul Music N building but we also see So-Rim’s school and the vegetable shop/home where she lives and works with her grandmother. There are several times we get to see Han-Gyeol’s house and a club/bar where the Crude Play guys hang out. I never really understood who owned the place. I think it was Han-Gyeol’s dad but I’m not positive.
I really enjoyed The Liar and His Lover. It’s a decent love story with superb music and an uplifting moral. That’s definitely something good enough to spend 16 hours on in my book. I think it would be fun to end this review with Crude Play’s motto, so here goes – “Let’s love! Let’s kill! Let’s die! Let’s go!”
Teaches us a good moral
Kisses aren’t great