Seen any good romantic Kdramas recently? Well, I have and it’s About Time – literally, that’s the name of the show.
Ever since she was a little girl Choi Michaela has been able to see people’s life clock. In some instances it has been a blessing – she’s been able to offer comfort to those whose time is at an end and help people who are contemplating an act that would deliberately cut their time in a way it was not meant to be. But the fact that she can see her own life clock has been very unsettling, especially since it shows she doesn’t have much time left. But what will happen when Michaela meets a handsome stranger that has the ability to stop her clock, thus allowing her more time on earth?
Third generation chaebol Lee Do-Ha has proposed to rich girl Bae Soo-Bong (a marriage arranged for the sake of business) multiple times with multiple rings but received the same result – her telling him to wait. So he waits. Several years ago the woman Do-Ha was in love with disappeared without even a goodbye and Do-Ha is still in therapy because of the panic attacks caused by her leaving. He is the president of the MK Culture Company, a foundation that promotes the arts, and right now he is trying to secure a Chinese investor, Seongrak Group, for a musical in hopes of expanding his company into China. One afternoon Do-Ha accidentally runs over the luggage of a beautiful young woman, knocking her to the ground, and just a couple hours later, after he’s mesmerized by her singing, she unashamedly kisses him!
Choi Mika’s dream is to be center stage in a wonderful musical but unfortunately, every audition she’s ever attended has ended the same way – with a pleasant “you’re just not what we’re looking for right now” so that dream has yet to become a reality. Her father is in prison for illegal business activity and so, being the oldest, the financial burden of the family (taking care of her mother and younger brother) has fallen to her. She lives with Jeon Sung-Hee, a stage manager, friend, and the only other person that knows Mika doesn’t have much longer to live.
On the surface Bae Soo-Bong is the intelligent, classy, beautiful CEO of MJBC but the woman is scary when things begin to not work out according to her specific plan. She matter-of-factly tells Do-Ha that she has never not gotten what she wanted and he soon comes to realize she definitely knows how to manipulate a situation using sneaky, underhanded tactics to see her selfish desires come to fruition.
Jo Jae-Yoo may be young but he’s a sought after director who has worked on Broadway and MK Culture Company is happy to be working with him on his first musical in South Korea, Yeon Hee’s Clock Runs Backwards. The man’s a perfectionist, not only directing the show but writing music for it as well.
There are several other characters that add color to the storyline…
Oh So-Nyeo: a friend, mentor, and mother figure whose wonderful words of wisdom inspire and comfort Mika
Park Sung-Bin: Do-Ha’s friend and psychiatrist
Park Woo-Jin: Sung-Bin’s younger brother and Do-Ha’s personal secretary
To learn a bit about Lee Sang-Yoon, the handsome actor who plays Lee Do-Ha, you can click on my review of Whisper.
To learn more about the actress who plays Choi Mika, Lee Sung-Kyung, you can go to my Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo review.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to find much personal information concerning Im Se-Mi, the stunningly beautiful actress that plays Bae-Soo-Bong. What I do know is that she’s 31 years old and has been acting since 2005 when she appeared in the TV drama Sharp 2. Her big screen debut was in 2007 with the movie Highway Star, and in 2012 she broke into the theater genre, appearing in the stage play Thief’s Diary. I’ve seen her in a few Kdramas – Goodbye Mr. Black, Shopping King Louie, and Two Cops. She’s also a cast member in the upcoming Lee Byung-Hun drama Mr. Sunshine and the drama Terius Behind Me starring So Ji-Sub, both of which are on my watch list.
Lee Seo-Won had been cast in the role of Director Jo Jae-Yoo but due to a sexual harassment claim he was dropped from the show and Kim Dong-Jun replaced him. Dong-Jun debuted as a member of the nine member boy group ZE:A (aka Children of Empire). He has appeared in four motion pictures, 16 TV dramas, and four stage musicals, one in which (All Shook Up) he plays Elvis Presley. I recently saw him in the fantasy thriller Black and thought he was awesome. Dong-Jun took part in the 2011 Idol Athletes Chuseok Special, winning two gold medals – one in the men’s 100 meter hurdles and the other in the men’s 110 meter hurdles. Hey Kdrama writers, you need to take that into consideration and write a show for him where he plays an Olympic hurdler in a romantic comedy. In 2014 he was chosen to be a torch bearer in the 17th Asian Incheon Games.
About Time sincerely earns the right to be classified as a romance and not just because it has a decent amount of kissing. More importantly, the drama feels romantic. Glances, words… all convey sincere love and there’s nothing more romantic than that. Do-Ha goes through the motions with Soo-Bong – proposing and giving her gorgeous rings, sitting by her, listening to her, giving her gifts she asks for (with a clever twist) but it’s all mechanical. His relationship with Mika is totally different. We can tell he truly loves her because his actions are simple and selfless, his facial expressions scream “I love you”, and his words come from his heart. Romance at its very best.
You know those romantic Kdramas where a character leaves the person they love for some ridiculous reason? – a rich, mean mother tells the girl she’ll take away everything her son has if she doesn’t leave him, or the guy leaves when he discovers his grandfather is the one that accidentally killed his girlfriend’s sister… you know what I mean, right? Almost every love story in Kdramaland has one in some form or another. Well, About Time is the only show I can think of that has a character back away from the person they love for what I thought was a solid reason. “I’d do the same thing,” crossed my mind.
Parents who think they are doing their kid a favor by never telling them “no” really need to pay attention to Bae Soo-Bong. She really is a pleasant person until things begin to not follow the set course she had in mind. She doesn’t know how to handle failure and that turns an otherwise decent lady into an awful human being. Kids need to be taught that life doesn’t always go the way they want it to. Life is filled with “no”s and the best thing a parent can do is teach the child they love how to handle those “no”s in a sane way.
The musical highlighted in About Time, Yeon Hee’s Clock Runs Backwards, is significant to the drama itself. Since this show is about a girl who wants to be an actress and a guy who runs a culture company About Time’s screenwriter could have had them produce any musical – The Sound of Music, Cats… – but the one they do is based on the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (which is about a man who gets younger as he ages) for a reason. It emphasizes the time theme of the drama and that was a great call, writer Chu Hye-Mi.
There weren’t too many “oops” and the ones I caught were very minor, like hair being positioned differently for the same shot – obviously different takes of the same scene but nothing big enough to ruin the show.
The drama’s music is excellent. We get a wonderful treat when Lee Sang-Yoon as Lee Do-Ha sings a charming lullaby to Mika over the phone. And Lee Sung-Kyung sings quite a bit since Mika’s desired profession is a musical actress. Her voice is exquisite. As far as the soundtrack goes, Maybe, sung by Hui, from the boy group Pentagon, is my favorite. Tears, performed by Mackelli, and My Room, sung by Hong Dae-Kwang, are beautiful ballads. Kim E-Z, of Ggot Jam Project, sings my second favorite song entitled Amazing Thing, a finger-snapping, upbeat, slow rock kind of song.
About Time has four main backgrounds – Do-Ha’s home, Mika’s apartment, the MK studio/offices, and the hospital where Mika’s friend Oh So-Nyeo lives. We accompany the characters when business takes them to Club Med. Do-Ha goes scuba diving with a man he is trying to get to invest in his musical and Mika is the instructor. We get to actually go in the water with them and peacefully interact with the ocean. It’s unique and gives the drama a tiny bit of “wow.”
This story is definitely a true romance drama, start to finish. If it’s been awhile since you’ve enjoyed one, then turn this one on – it’s About Time you get your heart fluttering again.
True romantic storyline
Lovable main characters
Great chemistry between Do-Ha and Mika
Fun sub-plot (producing a musical)
Musical supports the drama’s plot
Scuba diving scene
A couple insignificant “oops”