What matters to you more: the plot or the characters? Your answer will determine whether you’ll like Uncontrollably Fond or not.
This Korean drama was my 5th kdrama. I watched it because it has Kim Woo-bin, who is Lee Jong-suk’s bestfriend, and Suzy, who I really liked in While You Were Sleeping. I also heard a LOT about this show, it’s praised about online and people love Kim Woo-bin because of this.
What is the drama about?
Shin Joon-young finds out that he has cancer. Rather than admit himself in hospital and receive treatment, he decides to live well for the few months he has left. He frequently changes his decisions and does not care about his word given to others, and hence becomes known as a difficult celebrity.
Noh Eul got fired from her journalist job because she took bribes. While on the hunt for a new job, she made a wager with some people that if she gets Joon-young to do the documentary they want, she’ll get to be the PD for the project. Since she was Joon-young’s high school classmate, she uses that connection to get a job.
We also see Choi Ji-tae, the son of Joon-young’s biological father (who doesn’t know about Shin Joon-young). Ji-tae is also Eul’s romantic interest in the present day but she doesn’t know his real identity.
Another main character is Yoon Jeong-yoon who is in love with Ji-tae. She is the daughter of a high profile politician and is an aspiring cook, who is determined to get what she wants.
Uncontrollably Fond is the story of these four young people whose lives are very messily intertwined.
My thoughts on the show:
- The plot felt pretty simple when I watched it but now that I recollect the plot, there was SO MUCH. I cannot even begin to explain it. The plot is complicated beyond simple summaries.
- I got super into it in the beginning and thought it was romance but it’s actually so much more.
- The show is VERY character-driven. We see pasts and presents of various characters, how they’re grown and changed due to circumstances and how they deal with life plus links that bring them together.
- The variety of relationships explored is probably the best thing about the show, for me. There is some focus on every single relationship, no matter how small, and we see all the dynamics, ups and downs.
- I really appreciated the directing. There was CLEAR difference between flashbacks and the current storyline. I could immediately understand because the whole vibe is different. I think its because the life then was so much better. The four had dreams and a whole life ahead of them but currently they’re at an all-time low, brought down by life and tired from fighting.
- Other than that, to be honest, I did not like the show. I watched it completely because I love character-driven stories but the rest wasn’t impressive. The plot itself was okay, not great.
- The love triangle made me so annoyed. I normally don’t like love triangles but this one really got on my nerves. And at one point it became a SQUARE and I lost it.
Kim Woo-bin played Shin joon-young SO DAMN WELL. I was floored by his acting. He played the good, rebellious, struggling, unwell and in-love sides of Joon-young brilliantly.
Shin Joon-young is an actor-singer with a huge fan following. He’s had a rough relationship with his mother ever since he stopped trying to become a prosecutor, like his biological father, and became who he is now. He’s hidden his reasons from his mom in order to not break her heart. He keeps trying to get her to turn around but she pretty much cut him off. I found this really sad because he has no one else to turn to in bad times.
Noh Eul is the only girl he’s ever loved and tries to have a good time with her for the rest of his life, regretting having never done that before.
Note: In a way, the show broke the fourth wall. In the show, after Joon-young found out that he has cancer he wants to change the ending of a movie he’s been shooting. The ending has him die, which he thought brilliant before, but doesn’t now. In real life, Kim Woo-bin also got cancer and is currently recovering, thankfully.
I watched the show partly for Suzy because she was so good in While You Were Sleeping but unfortunately I HATED her here. Honestly I think it’s both the annoying character and her bad acting.
Noh Eul’s dad died in a hit-and-run and she witnessed it. The prosecutor in charge (Joon-young’s dad) gave a wrong verdict to protect the criminal. After fighting for the right person to be convicted for a while, she found herself in the position to pay all of her dad’s debts.
She also has her younger brother to look after, who wants to become a doctor. She tries very hard to not let him know the real situation and keep him well fed.
Before she used to be a very kind person who gave to others freely. Now she’s scrambling for money and prefers taking bribes to earn more than earn rightfully. I hated her decisions, the way she did not see how she was hurting Joon-young by whining about Ji-tae not liking her and also her not even trying to live a rightful life.
Choi Ji-tae, played by Lim Ju-hwan, is SUCH A BORE. I did not like him at all in the beginning because he was a coward, did not stand up for the right thing or his love and just let things happen. I did like his character growth, though. It took a long time but in the last episode he showed some potential.
Ji-tae is the son of Choi Hyeon-joon, a prosecutor-turned-politician who closed Noh eul’s dad’s case with the wrong criminal. Ji-tae knows about this and it is the reason why he approached Noh Eul wearing a different name and face. He also knows that Joon-young is his half-brother. He tries to keep Eul and Joon-young apart but it doesn’t work.
Yoon Jeung-eun, played by Lim Ju-eun, is the daughter of a politician and the person who killed Noh Eul’s dad in a hit-and-run. Her dad convinced Choi Hyeon-joon to put the blame elsewhere and let this go.
She is also in love with Choi Ji-tae and keeps trying after him even though he never reciprocates her feelings.
She was played well by the actress but she had no growth, character arc or development and acted like a 15 year old with an obsessive crush.
My favourite songs from the soundtrack
Golden Love is such a sweet soothing song but the lyrics are actually sad. I thought it perfectly went with the scenes they paired it with. It was playing in loop for a few days.
More than Golden Love, I love A Little Braver. This song gives me all the feels every single time I listen to it. It was played quite often in the show during the second half and it PERFECTLY matches all the moods and vibes.
DISCUSSION (INCLUDES SPOILERS)
If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.
Okay so CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW ANNOYING NOH EUL WAS. Damn I hated her so much and considered stopping the show because of her.
She just gave up and did not try to live an honest life and kept complaining and whining. Yes your dad died an unfair death and did not get justice, but that does not mean you forget about your brother. She keeps depending on her best friend and “tries” to earn for her brother. But all she does is look for shortcuts to a lot of money. In the time she spent looking for shortcuts, she would have earned more money just working at a normal job.
Also Shin Joon-young! *sobs* We knew right from the first episode that he’ll die but I kept wishing throughout that he won’t.
Oh and the scene where he forgot years of memories and went to visit his dad? He acted so hopeful and looked up to his dad and that scene B R O K E me.
I didn’t notice plot holes because I didn’t particularly care lol.
Uncontrollably Fond is about how one person can impact your life so much and how one incident can bring you down. It is, at the heart, a sad story of four individuals. It’s NOT really romance.
The show is for Kim Woo-bin fans. His acting is brilliant and I cried a total of two times, both because of Shin Joon-young. I felt like he carried the whole show and if you don’t consider him, there’s nothing left in the show.
If you’re huge fan of Kin Woo-bin or simply want to see him, go for it. Otherwise, you’ll be better skipping this drama.
Have you watched Uncontrollably Fond? What’s your take on it? Do you prefer character-driven stories or plot-driven stories?