"I'm Sorry I Love You" aka Misa
Cha Moo-hyuk: So Ji Sup (Glass Slippers/Memories of Bali)
Song Eun-chae: Im Soo Jung (...Ing/A Tale of Two Sisters)
Choi Yoon (singer): Jung Kyung Ho
Kang Min-joo: Suh Ji Young
Moon Ji-young: Choi Yeo Jin
Oh Deul-hee (real name: Jo Mal-bok) (Yoon's mom): Lee Hye Young
Yoon Seo-kyung: Jun Hye Jin
Song Dae-chun (Eun-chae's dad): Lee Young Ha (Sang-doo)
Jang Hye-sook (Eun-chae's mom): Kim Hye Ok (Running After Dream)
Min Hyun-suk: Shin Goo (Miss Kim's Adventures in Making a Million/Wife)
Song Sook-chae (Eun-chae's older sister): Ok Ji Young
Song Min-chae (Eun-chae's younger sister): Jung Hwa Young
Kim Kal-chi (Seo-kyung's son): Park Gun Tae
Cha Moo Hyuk is a smalltime gangster prying the streets of Australia. He was abandoned by his parents as a kid and his foster parents brought him to Australia. Unfortunately, he was mistreated by his foster parents and thus roams the streets, cheating foreigners of their money when they are lost.
It is through one of his ruses that he bumps into Song Eun Chae. Song Eun Chae is the coordinator and childhood friend of the famous Korean singer, Choi Yoon. She sees Choi Yoon as her life's focal point and does everything she can to please him.
Choi Yoon visits Australia to do a photoshoot with another famous Korean actress, Kang Min Joo, who happens to be good friends with Eun Chae. Choi Yoon gets Eun Chae to get him close to Min Joo, as he is interested in her. It breaks Eun Chae's heart but she does so accordingly. One day, Eun Chae's luggage and money are stolen by the same crime group as Moo Hyuk.
Tired, hungry and helpless, she bumps into Moo Hyuk who helps her unknowingly.
She is forced to spend a night with him when gangsters threaten in the open and the next morning, she finds her luggage and money right in front of her.
Alas, Moo Hyuk managed to find the stuff stolen by his gang and return it all to Eun Chae and with her stuff, she's happily on a plane back to Korea, when she bumps into Min Joo and Choi Yoon, who are now a couple.
Several weeks later, Moo Hyuk receives an invitation for his ex-girlfriend's wedding. At the wedding, Moo Hyuk is accidentally shot twice in the head when someone attempts an assasination bid on his ex-girlfriend's husband. The doctors save him but only can remove one bullet. The remaining bullet in lodged too deeply within his head such that it cannot be surgically removed. It's killing him, and he has no longer than a year to live. Moo Hyuk is dying and his ex-girlfriend now married. He's a roaming gangster and his life, an utter mess.
Guilt-stricken, his ex-girlfriend gives him a huge stash of cash and tells him to go back to his native Korea to find his birth parents. He does so, and finds out that his mother is none other than the famous Korean actress, Oh Deul Hee. She has a son, Choi Yoon and both mother and son are adored by the Korean people as they portray a loving relationship and are immensely popular.
Moo Hyuk is heartbroken when he even manages to enter the house of Oh Deul Hee, and sees the portrait of Choi Yoon and her son. He bumps into his birthmother for the very first time in his life, but can't help but feel so betrayed because she is doing so well in life, whilst he is merely living out the remainder of whatever little time he has left.
Feeling angry and rageful, he vows revenge upon the mother and son. He starts by getting close to Choi Yoon, eventually making it to become his manager. Bit by bit, he plots to bring Choi Yoon and his mother down, but never expects himself to fall slowly in love with Song Eun Chae, the girl he helped in Australia.
Inevitably, Choi Yoon is struck by a heart disease and to put it plainly, he will die without a heart transplant. Suddenly, Moo Hyuk is stuck with the decision of saving his brother, or selfishly bringing them down.......
The Review **Warning, Spoilers included**
"I'm Sorry I Love You" was a drama that I had been eagerly anticipating for it to arrive in my country since its release in Korea in the December of 2004. Originally planned to be screened only for 16 episodes, the netizens of Korea demanded an extension and KBS complied by asking the drama's directors and producers to extend by another 4 episodes. However, the makers of the drama refused and said they couldn't and quite frankly, I'm happy they did.
"I'm Sorry I Love You" is the first Korean drama that I've catch in 2005 and to put it in a nutshell, it didn't disappoint. The drama doesn't revolve around the typical stereotypes in Korean dramas. The storyline is unique and the acting by the two main leads are nothing short of outstanding. It focuses on a mother's love for her child and how human beings are inevitably, soft-hearted creatures.
In fact, the drama was so popular that KBS even issued a second OST album for it due to overwhelming response. Not to mention that the last two episodes were so sad, that even the makers of the drama couldn't help but cry when the scenes were played out (I'm crying now as I'm listening to the OST in fact....nonetheless..) But enough about how great this drama is, let's move on to the cast and the memorable moments in this drama:
So Ji Sup as Cha Moo Hyuk
I don't have the vocabulary to describe So Ji Sup's performance in 'Misa'. I had watched him in 'Memories of Bali' and always knew that he was good. But this time he really outdid all of us.
I would quote what one member of Soompi said:
"So Ji Sup is just perfect for Cha Moo Hyuk".
Many a times I found myself amazed at the intensity of his expressions. The countless times he threw tantrums as the irritable Cha Moo Hyuk (the bullet affects his mood greatly). The way So Ji Sup reaches out to his audience is nothing short of spectacular. I find it a huge pity he has to go serve out his military service as a Korean after this drama (He enlisted in Febuary 05 I believe, and Korean males are required to serve for a mandatory two years), but I'm sure once he returns to the acting scene, he will have no shortage of offers to do movies and dramas.
Cha Moo Hyuk is one angry man, abandoned by his mother only to find she is doing so well now. He plots his revenge but falls in love with Song Eun Chae. He is further angered by Eun Chae's devotion to Choi Yoon, his half-brother. In the entire show, some of the things that Moo Hyuk does may be all in an attempt to plot the downfall of his mother and half-brother, but he never jeopadises Eun Chae, and quite rightly so, he puts her right up the list of his priorities.
If Choi Yoon is God to Eun Chae, then Eun Chae is quite simply God to Moo Hyuk.
When he sees how well Eun Chae fits in with his family (he has a retarded twin sister and her son), he feels he can leave this world in peace. There is this scene in the drama that made me tear very badly, when we hear dear Moo Hyuk think aloud as he piggybacked her back home:
If you would allow Song Eun Chae to be with me, from now to my death.
If you would allow her just be with me.
I would gladly take it all back."
I felt So Ji Sup must have been really deeply affected by his role in "Misa". Though I'm not sure, I believe So Ji Sup was raised single-handedly by his mother and during the KBS Award ceremony in 2004, when he won the prize for Best Actor together with Bi, he thanked his mother. Perhaps it was this upbringing that helped So Ji Sup adapt to Cha Moo Hyuk's role so effortlessly.
So Ji Sup may not be as handsome as Bae Yong Jun or charming as Lee Byung Hun, but you can't deny the amount of talent he exudes by his acting.
Im Soo Jung as Song Eun Chae
With comparisons to her co-star, I loved Im Soo Jung from top to bottom. She was very much what her character required to portray: A simple-minded girl without her own dreams. In the beginning, Eun Chae desired whatever Choi Yoon desired, because Choi Yoon was the epitomy of her life. But once she got to know Moo Hyuk, that changed forever.
She learnt what it felt like to be loved, what it meant to have your own direction in life. Many a times we find Eun Chae torn between Moo Hyuk and Choi Yoon, and it's especially saddening when we see poor Eun Chae hallucinating about Moo Hyuk. I guess it was simply how much she was pining for him but know she couldn't because Choi Yoon needed her.
Jung Kyung Ho isn't too bad himself, excelling as the spoilt and incredibly-sensitive Choi Yoon. He may play the spoilt brat in the initial stages of this drama but the ending sees him transform into a mature person as he bravely discusses with Moo Hyuk over how the both of them should just leave Eun Chae, as both of them are driving her crazy.
Suh Ji Young, member of the K-pop group, SHARP, not a bad performance by her but I think her role was more aethestic than anything else.
Apart from the few scenes where Moo Hyuk disguises himself as a rich man and seduces her away from Choi Yoon to complete his revenge, she's ok.
Reviewer's Thoughts (Post-drama)
The inital stages of "I'm Sorry I Love You" may be a little slow and unappealing to most but that was the way in which the director purposely played the drama out. The dramas get especially tear-jerking and appealing in the final four episodes, as we see Eun Chae slowly succumbing to the pressure she faces from Moo Hyuk and Choi Yoon.
We also see a more humane side of Oh Deul Hee, the birthmother of Moo Hyuk as she breaks down in front of the doctor saying she would do anything to save Choi Yoon, including give her heart. I really pitied Moo Hyuk at that scene. Imagine your birthmother saying she will do anything to save her son, yet you her other son, is standing right beside her, dying. If Choi Yoon was sad, then Moo Hyuk was pathetic. Because Choi Yoon had some remote hope of survival, but Moo Hyuk had only his inevitable death to anticipate.
There were numerous scenes that I felt touched me very deeply through this drama, but they mainly came in the last four episodes. There is this scene where we hear Eun Chae confessing to Moo Hyuk through the toilet door, as Moo Hyuk is violently vomiting out his food (a sign of his impending death), and she keeps telling him how sorry she was... and how she wanted so so much to bring him happiness but all she could give him was pain and more pain.
And there's the scene where Moo Hyuk forces Eun Chae to promise him she will forget him soon after he is gone, because he does not wish to see her suffer emotionally after his death.
Eun Chae promises him but knows all too clearly she won't. She tries to snap photos of him on her handphone for remembrance sake and eventually falls asleep........ when they part again, she brings out the handphone to see him just once more.... but alas the photos are gone. Moo Hyuk had only pretended to fall asleep and deleted the photos while Eun Chae was asleep.
The drama revolved not only around the love of Eun Chae and Moo Hyuk, but also the love Moo Hyuk yearned so much from his mother. This is more apparent when Choi Yoon and Moo Hyuk are in a discussion and Choi Yoon revealed to Moo Hyuk that he was adopted. Moo Hyuk is in shock and Choi Yoon simply tells him:
"For someone who is unrelated to her, she is willing to give up her own life. What do you think she would do for her own son?"
That left Moo Hyuk in a daze and it was also when he realised that he had made a terrible mistake, and that his mother had not intentionally abandoned him.
The subtlety in which the drama was shot also made it a huge hit.
The times when Moo Hyuk and Eun Chae would sit next to each other and not talk, but yet have so much to say. Many a times, the director drew a parellel between Moo Hyuk and Choi Yoon. It's even more obvious in this photo where Moo Hyuk is lying against the wall, with him beside the photo of his mother, and behind him the face of Choi Yoon.
And the last episode when he requests for Oh Deul Hee to cook for him just once: For a son to eat the food cooked by his mother for the first and last time . We see Moo Hyuk sobbing uncontrollably as he thinks aloud about how he's so happy to have such a mother like Oh Deul Hee who loves her foster son (Choi Yoon) so much, and forgives her to deal with his imminent death alone.
"I'm Sorry I Love You" has a deeper meaning throughout the normal K-dramas we see about love. It dwells more on the humanity of a person and if anyone ever doubted how silly the title was, think twice. In the end, we see Eun Chae travel to Australia and revisit the places where she first met Moo Hyuk and recap on those times.
She eventually visits the cemetary in which Moo Hyuk is buried (Moo Hyuk had passed away and donated his heart to Choi Yoon). On his tombstone engraved are the words: ""I'm Sorry I Love You"", because he had left Eun Chae with memories and memories alone, as he could no longer be with her. We see Eun Chae narrating as she lie down beside his grave:
"Even as I was alive, he was lonely.
I can't leave him alone like this.
Just this once in my life.
I'm thinking for myself.
And living for myself.
I will accept any punishment that comes."
What that meant, I leave it to you to go watch the drama and find out what happened, as I wish not to spoil the ending for you.
"I'm Sorry I Love You" is drama beautiful beyond words.
You must watch it, and in my opinion bags a full 5 out of 5.