[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 16 Final 2016/03/12,
At long last "Madame Antoine" reaches the true form of Soo-hyeon's bad psychological attitude. It ends up being about his...dad. Wait, his dad? Have we even seen Soo-hyeon's dad up until now? I can barely even recall the man being discussed, yet now all of a sudden he's the villain upon whom we can safely blame every single problem. Even when a flashback eventually justifies this sentiment, I was caught a little off guard when right in the middle of a meal Soo-hyeon starts unloading following some very slight provocation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 15 2016/03/11,
Soo-hyeon gets his just desserts as Hye-rim finally (apparently) gives up on him. It's legitimately really hard to feel bad for the leading man here given that he's been begging for this treatment for pretty much the drama's entire run. Ironically enough, his main sympathetic moment here comes courtesy not of Hye-rim, but rather his mother. While it's easy to feel sympathetic to her in the present day, as Soo-hyeon points out, her actions caused some pretty huge psychological issues that can't simply be ignored,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 14 2016/03/05,
Another episode, another lecture on the importance of the experiment, another thinly-veiled revenge scheme that just comes off as psychologically unhealthy. Ironic, given how once upon a time the main high concept of "Madame Antoine" was a pretense toward somewhat serious psychological discussion. The main comfort at this point is that with two episodes left, there isn't really that much more erratic behavior to endure between Hye-rim and Soo-hyeon. Even if the preview hints at things going a tad too far,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 13 2016/03/04,
For all Soo-hyeon's ominous voiceovers, it turns out that he doesn't really know what to do at this point with his hopelessly flawed study. I'm not sure, by the way, why the lynchpin for all this is a very specifically designed video. I always assumed that the clip we saw from the first episode was that woman's own personal spontaneous declaration of love, not the outcome of a very awkward sounding request. Even if Hye-rim wasn't familiar with the previous experiment Soo-hyeon discusses the request in a way that always sounds really suspicious,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 12 2016/02/27,
There are moments when "Madame Antoine" actually manages to be pleasant enough to be passable romantic comedy material. Ji-ho's obsessing over Yoo-rim is absolutely adorable, and the sheer absurdity of the visuals over their meeting in the cafe was a delight in and of itself. But time and again we're dragged back into reality and I'm forced to remember that the actual lead characters go through these horribly dramatic mood swings over the most trivial topics,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 11 2016/02/26,
There's a great scene this episode where Ji-ho, apparently having changed his borderline autistic mind about which women he can like, attempts to start again with Yoo-rim. But Yoo-rim just gets angry at him. Why? Beause Ji-ho is borderline autistic and has been disregarding her feelings for pretty much the entire drama up until now. Yoo-rim behaves like any normal, sensible person would when faced with an obviously manipulative suitor. And that makes me wonder- why can't Hye-rim act like that? Are she and Soo-hyeon really going to go back and forth on who's really lying for the entire drama?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 10 2016/02/20,
Having finally obtained concrete information on Soo-hyeon's experiment, Hye-rim has to decide whether to attack quickly or slowly. Once she's made that decision, we're then treated to more of the usual doubting about whether Soo-hyeon is really that bad a guy or if there are some emotional truths mixed in with all the logical lies. This leads up to a cliffhanger where Hye-rim is surprised to learn information I thought she already knew, the next follow-up stage being more wackiness,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 9 2016/02/19,
It's hard to take Hye-rim and Soo-hyeon's lovey dovey scenes all that seriously considering that Soo-hyeon is still conducting his mostly unscientific experiment. Why he's even bothering with that pretense at that point isn't clear- I'm pretty sure that for all the problems uncovered so far, taking an MRI test at the subject's demand seems pretty useless. This much is especially true considering that Hye-rim obviously has the ability to manipulate the results for whatever arbitrary outcome she wants,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 8 2016/02/13,
Soo-hyeon's insistence on rationalizing all of his actions in context of the experiment is seeming less like anything resembling a pretense of science and more a weird psychological fixation. He gives Hye-rim a major passionate kiss, and when she finallys recovers enough of her senses to fight him off, right away Soo-hyeon is back in defensive mode. That means more lying, mixed in with barely enough truth to be persuasive in the face of of Hye-rim's immediate inquisition,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 7 2016/02/12,
Extended focus on the somewhat shaky premise of "Madame Antoine" has forced me to admit that Soo-hyeon's obsession with the experiment is a tad nonsensical, and the more he explains his reasons the less coherent the story's overall thrust sounds. Soo-hyeon's reasons for continuing the experiment simply aren't all that persuasive, and I find myself wondering why "Madame Antoine" even bothers with that angle when the production is obviously a classically styled romantic comedy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 6 2016/02/06,
Yoo-rim (played by Hwang Seung-eon) is Hye-rim's younger sister and I'm spotlighting her this time because she's the main character who tries to do something different this episode by being sneaky like a normal person instead of a psychic / psychological genius. It's lucky for her that Ji-ho is so fantastically ignorant he'll entertain any ridiculous proposal she comes up with just for the sake of science. Personally I suspect someone put pressure on the production team to work more kisses into the story somehow,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 5 2016/02/05, Seong Joon is really good in the lead role here. Note how it's always (mostly) easy to tell whether or not Soo-hyeon is actually being sincere, and the main times there's ambiguity is when Soo-hyeon himself isn't totally sure what's going on. The only times Soo-hyeon is able to get Hye-rim's guard down is when he's making mistakes. His increasingly complicated lies just come off as increasingly suspicious. Besides, the premise of Soo-hyeon's experiment doesn't even make sense,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 4 2016/01/30,
Most romantic comedies sublimate sexual tension into some kind of other non-gendered competition. "Madame Antoine" does the exact opposite. Soo-hyeon intentionally courts Hye-rim in the most weirdly unnecessary confrontational way possible. While Soo-hyeon is in theory running a scientific experiment, he interprets any intermediate results of the experiment very personally. As much as Soo-hyeon thinks in terms of petty revenge, he's really looking at a much more terrifying prospect- the notion that he is not the smartest man in the room,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 3 2016/01/29,
Hye-rim, being a generally observant woman, has little trouble cutting to the center of Soo-hyeon's scheme. Unfortunately, while Hye-rim is able to identify Soo-hyeon as the source of all the weird stuff that happened last episode, she's genuinely at a loss as to why Soo-hyeon would engage in such bizarre activities. What's more, because Seung-chan (played by Jinwoon) and Ji-ho (played by Lee Ju-hyeoung) are somewhat more naturalistic in their approach, Hye-rim is completely incapable of grasping the big picture,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 2 2016/01/23,
It would seem that Soo-hyeon has made it his mission to teach Hye-rim a lesson. Not in the literally helpful way of better explaining psychology, but in the metaphorical sense of humiliating her. Soo-hyeon isn't just evil- he's petty evil, and his weirdly obsessive attitude is creepy, simplistic, and most gallingly of all, anti-scientific. Experiments, even obviously unethical ones, work best with subjects who don't know what's happening to them. For a laywoman, Hye-rim is actually pretty knowledgable,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 1 2016/01/22,
Soo-hyeon (played by Seong Joon) is a psychologist with an appallingly bad attitude. His scientific experiments are highly unethical, and to what end? So he can prove that love isn't real. Enter Hye-rim (played by Han Ye-seul), a fortuneteller who rather transparently uses cold reads to scam anyone who walks into her parlor. Yet Hye-rim is consistently able to make her patrons feel good about themselves- a fact which Soo-hyeon finds offensive, since the whole point of psychology is to make people appreciate their own depressed miserable existence,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 16 Final 2013/12/03,
It turns out future Mi-Rae was wrong this whole time- just not for the reasons we would have guessed. The time traveler is a non-entity throughout most of this episode, too broken down and irrelevant at this point to have much influence on the storyline directly. But everything about her, from the warnings she gave about the future, to the romantic meddling, to the very fact that time travelers exist at all who will try to warn their past selves against misdeeds, all of this is essential to the drama's final resolution.
We had been taking it for granted this whole time that the reason why Mi-Rae and Kim Sin's lives fell apart in the original timeline was due to a lack of financial security owing to a poor employment situation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 15 2013/12/02,
Several conflicts come up this episode, from the somewhat suspicious nature of Kim Sin's new job, the strong opinion Mi-Ran has about the potential future of the relationship between Mi-Rae and Se-Joo, to Joo-Hyeon's surgery. There's a surprising lack of urgency about any of these events, though- as if the drama, essentially realizing there isn't enough time left to turn any of these into a serious crisis. Consequently, here we only seem to be only lightly touching on the fact that a lot of the problems these characters face haven't really been resolved.
Even last episode's cliffhanger comes off as pretty irrelevant. Granted, it felt that way at the time, too. If future Mi-Rae is, in fact, completely unaffected by her actions in the past, well, that really only affects her personally,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 14 2013/11/26,
This episode makes a much more convincing argument that the drama really is all over, that everything has resolved for the better and it's just leftover feelings and nostalgia for the past that's slowing things down. Mi-Rae and Kim Sin make their final goodbyes, and the emotional pain is blunted by Kim Sin's insistence that the choice he's making is a good one that will be better for him in the long term. Especially since he's probably right.
Probably. I liked how the flashback of Kim Sin's time at the station starts out with him doing all that career stuff that's so important to him, then quickly merges to the career stuff that he was doing with Mi-Rae, then mostly just becomes about Mi-Rae exclusively,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 13 2013/11/25,
The drama hits a weird pace this time, as for the most part all the conflict has been resolved. Kim Sin has been thoroughly put off from Mi-Rae, and moves forward with his plans to avoid the rather nasty future that the older Mi-Rae warned him of. The other characters by contrast, have very little to do. There's another plot about the latest news-team related drama, but this storyline is fairly subdued and there's not much sense of a dramatic sense now that all the loveline stuff has apparently been resolved.
Apparently being the key word. The cast as a whole is rather lethargic here, which seems rather at odds with this being the future Mi-Rae's supposedly good outcome,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 12 2013/11/19,
It's Christmastime in "Marry Him If You Dare", and this episode goes into all the emotions associated with the holiday. Exisential dread and despair at taking stock of relationships past and present and suddenly realizing that horrific flaws lurk just beyond the surface, and that they're never seen until it's too late. That's not very Christmas-y in the general sense of the term, but for anyone who's ever had that kind of nasty holiday this episode hits pretty close to home.
Future Mi-Rae finally explains in full detail exactly what happened with her and Kim Sin in the future,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 11 2013/11/18,
Kim Sin tried to shake up the status quo in the last episode's cliffhanger and, well, the scheme didn't really work that well. The drama gets in a good gag at the start of this one to mostly defuse the tension of the situation. And from there, it's right into the thick of a complex plot designed to get in a really great news story. That involves Mi-Rae going undercover because...um...
All right, remember the subway plot from earlier in the drama?,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 10 2013/11/12,
We start out with a flashback- which is kind of confusing because when future Mi-Rae does a flashback, she's actually looking forward to an alternate version of the future, just with a brown pastel. There's a funny moment when the shading changes from alternate present to real present, as if it were changing from past to present, but no, this is all pretty much present day Korea, so don't get too choked up.
Finally getting an actual look at the world future Mi-Rae is trying to prevent goes a fair distance to explaining her actions- although it doesn't exactly justify them, especially when she starts having memories of the good times,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 9 2013/11/11,
I find myself questioning the accuracy of "Marry Him If You Dare"'s portrayal of the broadcasting industry. I know that broadcasting companies produce a ridiculous amount of content, and that not every minute of it is going to be a part of a high-class production, but pettiness really should be avoided. This episode sees the creation and abrupt solving of a villainous subplot involving writing credits.
But since the drama is polite enough to quickly move on from this, so will I,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 8 2013/11/05,
If the last episode went too far with its romantic plotting, this time around "Marry Him If You Dare" makes a concerted effort to avoid showing off any kind of convincing chemistry between the leads at all. It's nice seeing that Mi-Rae's actions have consequences in terms of the way other characters feel about her. Kim Sin and Se-Joo both clearly pull away from her, suddenly a lot more uncertain about how much they really like the woman when she seems to be playing them off each other.
Mi-Rae isn't actually scheming- she's just not thinking through her actions very well. The older women on this drama, however, very much begin plotting in earnest here,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 7 2013/11/04,
The emphasis shifts straight back to the love triangle this episode- unfortunately it's not really a quadrangle, at least not yet. There's been no hint of any romantic interplay between Kim Sin and Yoo-Kyeong for some time- which is disappointing, since that would seem to be a fairly important part of future Mi-Rae's plan. There is, at least, a hint of this being acknowledged here, as future Mi-Rae tries to work behind the scene to get her past self in line.
The present Mi-Rae is not being particularly cooperative,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 6 2013/10/29,
Almost immediately after future Mi-Rae's apparent clairvoyance is discovered, she makes another shocking prediction that forces the entire cast into crisis mode. This wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I wanted the characters in this drama to exhibit more agency, but I'm not going to argue with what works. There's excitement and action galore here, and best of all, none of this overshadows the characterization.
For starters, the fact that future Mi-Rae has been keeping this information to herself this whole time, and only appears to be bringing it up now to further her own plans, really seems to obviously put into question her motives,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 5 2013/10/28,
At the beginning of this episode the elder Mi-Rae gives a shocking revelation that clearly threatens to change the dynamic of the entire series. Unfortunately, it isn't until the end of the episode that anyone's actually able to confirm what's going on. So this time around "Marry Him If You Dare" centers mainly around filler- until this plot thread is resolved, the main characters simply aren't in much of a position to decisively move the story forward.
We do get to see some interesting relationship dynamics,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 4 2013/10/22,
Jeong Yeong-hwa and Han Chae-ah have really good chemistry as the beta-couple in "Marry Him If You Dare". There's a deliberate give-and-take in their interactions that's absent when either of these actors are on-screen with any other characters. When their characters meet up in a bar, and end up talking for basically no reason, this conversation goes on a long time even when the perfect excuse comes up to ditch it.
Likewise, we get a taste of how Kim Sin and Mi-Rae were able to get together in the original timeline,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 3 2013/10/21,
The merits of Kim Sin (played by Lee Dong-Geun) as a human being are on relatively dubious footing. He turns cranky at the slightest provocation and clearly enjoys starting fights- a part of his personality that's in bizarre conflict with his squeaky clean demeanor as a broadcaster, though it doesn't at all conflict with Kim Sin's hard-hitting passive-aggressive journalistic style. His swearing is a crude, but effective exemplar of this. Especially since this part of his attitude doesn't go away just because he has a moment of softness,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 2 2013/10/15,
This episode features an extended look into the exciting world of TV broadcasting. Which, surprisingly enough, isn't really that interesting. The main charm from the first episode was in the general zaniness of the proceedings. That sense of imagination is largely missing here. Aside from a few basic points of motivation, all the focus here is on relatively mundane events that could have (and maybe did?) happen in the original timeline.
I won't be too hard on this episode, though, since it does set up a lot of important motivations. We get a glimpse as to what the future Mi-Rae's plan is, primarily in the way she meets and interacts with all these people in the past who are not her earlier self,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Marry Him If You Dare" Episode 1 2013/10/14,
Time travel stories often have this frivolous air about them, that our heroes are using this amazing plot device to accomplish rather mundane feats. I don't hold it against the concept- time travel narratives would be pretty boring if every last one of them just boiled down to a plan to assassinate Hitler. "Marry Him If You Dare" makes the interesting narrative choice, though, of making us question the wisdom and discretion of the person messing around with history in the first place.
Even in the present day Mi-Rae (played by Yoon Eun-hye) isn't exactly the most sympathetic person,...More
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so much people want to see yong hwa and
eun hye to be a couple in future's
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