All About Eve


Reviewed by: TKL

June 25, 2004

Rating: three

Cast:
Jang Dong Gun as Yun Hyong-chul
Chae Rim as Jin Sun-Mi
Han Jae Suk as Kim Woo-Jin
Kim So Yeon as Huh Young-Mi
Park Chul as Kim Sun-Dal
Kim Jung Eun as Yu Ju-Hee


A few months ago I did not know that Korean series existed. Thanks to my friends, whose only interest nowadays is talking about Korean series and some guys named Jang Dong Gun, Bae Yong Jun, etc... I decided that I could no longer hide in my comfortable cave with TVB and Taiwanese series. I must go out and experience new things. From asking around for recommendations, quite a number of people suggested that I should watch "All About Eve". So here I come, Jang Dong Gun!

I started watching this series with wariness just like whenever I am asked to taste some strange food. New faces, new style of acting, different setting...Korean series seem to be very spicy and full of flavor like Kim Chi.

"All About Eve" is basically about the lives of two young women whose goal in life is to become the best newswoman. Sun Mi (Chae Rim) grows up comfortably in a single parent family. Her mother passed away when she was little and her father devotes all his love to Sun Mi. On the other hand, we have Young Mi (Kim So Yeon), who grows up in a harsh condition with her mom leaving her when she turned 6 and her dad, an alcoholic who abused her when he was drunk. Sun Mi is secretly in love with Woo Jin (Han Jae Suk) but he only treats her as a sister since they grew up together. Young Mi's father works in the construction company of Sun Mi's father. He dies from an accident and Young Mi is left with nothing. Sun Mi's father pities her and takes her in. He asks Woo Jin to let Young Mi stay at Woo Jin'’s working flat. Coincidentally, both Sun Mi and Young Mi get into the same course at university.

Woo Jin feels sympathy for Young Mi and helps her out. Sun Mi misunderstands his intentions and is heartbroken. She leaves Korea and goes to London to study English. In London, she befriends Hyong Chul to whom she confides her love for Woo Jin. Hyong Chul encourages her to tell Woo Jin of her true feeling. However, on returning to Korea, Sun Mi realizes that it is too late as Woo Jin has fallen in love with Young Mi. Sun Mi, Young Mi and Woo Jin work for MBS, a TV station. At this time, Hyong Chul returns to Korea and decides to help out his father, the owner of MBS, whose health is failing. Hyong Chul also decides to court Sun Mi even though she still cares about Woo Jin. Both women compete to be the best newswoman in the TV station and at the same time have to deal with their own relationship problems.

The whole series could be summed up in one word: LOVE. It starts out quite promisingly with potential character and plot development. Yet later, it mainly focuses on the two main couples and just forgets about the plot. We have Hyong-Chul, who hates his father in the beginning. It was probably to add a touch of tragedy to the past of the main actor’s role. Then he just simply comes back to Korea, sits in the chair of director and everything is normal as if nothing has ever happened. Hyong-Chul's stepmother, now is she an evil woman who steals another woman's husband? This point was never clarified in the series. We also have someone who appeared to be a villain, a rival to Hyong Chul in the company, but nothing really happened with this potential villain. This series is about receiving love but not giving it in return. Hyong-Chul patiently waits for Sun Mi, who runs to him every time she is upset even though she was still in love with Woo Jin. She never once tries to comfort him or understand him. Then we have Woo Jin, who sacrifices everything for Young Mi, even his life no matter how much she wronged him. So the two men in this series are like saints while the women are so heartless.

Jang Dong Gun as Yun Hyong-Chul: To my understanding, he is a very famous actor in Korea. It just seemed weird to me when everyone else in this series could barely open their eyes and here was Jang Dong Gun with his large round eyes. Yun Hyong-Chul is a Prince Charming figure in this series. He has everything that you could name in a “Dream guy”: handsome, money, power, intelligence, devotion, and loyalty. To top it off, he is a very lonely person who desperately wants someone to understand him (Yeah, right!). Wouldn’'t you be glad to help him out? Hyong Chul is one unrealistic character but it does allow the viewer to have some fantasy. Jang Dong Gun fits into the role of a Prince Charming. I’'m sure most female viewers would fall for him. It was romantic to watch Hyong Chul shower his affection on Sun Mi. There was one scene in the series where Sun Mi was waiting for Woo Jin patiently in the rain and met Hyong Chul who just walked past. Later, he saw Woo Jin driving Young Mi home and realized that Sun Mi was still standing in the rain. Jang Dong Gun expressed Hyong Chul’'s anger and frustration really well when he dragged her back to his place. Yet Hyong Chul really understood Sun Mi'’s love for Woo Jin and knew that he was just acting the same as Sun Mi. Jang Dong Gun delivered a performance full of panache and charm. His Hyong Chul was calm and collected.

Chae Rim as Sun Mi: This is the Cinderella of the story. She is supposed to be kind-hearted, innocent, at times clumsy but in a sweet way. Chae Rim looked sweet enough, even though a bit unnatural at some angles. I wonder if she had undergone the relentless knife of some cosmetic surgeon? She occasionally reminded me of Vicky Zhao Wei. Chae Rim seemed to have received training in a Taiwanese acting school. She could cry so well. Tears just poured out at will. Sun Mi was hopelessly in love with Woo Jin but was moved by Hyong Chul'’s affection for her. Yet at times, I felt as though she was double-timing Hyong Chul. Sun Mi was one silly woman who let herself be vulnerable to Young Mi’s tricks time after time.

Kim So Yeon as Young Mi: Young Mi was indeed a very pitiful character. She grew up under difficult circumstances so she understood what it meant to have nothing. She tried hard to be the best but as fate would have it, she was not going to be the best. Young Mi was a talented newswoman. However, she felt really insecure and to be certain that she would get what she wanted, she would harm Sun Mi. Even when she succeeded, her past still haunted her with the constant harassment from her ex-boyfriend. With a past like that, no wonder Young Mi was envious of Sun Mi. She wanted what Sun Mi had, even if it meant leaving her beloved Woo Jin to go after Hyong Chul. Kim So Yeon did very well as Young Mi, from the envious glances to the pretentious tears. She was a bit slow in her reaction in some scenes: for example it took forever for her to turn around and she would have looked more beautiful if she did not have that hairstyle that covered half of her face all throughout the series. So did Young Mi steal Woo Jin from Sun Mi? I don’t think so. If Woo Jin loved Sun Mi, nothing would have made him change. From beginning to the end, he had always treated Sun Mi like a sister. However, Young Mi was not so completely heartless as it seemed. She did really love Woo Jin. One thing I don’t understand about this series is what is so wrong with women who have ambition or want to have a successful career. Like Young Mi, I agree that she went overboard to achieve her goal but why everyone must think that having Woo Jin was enough? Take Yu Ju Hee for example. She was a very successful newsreader but people would cheer her when she gave up her dream to get married. As for Sun Mi, she was still young, it was a good opportunity for her to go and advance her career at the end but NO, she only wanted to get married.

Han Jae Suk as Woo Jin: Woo Jin is one pitiful character. Was he so blind in falling in love with Young Mi while Sun Mi was so desperately in love with him? Did he make a wrong choice? He stood aside watching her ignoring him at the company. He forgave her every time she lied to him. Whatever she did, he always found excuses for her behaviour and then forgave her. Is he one lovesick puppy? Is he so foolishly in love? Did he make a wrong choice when he fell in love with Young Mi? This is what love is supposed to be. There should not be right or wrong when one loves another. There is also nothing such as question and answer in love. Not everything can be explained with words in love. Woo Jin loves Young Mi that much. Han Jae Suk looked really dopey to me in the beginning. I don't think he is handsome. However, towards the end of the series, his love for Young Mi moved me. Han Jae Suk turned in a fine performance as the desperate lover. He brought out the frustration of a lover who knew that his girlfriend lied to him, mistreated him but he just loved her too much to stay away from her. His tragic ending was unpredictable.

Even though the rest of the cast turned in strong performance, their stories and characters were insignificant. The viewer was too occupied with the two main couples that the rest of the cast faded into background.

The pace of the series is slow. Everyone talks slowly, walks slowly, turns slowly...everything is really S...L...O...W. At least, the series was short and not lengthened beyond the ability of human endurance. People also don'’t talk much in Korean series. There are plenty of meaningful glances and smiles but no lengthy conversation. I guess the female audience can'’t get enough of Jang Dong Gun, so there are lots of scenes in this series where he drives or stands somewhere smiling to himself. One thing I like about Korean series is that none of the actors/actresses exaggerate in their acting. You don'’t have anyone rolling on the floor crying and pulling their hair out or making such a fuss when they commit suicide. I was afraid that Woo Jin'’s friend would turn out to be an annoying character who was supposed to be funny but made you feel like pressing the fast forward button every time he uttered a line. Alas, he disappeared in the later half of the series.

So should you watch this series? Well, if you are interested in Korean series, I am sure that you have already got your hands on this series. As for people out there who haven’t tried the Korean flavour, what can I say? There is not much plot to this series besides THE LUV. Pretty much like a Taiwanese series, Qiong Yao’'s for instance. If you are one of those who can'’t stand the slow pace and raising-goose-bumps dialogue, stay away from this series. For those people who need a good dose of romance, this is the one for you. Once in a while, you are allowed to sit down, curl your legs up and enjoy some romantic scenes. As for guys, this series is definitely a NO (unless you want to look at Chae Rim). After watching this series, you might suffer from an attack of self-pity and low self-esteem. Come on, the only guy who has the girl in the end is like a figure walking straight out of a fairytale.

Here are few good sites to browse through if you are interested in the series
-Jang Dong Gun: http://www.jangdonggun.pe.kr
-Official website: http://www.imbc.com/drama/eve/index.html


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