One of the reasons I enjoy time travel plots so much is because any idea is up for grabs. Nothing is set in stone. Science doesn’t have facts to give us so a writer gets to use their imagination to its limits. Some think we wouldn’t be able to meet ourself in another time while others think we could, but shouldn’t interact with our “other” self. What did the writer of Longing Heart (aka My First Love) think? Well, we get the ultimate love triangle – 28 year old Kang Shin-Woo and 18 year old Kang Shin-Woo are both in love with 18 year old Han Ji-Soo.
Math teacher Kang Shin-Woo goes to his hometown for his mother’s memorial and while trying to avoid a bicycle on Firefly Bridge he accidentally falls over the side… SPLASH! When Shin-Woo awakens, his mother is standing over him. But that’s impossible! She passed away years ago! Shin-Woo suddenly realizes it is possible because his fall into the water sent him back ten years into the past. People assume he is the math teacher that is supposed to begin teaching at his old high school so he willing goes along with the misunderstanding. While there, he is reunited with his first love, Han Ji-Soo, and meets his 18 year old self. He and Ji-Soo had been very close but before they were able to confess their feelings for one another she disappeared. Now that he is next to Ji-Soo again he is determined to make sure things work out between his 18 year old Shin-Woo self and Ji-Soo. The problem is, Ji-Soo has fallen head over heals in love with her new home room teacher, handsome Kang Shin-Woo.
Twenty-eight year old Kang Shin-Woo has been a high school math teacher in Seoul for the past two years and is still close to the friends he hung out with in high school, all but one – Han Ji-Soo who disappeared ten years earlier. Although he hasn’t seen or heard from her for a decade he is still very much in love with her and hasn’t given up the idea of finding her someday.
Han Ji-Soo, also 28 years old, is an intern in orthopedics at a big hospital in Seoul. She works with the senior that liked her in high school and, although he seems to be the type of guy that has eyes for the ladies, he claims he loves only Ji-Soo.
On the way to school one morning, 18 year old Kang Shin-Woo stands next to a sleeping young woman on a bus and falls in love at first sight. She happens to be Han Ji-Soo, a new transfer student at his school. The two quickly become good friends but before he is able to muster up the courage to confess to her how he feels, tragedy strikes – Shin-Woo’s mother dies in a ferry accident and Ji-Soo disappears.
Musician, songwriter, singer, rapper, and actor Lee Jung-Shin plays the part of the 28 year old Kang Shin-Woo, and I have to tell you how impressed I was with his acting. Jung-Shin began his entertainment career in 2009 when he debuted as the bassist in the spectacular rock band CNBlue. In 2012 he debuted as an actor in the drama Seoyoung, My Daughter (the highest rated Korean drama of 2013) for which he received several Best New Actor nominations for his performance. Then, two years later he received his first acting award – Best New Rising Star at the 3rd DramaFever Awards for his performance in Temptation. He also was given the New Actor Award at the 1st Asia Artist Awards in 2016. The guy is just plain good. I think he has acting in his blood. He’s absolutely superb in this drama!
Young Kang Shin-Woo is played by Seo Ji-Hoon. His acting debut was in the captivating sci-fi thriller Signal. I’ve also seen him in another excellent thriller, Solomon’s Perjury, and the enjoyable teen romance Kdrama School 2017.
I apologize for not having more information for you about Lee Yeol-Eum, who plays the part of Han Ji-Soo. All I can tell you is after she graduated from an all girls high school she went (or may still be enrolled) to Sungshin Women’s University, majoring in Media Visual and Acting. She’s been in several dramas but the only thing I’ve seen her in, other than this, is The Village: Achiara’s Secret.
There are so many aspects to this particular time travel story…
1. Kang Shin-Woo’s first time living through 2007.
2. Kang Shin-Woo goes back to 2007 as a 28 year old man and the original 2007 changes.
3. Kang Shin-Woo goes back to a changed 2017 as a 28 year old man.
4. 18 year old Kang Shin-Woo comes to 2017.
5. 18 year old Kang Shin-Woo goes back to 2007 with knowledge of 2017.
At the end of the show he explains his infused and complicated memories to help us understand what has happened to him. It’s quite interesting.
This drama tells an amazing love story. The fact that Han Ji-Soo falls in love with the same man over and over throughout time is awesome. It’s 100% proof she loves him. No matter what he looks like, no matter how old he is, no matter what he does she loves him and only him. How romantic is that?
Longing Heart splits its time between 2007 and 2017. My personal favorite is when 28 year old Kang Shin-Woo is teaching in 2007. The dynamics of the relationship between himself, his 18 year old self, and Han Ji-Soo is more romantic and emotional during that time. Also the element of wonder is heightened in the second go around of 2007. We have a million questions running through our heads, and I like that.
Any drama with time travel as its plot has to be really careful not to mess something up. When you’re dealing with the same people in different dimensions in time it must be really easy to miss something. One little slip and the story’s credibility is shot. I stayed alert, trying to notice something that could be classified as a mess up but didn’t catch a single thing. However, I did wonder why it was so much easier for the 18 year old Shin-Woo to go back to 2007 than it was for the 28 year old Shin-Woo to go back to 2017. The 28 year old Shin-Woo goes back accidentally whereas the 18 year old Shin-Woo just decides to go back and, boom, that was it. It’s not really a mistake, just more like a hummmmm.
The show is only ten hours/episodes long which is just perfect for this story. Park Ga-Yeon wrote the script based on the webcomic of the same name written by Kim Hee-Ran and Kim Byung-Gwan, released in 2015.
The music is excellent. Monday Kiz sings the romantic ballad Let’s Love Again. Isn’t that the perfect title for a song meant for a time travel romance story? Where Are You, performed by Hello Gayoung, has a bitter/sweet sound. It’s the kind of song you’d expect to hear during emotionally charged remembering scenes. Hana (leader of the girl group Gugudan) sings Throbbing Weather, a cutesy sounding song. Imfact is responsible for what I think of as the show’s theme song, A Climber. It also happens to be my favorite.
The fence – the green, metal fence at school is the scenery that stands out in this drama. It’s shown several times and is significant because that is where things begin for Shin-Woo and Ji-Soo in both the first and second 2007. A good chunk of the show takes place in the high school.
I really hope you give Longing Heart a try. It was just as good as I was hoping it would be – maybe even a bit better.
Original time travel plot
Lee Jung-Shin’s excellent acting
Romantic love story
Wonderful chemistry between characters (and actors, as well)
Nothing I found
One thought on “Longing Heart”
This was a very detailed review! I really liked how you analysed it in depth! I will definitely give this one a watch!