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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Madame Antoine" Episode 7

2016/02/12 | 2271 views | Permalink

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.

The main reason for this is that some elaborate motivation is necessary to justify why Hye-rim willingly stays in the same room as Soo-hyeon, although even that much is a little lacking here. Hye-rim's change in career focus is such that she really doesn't need to be around Soo-hyeon at all, and the reasons given for why these two are in the same room at all are a tad contrived. Most tellingly, when we finally get around to the one-off psychological case, it doesn't even involve Soo-hyeon's clinic at all.

That's one of the aspects of the narrative here that's a little awkward, is that the goals of the clinic are not terribly well-defined. We might expect that anyone visiting the clinic for medical help would be doing so for extended periods of time, since psychological conditions do not disappear overnight. Yet in practice Soo-hyeon and Hye-rim are more like wandering vagabonds who just offer counseling to whatever random person happens nearby, then forget about them after the customary two episodes.

The romantic aspects of the drama fare a little better than the psychological one. Even if the build-up is almost nonexistent director Kim Yoon-cheol certainly knows how to get the most out of a powerful kiss. But build-up is still very important, and right now we barely even have any dramatic stakes. "Madame Antoine" is designed like an episodic drama and yet all the big impactful plot points involve an ill-defined experiment that's played up more like a competition as research.

"Madame Antoine" is struggling with trying to find a proper sense of purpose. One of the problems with the experiment is that it theoretically sets up Seung-chan and Ji-ho as romantic rivals for Soo-hyeon, but both of the younger men have their own love interests so there's no real tension there either. I'm beginning to worry that "Madame Antoine" is going to see-saw indefinitely between whether or not or how much of the experiment Hye-rim will become aware of. That material is probably the drama's weakest spot, and I'd really just as soon have that whole angle dropped.

Review by William Schwartz

"Madame Antoine" is directed by Kim Yoon-cheol, written by Hong Jin-ah and features Han Ye-seul, Sung Joon and Jeong Jinwoon


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