[HanCinema's News] Kim Ji-won's Profile Rises Thanks to "Queen of Tears"

When "Queen of Tears" first premiered on March 9th, the ratings were a fairly modest 5.9%. This was not surprising- while lead actor Kim Soo-hyun was a major draw, the concept behind the drama was a bit difficult to explain. The melodramatic title belies the show's nature as a dark romantic comedy about a corporate romance turned marriage gradually turned sour three years later. Leading lady Kim Ji-won as well was relatively untested, having appeared mainly in ensemble stories.

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But with ratings of 16.143% in its most recent episode on March 31st, the eighth overall, the success of "Queen of Tears" is now beyond question. So too, is Kim Ji-won's value as a lead, with the actress now leading the Good Data Corporation's list of most popular entertainers for two straight weeks. Much of this couldn't be predicted, simply because Kim Ji-won's role in the drama is so peculiar it defies much prior categorization.

Kim Ji-won's Hae-in is a vain yet cynical corporate heiress. She responds well internally to emotional overtures, but not externally. Consequently, her leading man Hyeon-woo, played by Kim Soo-hyun, is often flustered dealing with her, despite his own personality not being all that different. Kim Ji-won strikes a fine balance, being alluring enough to be attractive yet frustrating enough that Kim Soo-hyun's own incapacities regarding her are plausible in their own right.

In many ways, Kim Ji-won's unexpressive heroine is a romantic woman of modern times- attractive, aware of that attractiveness, yet ironically incapable of helpfully reciprocating romantic overtures because it's self-evident to her that she shouldn't be putting in the work. That Kim Ji-won is able to make her character likeable despite all these pratfalls is a testament to the nuance of her performance. Or perhaps, just that she was exceptionally well cast for this specific role.

Written by William Schwartz