This story has a slight My Love Eun-Dong feel to it and, although not quite as good as that story, When My Loves Blooms (aka The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: The Moment Life Becomes a Flower) is definitely a melodrama romance lovers should see.
“For I have lived on waiting for you,
And my heart was only your footsteps.”
The Footsteps by Paul Valery
Quoted in – When My Love Blooms
Han Jae-Hyun and Yoon Ji-Soo met while attending Yeonhui University in 1993. When the police appeared, in order to break up the protest Jae-Hyun was at with a group of friends, Ji-Soo, who was simply just crossing the street, was knocked to the ground during the scuffle and scraped her hand. Seeing her situation, Jae-Hyun escorted her away from the conflict and then, using his own handkerchief, gently wrapped it around her wound and left. Ji-Soo, mesmerized by the handsome, kind stranger, set out to track him down. When she finally found him she began an all out effort to get him to date her. Although he tried to politely ignore her, once he gave into his real feelings the two were inseparable. As their love grew, so did Ji-Soo’s father’s opposition to their relationship and he did everything in his power to separate the two sweethearts. While Jae-Hyun was serving his mandatory military assignment Ji-Soo vanished into thin air, leaving Jae-Hyun bewildered and completely crushed. Although he tried to find her, his efforts were in vain and so he did the only thing he could do – he went on with his life without her.
Twenty-five years later the two meet once again in the principal’s office at Garamond International Middle School – Ji-Soo’s son had assaulted Jae-Hyun’s son and the students’ parents were asked to help sort things out. Both Jae-Hyun and Ji-Soo are stunned to see each other after so long and devastated at the fact that they were reunited under such unfavorable circumstances. Now that fate has brought the two together once again will the college sweethearts end up being ships that pass in the night or will the memories and feelings they share be too strong to just keep in the past?
As a law student in college, Han Jae-Hyun wasn’t someone who could just stand by and watch injustices take place. He enthusiastically embraced the desire for the liberation of labor and liberal democracy and became an active protester to back up that belief. His father worked at a steel company in Incheon and was one of the militant labor union members, while his mother ran a small fish stall in the market. When Ji-Soo disappeared and Jae-Hyun was unable to track her down, he reluctantly went on with his life and eventually secured a job as a clerk at Hyung Sung Group. There he met the chairman’s only child and eventually became the man’s son-in-law. Although he was promised an upper management job, he ended up as market vice-president. When the chairman, Jang Sang, was caught in illegal activities, it was Jae-Hyun who willingly took the fall for the old man who mockingly refers to him as a loyal hunting dog. While Jae-Hyun was serving four years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, his wife, Jang Seo-Kyung, was busy having an affair with a younger man. Now that Jae-Hyun has been released from prison, as a reward for serving time on behalf of his father-in-law, he has just been promoted to vice-president of headquarters (the spot he was promised long ago).
Since her father was the chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, Yoon Ji-Soo grew up in a wealthy, upper class home. She was the oldest child in the family and, while her younger sister was the apple of her father’s eye, Ji-Soo was a disappointment to him. She learned to play the piano when she was young and had an amazing ability to hear a song once and then play it flawlessly on the piano by memory. Ji-Soo graduated from Seonghun Girls High School and went on to become a piano major at Yeonhui University, which angered her father since he had all but commanded her to go to law school and follow in his footsteps. The man ruled with an iron fist and Ji-Soo was often on the receiving end of his corporal punishment. She loved movies, always choosing to go to theaters while others went to night clubs. Although Jae-Hyun didn’t give her even the tiniest amount of encouragement, she was tenacious in breaking down his barriers and was surprised and thrilled when he began to return her feelings. It was through Jae-Hyun that she developed a strong sense of justice, sticking up for the underdog no matter how difficult it was. Ji-Soo was considered to be one of the top three beauties of the class of 1993. Now, as a single mother, she teaches piano lessons and works in a supermarket to provide for her 14 year old son.
Jang Seo-Kyung is the CEO of her father’s company, Hyung Sung Group, which has been involved in economic crimes, corruption, and tax evasion for years. Since she was the only child of a cheabol, and Jae-Hyun was one of the chairman’s employees, people remarked that their relationship was a drama-like romance. Her father was totally against her marriage to Jae-Hyun but gave into her pleading once she threatened to commit suicide if they didn’t marry. While Jae-Hyun was in prison for four years in her father’s stead, she met a younger man, an aspiring model/actor, and had an affair simply because she was lonely, but her relationship with Jae-Hyun had been over even before her affair. She simply refuses to let go of her husband, legally, because she’s scared to death to be left behind and doesn’t like the idea of loosing what she thinks of as her possession.
Jae-Hyun and Ji-Soo each have a 14 years old son who are in their second year (8th grade) at Garamond International Middle School. The two boys couldn’t be more opposite. Since Ji-Soo’s boy, Lee Young-Min, scored first place in International Olympiads (academic competitions) the school took him as a scholarship student, paying his tuition for all three years. Young-Min has remained in first place since his enrollment. Jae-Hyun’s son, Han Joon-Seo, is an arrogant young man who grew up in a tremendously wealthy home and has a strong sense of entitlement. He looks down on others who are not of his social status and especially hates Young-Min because he is poor and gets better grades.
Attorney Lee Dong-Jin is Ji-Soo’s ex-husband. When they divorced he agreed to give up custody of Young-Min as long as Ji-Soo waved all her rights to child support and alimony. He now regrets his decision to let Ji-Soo go and will do anything to get her back.
For information about actor/director Yoo Ji-Tae, the man who plays the part of Han Jae-Hyun in his mid-40s, you can go to my review of Healer.
My He is Psychometric review contains information about Park Jin-Young, the amazingly talented actor whose character is Han Jae-Hyun in his 20s.
I’ve never really been a big fan of Lee Bo-Young (the actress who plays the older Yoon Ji-Soo) because I’ve disliked so many of the characters she’s played in the past. But because I sincerely liked Yoon Ji-Soo, this drama has helped me see Bo-Young in a new light. You can read about her in my review of Whisper.
The actress that plays Yoon Ji-Soo in her 20s is Jeon So-Nee. She began her entertainment career in 2015 through a supporting role in the movie Untouchable Lawmen. She has been in eight motion pictures with one set to come out this August (2020) called Hi, My Soul Mate. When My Love Blooms is her fifth TV drama but the first in which she has had a leading role. Her second leading female role will be in Que Sera, Sera which should air later this year. It is a remake of the 2007 Kdrama of the same name, starring Eric Mun and Jung Yoo-Mi. (I saw the first Que Sera, Sera and thought it was extremely gloomy. I hope the remake will be less depressing than its predecessor.)
Cheers to the person who came up with this drama’s opening. Both Jae-Hyun and Ji-Soo love movies so the very beginning of this drama is quite significant to the story. If you listen and watch carefully you’ll see the opening credits of When My Love Blooms hints that the couple’s relationship can be compared to that of lovers in a classic movie. The song sounds like it could be the theme of an old romantic film and the pictures are kind of faded and crackly, like how so many old movies can be. Also, at the very end of the opening we see what appears to be a movie screen. The whole thing is creative and perfect for this drama’s story.
When My Love Blooms is the first thing Jeon Hee-Young has written. Although the story has a familiar melodramatic feel, the plot is something new and original. Good job, Jeon Hee-Young. I hope she writes more scripts in the future. The show’s director, Son Jung-Hyun, has worked on nine other dramas, two of which I thought were excellent – Should We Kiss First and Protect the Boss. He does another wonderful job this time with fade ins and outs, camera angels, and color. The younger years/flashback scenes don’t have as vivid color as the 2020 ones. That’s an excellent idea. I mean, our memories are less vivid than our current life so why not portray that on film?
Although some viewers were concerned the show might glorify affairs, they needn’t have worried. When Jae-Hyun and Ji-So’s lives once again coincidently collide, she is divorced and his marriage has been over for quite some time, except for legal papers being signed. Jae-Hyun’s wife had been having an affair while he was in prison and continued to see the guy even after Jae-Hyun was released. It’s only when she begins to think someone else might actually entice him away from her that she decides her husband is worth holding on to. In my opinion, what the two college sweethearts share as adults can not at all be considered an affair.
I need to point out something I thought was very impressive. Three cheers to Yoo Ji-Tae (Jae-Hyun) for demonstrating his amazing upper body strength by doing several hanging pull-ups (like Park Shi-Hoo in Neighborhood Hero) on two separate occasions. And he does them with his shirt off so we’re able to see his incredible back muscles. When you consider the fact that the guy is 44 years old – wow!
While watching this show I couldn’t help but think about the super old movie my mom loved (and had me watch with her when I was very, very young) entitled An Affair to Remember, starring good-old Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Although the movie and this drama are different in many, many ways, they also have quite a few similarities. If you’re familiar with that 1957 film you’ll be able to see what I mean when you watch this drama.
The music from When My Love Blooms is very pretty. Although I absolutely love the gorgeous opening theme song, the one that is highlighted in this drama supposedly comes from the Japanese movie Love Letter. Jae-Hyun and Ji-Soo watch the movie together and when the show is over Ji-Soo claims she could play the show’s song without the sheet music, and does. Jae-Hyun is extremely impressed, as anyone would be, and that particular song becomes the sweethearts’ theme throughout the rest of the drama. It’s a lovely piano piece that we never get tired of hearing. (I tried to find that particular song on YouTube by checking out Love Letter’s original soundtrack as well as When My Love Blooms’ but was unable to track it down. If you know where it is, please let me know.) All of this drama’s music is nice.
These characters take us to a beach, a monastery in the mountains, wealthy people’s homes and offices, and the lower-middle class dwellings of those who struggle monetarily to make ends meet each day. It does a fine job representing the varied blend of normal life.
Although When My Love Blooms isn’t my favorite melodrama, it is good and I’m glad I saw it. You probably won’t need a box of tissues but, who knows?
Some scheming people