Hwang Jin Yi

Reviewed by: sunkissedtomatoes

February 02, 2008

Rating: five

Hwang Jin Yi / Hwang Jin Ni

Ha Ji Won - Hwang Jin Yi
Kim Jae Won - Kim Jung Han
Jang Geun Suk – Eunho
Yoo Tae Jun - Byuk Kye Soo

This series is about the life of Korea's most famous of gisaeng (Korean geisha) during the Joseon era. This series is about a girl (Hwang Jin Yi) who went through much hardship to learn dancing. In the process she became a gisaeng because she thought she would be able to learn dancing that way. Her beauty and intelligence attracted four different men for each loved her in their own different way and affected her life.

The Review: (Spoilers)

The Plot –
I'm not too sure how accurate the series is historically. This series is similar to "Jewel in the Palace" as the lead actress, goes through much hardship in her life while searching for her mother and pursuing her love for dancing. Just like "Jewel in the Palace", there are two competing dance troupes which meant that there were dancing competitions between the troupes. The only difference in this series is that Hwang Jin Yi had four men who fell in love with her.

The Men –
Eunho - Hwang Jin Yi's first love was a nobleman's son, which ended in tragedy. This relationship was forbidden by his parents, and by law, since they were from different social classes. Although both love one another, the nobleman son was unable to prove his love for her in society. Their love here was really dramatic and involved a really romantic proposal scene, and probably the saddest death scene ever imaginable. It was probably this heart breaking relationship that set the tone for her future relationships.

Byuk Kye Soo - A brazen royal famous for his womanising, pride and believe that money solves/buys everything. His love for Hwang Jin Yi was not reciprocated and he became obsessed with her. He tried all means to make her fall in love with him through kidnapping her, stealing Kim Jung Han's poems to fake as his own and sleeping with Jin Yi's friend to gain information on how to make her fall in love with him. However, Hwang Jin Yi only ended up humiliating him countless times. I must admit the ways she humiliated him was impressive! But Byuk Kye Soo was a master of obsession and since he could not have her, he set out to destroy her. It ended with Hwang Jin Yi's master's death which drove her into madness.

Kim Jung Han - A gentleman of noble background highly regarded by the King. He was perhaps her knight in shining armour as he was constantly saving her life and sacrificing himself for her. He loved her, but was afraid to claim her as his at the beginning. Hwang Jin Yi was also reluctant to accept that she had fallen in love with him as she knew that they would have an unhappy ending. He was the one who made Hwang Jin Yi dance freely again as she had given up her dancing when Eunho died (since Eunho had loved to see her dance). He ended up renouncing his status and lived with her as husband and wife for three years as fugitives (They were fugitives because they were from different classes and it was illegal for different classes to have relationships). But because of Byuk Kye Soo's obsession with Hwang Jin Yi, they were caught and tried. Kim Jung Han was tortured and sentenced to death. However, Hwang Jin Yi performed a dance that captured the King's attention and made a bargain that she will never see Kim Jung Han again and both would return to their respective positions in society.

Mr Lee, the bodyguard - A man of mysterious background, who watches over Hwang Jin Yi and risks his life to protect her with his martial arts ability. He doesn't profess nor reveals his love for her, but lets her know that he will always be by her side waiting for the day when she wants to take a rest. An interesting character who shows that he loves her through his actions. Towards the end of the series it is revealed that he is the Prime Minister's son and although he hated his dad, he was willing to return to his dad's side in return for helping Hwang Jin Yi.

Hwang Jin Yi –
The Dancing – It is simply amazing when Ha Ji Won dances. Your attention is totally captured by her and the moving soundtrack helps too. Apparently Ha Ji Won practiced learning the traditional dance for a few months before filming this series. The dance teacher said that she was good enough to be a professional dancer.

Hwang Jin Yi is not only technically proficient in her dancing; she is the best at dancing because when one watches her, one can see her enjoying herself. At the end of the film, she becomes the best at dancing because she can create her own steps and she is able to show her feelings through her movements.

The intelligence – Hwang Jin Yi's talent is showcased with her convincing the Ming envoy to let Korean arts flourish. But the best parts was when she humiliated Byuk Kye Soon. In one part, she competed against Byuk and 6 other court officials in a “war of poems” which ended with the men mostly naked!

The seductress – Although Ha Ji Won did not reveal any part of her body, she was really suited to this role. The look in her eyes was really seductive and her eyes are really good at showing her distain for Byuk.

Yes, No or Maybe... To watch or not?

Yes – for a moving soundtrack coupled with brilliant costumes, amazing set designs and mesmerising dancing from Ha Ji Won.

No - if you expect a happy ending.

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