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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Birth of a Beauty" Episode 16

2014/12/27 | 2499 views | Permalink

The fairy tale metaphor this time extends to Sleeping Beauty, as the tension concerns whether or not Tae-hee will wake up. Obviously he does, although it takes almost the full episode for him to actually recuperate completely. As usual, the question isn't whether he will get better but how. And sure enough, through the sheer power of sincerity Geum-ran saves her lover. Not only that, she manages to clear up several misunderstandings with other possible allies regarding the true nature of her character.

Chae-yeol ends up getting a perfectly clear line to go after Tae-hee again, yet going by this episode and the preview, doesn't take it. As of yet it's unclear as to why. Is Chae-yeol so blinded by revenge that she'd rather give up on Tae-hee than let an unrepentant criminal unpunished? Did Sara's romantic gesture surprise Chae-yeol so much that the latter woman realized she can't possibly offer Te-hee anything better than that?

At any rate it would appear that Cha-yeol is being set up for a redemption arc. Kang-joon, by contrast, completely fails to learn his lesson. I like how the man's really just kind of shocked that the universe isn't conspiring to give him what he wants for no apparent reason. Kang-joo is in no immediate danger, yet he insists on escalating the threat level. In this way he not only makes Chae-yeol an enemy but unknowingly endangers Min-hyeok's plan. The backtabbing, it would seem, has only just begun.

And Sara just decides to bow out of all that. Given the positive attitude "Birth of a Beauty" has taken towards Tae-hee and Sara choosing not to enage their enemies, it was perhaps inevitable that an opposing perspective be noted. Although the situation is still a bit awkward. While I want Tae-hee and Sara to fight back, at the same time, the current circumstances appear better designed to keep them out of serious danger.

"Birth of a Beauty" has a very intense, pulpy feel about it. It has plot threads and character motivations that are just wacky enough to be exciting while never actually getting so absurd as to feel totally implausible. Truthfully, I'm not all that sure whether the drama actually has particularly deep philosophical messaging or whether I'm just trying to rationalize a very brazen, fun traditional story with obvious heroes and villains who are designated mostly by how well they understand the concept of love. Either way, even a separation episode like this one comes off as very enjoyable in that context.

Review by William Schwartz

"Birth of a Beauty" is directed by Lee Chang-min-I, written by Yoon Yeong-mi and features Joo Sang-wook, Han Ye-seul, Jung Gyu-woon and Wang Ji-hye.


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