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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Birth of a Beauty" Episode 5

2014/11/15 | 2115 views | Permalink

The question of why Geum-ran doesn't simply go to the police is resolved fairly quickly here. If she did that, then Tae-hee and Sara wouldn't be able to spend the next sixteen episodes mocking and humiliating Kang-joon and Chae-yeon. Somehow this doesn't seem like noble heroic behavior. Then again, all too many revenge dramas (looking at you "Shark") spend way too much time being moody only to waffle on the actual revenge part. Consequently, I approve the new bizarre change in direction for "Birth of a Beauty". Particularly since it happens to be funny.

Tae-hee and Sara may not have much romantic chemistry as of yet, but they definitely have a great sense of teamwork and being on the same level. Check out Sara's elaborate revenge chart, and in particular note Tae-hee's response. These two are very good at being able to bounce back from disaster at a moment's notice and just get their head in the game. It is a game to them- appropriate enough, given that our villains were playing a game with Geum-ran. But it's pretty clear they had nowhere near as much fun doing it.

Sara really is an absolute professional at utilizing secret personal information to maximize damage without letting on the fact that she knows way more than her family thinks she does. It's the lack of self-awareness on the part of Kang-joon and his family that makes all of this work so well. Even when told, right to his face, that they are going to permanently wreck his life, the man has absolutely no idea what to do with this information.

It's a nice development of his overall character. It's pretty clear from the last episode that Kang-joon and Chae-yeon don't actually trust each other all the way, even if it's possible that they do, in fact, love each other. This is a pretty vital flaw on their part, and it's fun to see them hit right where it hurts in way they don't know how to fight back. It turns out that money and influence aren't all that powerful in the face of the power of friendship.

But what really makes all this work is the sense of emotional direction. It's explicitly stated here that the main conflict facing Geum-ran and Tae-hee is that the person they loved has turned out to be a terrible person. They're reacting in the only way they know how- wacky elaborate revenge hijinx. While characters who have fun don't necessarily make for a fun drama, so far, it seems to be working out for "Birth of a Beauty".

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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