While the theme of the 2013 summer and autumn dramas has been ghosts ('Master's Sun', 'Who Are You - 2013' and 'Cheo Yong: The Paranormal Detective' coming not-so-soon), "I Hear Your Voice" went for a different kind of power. The male lead, Park Soo Ha, has the power to read people's minds. After his father was murdered when he was a child, Soo Ha grew up wanting to repay a big debt to the woman who saved his own life. This woman struggling with her own lack of dreams and loss of faith in people, Jang Hye Seong, is the female lead. Their story unfolds as they are trying to escape a danger from the past while becoming closer and also influencing and being influenced by events and other characters along the way.
Helmed by director Jo Soo-won ('Cheongdam-dong Alice') and written by Park Hye-ryeon ('Dream High'), "I Hear Your Voice" is hard to categorize, as genres in Korean drama tend to come with very specific styles and tropes. A suspense drama would be the closest thing to what it actually feels like, although it never becomes too overbearing. There is romance, there are court procedures, there is action, there is comedy. What this series does well is to tell its story instead of being confined by what it is supposed to be. And it is in this story and its characters where "I Hear Your Voice" truly shines.
Before getting to that, let us take a look at the basics. The plot is mostly solid and while the occasional gaping plot hole and some of the usual drama tropes are still there, they do not sully the overall quality of the series or the things it has to say. Visually, everything looks polished and professional, but it is not really groundbreaking in any way either. The visuals work for what they have to do and so does the sound. Certain lovely touches make this special, such as the very endearing use and display of skinship, both romantic and non.
The very impressive cast lead by Lee Jong-suk and Lee Bo-young does a great job with handling some demanding concepts that are not usually found in dramas. While Yoon Sang-hyun and Lee Da-hee could easily have become character stereotypes, they are just as developed as the leads, making their second lead positions more utilized and justified than in most series out there. Yoon Joo-sang, Kim Kwang-kyu, Kim Hae-sook and others offer quite the powerhouse supporting cast. Jung Woong-in's work as the villain is truly praise worthy, because his character's very nature and realism were things most actors do not have the chance to explore and convey within the confines of the caricature villains mostly found in kdrama. The quality of "I Hear Your Voice", its flow and even its mistakes make for an overall satisfying and quality experience.
However, as mentioned before, the core of this drama's success is in its story and characters. Anyone who has watched enough Korean drama knows that most series are about gaining the sympathy of audiences and getting them to root for something to happen. They are supposed to like the people they see and want them to achieve their goal. While this is the basic prerequisite for enjoying such stories, most dramas do not venture beyond that. They do not call for further and deeper exploration of the characters and events, critical thinking or soul-searching and they are not meant to offer much more than light entertainment.
"I Hear Your Voice" does what few dramas and even movies have accomplished. It asks and helps you to think. To judge yourself and look into your own morality when it comes to concepts like justice, hate, revenge, love and many more. This series is an honest and not bound by excessive melodrama journey into people. Not into the things that happen to them, but into how they perceive them, react to them and are shaped by them and what the essence, rights and wrongs of those thoughts, reactions and changes are.
Regardless of your age or preference in entertainment, "I Hear Your Voice" is worth checking out for its unique contribution to Korean dramas and for the things it will teach you. The series has some good looking leads, romance and some melodrama to satisfy less demanding viewers as well, but going into it for those alone is like going to a beach for the soda kiosk. It's fun, but you would be missing all the beauty.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I Hear Your Voice""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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