If you are what people would refer to as tender-hearted, or if you are close to anyone suffering through the horrors of a loved one drifting away due to that horrendous disease known as Alzheimer’s, you might want to rethink your decision to watch The Wind Blows. This show came close to ripping my heart out. I didn’t just cry at the end, I was in tears throughout almost the entire thing.
The plot is very simple. Kwon Do-Hoon and Lee Soo-Jin have been deeply in love since their days in college. They even planned a future together – marriage and then buying a house and having a child, Do-Hoon wanting a daughter that would look just like his beloved Soo-Jin. Now, after several years of marriage, Soo-Jin is ready to make that dream come true and expand their family by having a baby but Do-Hoon is adamant that not happen, ever. Since they can’t see eye to eye on this very important issue, and aging is slowly taking away Soo-Jin’s opportunity of being able to have a child, she tells him she wants out of the marriage, but for Do-Hoon a divorce is unthinkable. Then, one day he does an about face on the idea and agrees to the divorce. The couple ends their marriage, wishes each other happiness, and goes their separate ways. Soon after, Soo-Jin discovers she is pregnant and informs Do-Hoon about the baby but he very matter-of-factly reminds her that he did not want a child and wishes her luck raising it on her own. Five years pass and Soo-Jin accidentally discovers why the man she had loved and planned a family with so easily walked out of her life – Do-Hoon had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and didn’t want to put the woman he loved through years of agony being married to an Alzheimer’s patient. After the initial shock wears off, Soo-Jin decides she’s not about to let the man she loves suffer through that debilitating disease all alone. With the help of loving family and friends, Soo-Jin becomes Do-Hoon caretaker, introduces him to fatherhood, and vows to make the little time they have left together a comforting experience for the man that has always loved her more than life itself.
Kwon Do-Hoon’s father abandoned him and his mother died early. With no siblings, and the fact that he was not on the family register, as far as family goes he was very much alone in the world. After he had completed his army duties he went to college on a scholarship and studied Economics. It was there he met Soo-Jin when they were both in their junior year. After he learns he has Alzheimer’s he is able to find comfort as he battles his illness, thanks to his Christian faith, telling his priest, “The Lord will be with me. The problem is that I won’t know it.” Before he quit work because of his illness, Do-Hoon was employed at a company that made and sold cookies. After his divorce, he worked tirelessly and developed a nutritious chocolate candy as a symbol of his love for Soo-Jin and his daughter, Ah-Ram. He was hoping to market it so it would always be around when he no longer was.
Lee Soo-Jin’s father passed away when she was young and her mother never remarried, raising two kids on her own while running a restaurant on a beach. While in college Lee Soo-Jin originally planned to major in Painting but ended up switching to Visual Design. She works at an Entertainment Company where a close childhood friend of the family, Brian Jung, is the CEO. After her divorce, a friend she has known for years tries to set her up with a kind attorney. Although he would be a loving husband, and attentive father to her daughter, Soo-Jin keeps the man at arms length mainly because, even after five years of being single, she still loves her ex-husband.
If you’re interested in learning about Kam Woo-Sung, the talented actor who plays Kwon Doo-Hoon, you can go to my review of Should We Kiss First.
Forty-one year old Kim Ha-Neul began her entertainment career as a model but it didn’t take long for her to branch out to acting, debuting in the 1998 movie Bye June. She has won many awards throughout her career including Best Actress, Top Excellence, Popularity, Best Couple, and even Fashion. Her breakout role was in the Kdrama Piano, which was the second most successful drama of 2001. She has had so much success with her romance roles that the press dubbed her “the queen of romantic comedies.” In 2015 she broke into the Chinese market with the film Making Family. Although she has been in many, many Kdramas this is the first one I’ve watched with her in it. I have, however, seen her in a few films – My Tutor Friend, Almost Love, and You’re My Pet. She actually has a few personal things in common with her character in this drama, Lee Soo-Jin – they both have a younger brother, married a businessman, and have a daughter. She attended Seoul Institute of the Arts and studied film.
My roommate’s 83 year old grandmother happens to be loosing some of her cognitive abilities (alongside her physical ones) and I’ve seen how difficult that has been for their family. I can’t stress enough how emotionally draining this show could be on people going through what my roommate’s family is having to deal with day after day. As I said in my opening paragraph, you should be extra cautious watching The Wind Blows if you happen to be close to (or fear) this kind of situation.
The first few episodes deal with Soo-Jin’s plan of trying to seduce Do-Hoon while disguised as another woman so that he will give her a divorce on the grounds of infidelity. Sadly, that part of the story is really dumb. The couple had been married nine years and the audience is supposed to believe that with just some make-up, putty on her nose, and bangs covering her usually bare forehead Do-Hoon couldn’t tell his own wife was pretending to be someone else. Nope. Not only did I not buy it but it cheapened the serious, heart wrenching story. There were more creative yet realistic ways to have done what the writer wanted to accomplish without using something so far fetched.
There are a few “oops” here and there (like food changing places on a plate, or hair tucked behind an ear and then not) but they’re no big deal – noticeable but not a problem for the story.
The drama’s music contributes to the feeling of heartbreak we feel as we watch the story unfold. My favorite, and the most beautiful, is Tonight sung by Park Jae-Jung. There’s emotional power in the sound of that ballad, which is performed in English. Thankfully, the words actually make sense more often than not. (There’s one part in the chorus that says, “You’re the only one I want to spend my life all day.” Good try, although not quite right.) Two other pretty ballads are I Miss You, sung by DAWN.A, and Immunity, performed by Ha Sung-Woon. Unfortunately, I’m Loosing You is sung with too much strength for my liking. I would have enjoyed it more if Klang had sung with a softer, more vulnerable voice.
The charming country house Do-Hoon builds for Soo-Jin and their daughter is beautiful. I love the fact that right next to the stairs there is a slide for Ah-Ram. Why not? The whole upper story is all hers so a slide to get downstairs (while she’s still young) is an awesome idea. There are some scenes on the beach and quite a few at a lake where Do-Hoon goes fishing. Also, there are several things that carry importance and bring sentimentality to the storyline – chocolate, butterflies, stars, Ah-Ram’s name, and drawings.
Although The Wind Blows is gut-wrenchingly sad, the love story is very heartwarming and, at times, inspiring. For instance, here’s something you could tell someone who may be struggling with a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease…
“Memories are to be stored in your mind but remembrance is for the heart.” – The Wind Blows
Beautiful love story
Kam Woo-Sung’s superb acting
Darling Hong Je-Yi (Lee Ah-Ram)
Heartbreaking subject (Alzheimer’s disease)
The unbelievable part where Aoo-Jin attempts to trick Do-Hoon into believing she is another person (that, alone, brought the score down)