With these reviews I've been guessing and hypothesizing about whether or not Il-ri and Hee-tae can really be said to love each other. Then both of them come out and admit to having had the same insecurities about their relationship for pretty much the exact reasons I've described. This revelation doesn't make me feel smart for being right. It makes me feel a little ashamed, honestly, because it's honestly not clear whether the relationship would be in any trouble at all except that they're meta-analyzing it and wondering if they've somehow done love incorrectly.
The flaws remain paramount and obvious. Il-ri doesn't take no for an answer. Joon practically has to threaten her in order to make it clear that he'd rather just be alone. Or does he? As it turns out even Joon's a pretty big emotional mess. He can't really deny the fact that there's a pretty big lack of emotional fulfillment in his life. Whether or not this is by choice is unlcear- both from our perspective as well as Joon's. That's the trouble with these kinds of frustrations. They build up precisely because we don't have anyone to talk to.
This is particularly sad with Il-ri, who is quite literally discussing her problems with a person who mostly just exists in Il-ri's own imagination. Hee-soo currently, awkwardly fills the role of cipher for the audience. She's aware of most of what's happening but is incapable of influencing the actual characters in any way. Moreover it's not clear whether she even wants to. Il-ri's movement toward an affair represent a dynamic, interesting change for a character who is apparently one-dimensional. But is anyone actually going to end up the better for any of this?
Writer Kim Do-woo promised a relatable take on the question of adultery, and I'm honestly surprised at how well she's succeeded on this point. It's not often that adulterers are portrayed as being such a weak, vulnerable, and imperfect position. Right now the Il-ri / Joon relationship is mostly defined by rage. To the inexperienced person, strong emotions like that are pretty difficult to accurately distinguish from love. Joon in particular is caught off guard when Il-ri accidentally shows him a very weak side of herself. Joon quite simply doesn't know how to react.
It's kind of remarkable how empty these characters' lives can feel at times. Il-ri and Hee-tae live in this huge house that seems empty because certain characters lack any physical presence. They have dumb fights, and make up, and this seems to imply a lack of depth but does it really? "Sensible Love" is dealing pretty heavily with questions of emotional ambiguity here. Whatever the ultimate motivation for the affair may be, it's easy enough to see that it can happen. The how is the real important part though.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sensible Love" Episode 4"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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