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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Birth of a Beauty" Episode 4

2014/11/09 | 2998 views | Permalink

Well, it's happened again. "Birth of a Beauty" has accomplished yet another radical tonal shift, as we discover the exact nature of Geum-ran's accident...and sixteen episodes yet remain. I genuinely don't think I've ever seen a television drama move this fast before. Every episode is just the bare minimum of exposition necessary to cram in all the necessary plot twists, as well as the light comedy needed to add a bit of levity to the proceedings.

But how is it supposed to be a comedy at this point, when it's confirmed beyond all doubt that Geum-ran was murdered and is the victim of a conspiracy with an unknown number of participants? The entire romancing storyline just abruptly stops with no hint of recovery. Watching this drama next week is going to be weird- those opening titles are extremely bubbly and cute and now we know that there's way more dark stuff going on here than what's been let on.

The main question at this point is what plan Tae-hee and Sara are going to come up with that isn't just "have Geum-ran tell the police that she is in fact alive and didn't do any of that stuff". Genre conventions would state that she has to get her revenge in a more elaborate way than that, but it seems like that alone would be enough to completely crush the aspirations of her would-be murderer. And note that even without Tae-hee and Sara's interference, Geum-ran's surviving family may well uncover the truth on their own.

Actually even their help might not be necessary. The now-clearly-defined villains of this drama look about ready to implode at any moment. There's just too many unanswered questions about Geum-ran's death. The entire situation has been exposed as a house of cards- any amount of prodding may well be enough to blow everything up. And given the speed with which the drama's heading, it wouldn't at all surprise me to learn that this collapse will happen in the next few episodes as writer Yoon Yeong-mi comes up with yet another insane conflict / plot twist.

The only real complaint I can broach at this point is that the plausibility of all this is strained. But then, the fairy tale archetype too has become really obvious. Geum-ran married Prince Charming, but gained Cinderella's wicked stepmother and stepsisters in the process. From these archetypes "Birth of a Beauty" has somehow turned into an Elizabethian Revenge Tragedy. It's all so fascinatingly bizarre- who knows where any of this is going to go next.

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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