A Love So Beautiful is one of the most charming Kdramas that I’ve seen.
It’s a good thing that I started it on a weekend because once I started, I couldn’t stop. I binged it in ONE day and have zero regrets.
what is A Love So Beautiful about?
This is a Korean remake of the Chinese drama A Love So Beautiful which was released a few years back.
The drama follows a group of friends from the time of their youth until their thirties. We see them experience first love, struggle in school and work, worry about their individual careers and families, and more.
While it’s totally about a group of friends, at the core are Shin Sol-i and Cha Heon. We see them slowly develop feelings for each other, pursue each other, and grow together.
A Love So Beautiful is a coming-of-age drama based around a very long love story. There is romance, friendship, hardships, and growth.
my thoughts on the drama
This is a rave review because I highly enjoyed the drama and I’m going to convince you to give it a try too.
- The opening scene is so catchy!
It starts with Shin Sol-i walking up to Cha Heon at the beginning of their freshman year and confessing her crush on him, and he replies that he doesn’t like her. She is disappointed but says that she’ll figure it out and runs away.
It immediately drew me into the story and made me care about the characters. It hit all the emotional notes while being cute and lively. That is such a strong opening!
- The drama is VERY cute.
The main character Shin Sol-i especially added a TON of cuteness by being super cute herself.
The plot deals with many plot-lines but the direction and acting is on-point for what they were trying to achieve. They wanted to make a cute and happy coming-of-age drama and totally hit it out of the ballpark.
Everything, including sound effects and background music, worked in harmony.
Watching every episode truly made me so happy. It made me smile and laugh so many times.
- The episode length is perfect.
A Love So Beautiful is completely different in direction style and plot pacing compared to most Kdramas.
It has 24 episodes lasting only half an hour each which makes it very easy to watch any time. And each episode does go over one or two plot lines and neatly wraps things up by the end of the episode.
One of my favourite bits was how many episodes had a small scene after credits which shows us something related to the episode’s plot but from another perspective. Or it would be something that is mentioned but happens off-screen but we’re given it at the end like a footnote.
I would say that it’s perfect for watching during mealtimes, breaks, or as a treat at the end of each day. Especially because the episode length allows it. I can totally see myself enjoying an episode every day for some serotonin boost.
- The characters were highly relatable.
The drama deals with many common concepts like one-sided crushes, being uncertain about your dream, failing academics (ha!), and struggling to make a place for yourself in the world.
Shin Sol-i was the most relatable because she has never done well in school, and actually didn’t get into any colleges immediately after high school. When she happily pursues art, she has a really hard time finding a job in her field. She tries to find a place for herself and has very bad days in the process.
Each character had their own struggles like familial expectations, chronic health conditions, and career-threatening injuries. They all had obstacles. It was inspiring to see them work their way through obstacles and come out on the top.
- I loved the friendships.
The five main characters form a group and, like all groups, there are different individual friendships and dynamics within it.
It was really nice to see all of them support each other, motivate each other, and have fun.
Shin Sol-i and Kang Ha-yeong are best friends and we see their friendship as girls which is very different from how the friendships between guys are. Cha Heon and Jeong Jin-hwan have an unlikely friendship that slowly builds over time. Cha Heon and Woo Dae-seong don’t like each other but eventually find common ground and bond.
The drama does go over more than a decade and we see these friends change and evolve over time while also staying strong.
- The romances were really nice too.
The main pairing is Shin Sol-i and Cha Heon where it is one-sided for a long time before they start dating. Theirs is one of the cutest romances I’ve ever seen.
Considering how long it took for them to get together, I thought that I would lose interest once they start dating. But it was the opposite! It was so nice to see them having cute couple moments and I was overloaded with happiness.
Another romance that happens on the sidelines is between Kang Ha-yeong and Jeong Jin-hwan. Jin-hwan is a SIMP and I LOVED seeing him simp for Ha-yeong without hesitation. He is always all about loving her and is jealous even after years of dating. I love seeing men simp over women like this.
- I hated the love triangle.
This love triangle was hard to watch. There was never a chance for the second lead so it simply annoyed me and made me sad for him.
The love triangle is between Cha Heon, Shin Sol-i and Woo Dae-seong. Dae-seong has a really nice story and it was so sad to see him pining after Sol-i and supporting her always knowing that she won’t like him back.
- The pacing wasn’t great.
Because the plot covers a long period of time, we don’t see everything. The drama shows us bits of every year which contain the most important events and moments in their lives.
Sometimes an entire episode is in one period, sometimes there’s a time-jump in the middle, and once multiple episodes were in one period. It wasn’t consistent.
I was mainly annoyed with the parts that happen off-screen during time jumps which are simple referred to later. There was an entire bit where relationship growth occurred but it’s not shown.
- It’s a really good coming-of-age drama.
A big part of the drama does take place in high school so we do see some other high school things like students struggling with depression and crushing on teachers. It’s not very focused on those small plots but they do exist.
We see these characters go through what we generally go through in life and it’s comforting to see them come out on the other side and make a place for themselves in the world.
Shin Sol-i, played by So Joo-yeon, is an artist who has a very bubbly and cheery personality. While in high school, she did not do great at academics and constantly got into trouble for it. She spent more time drawing cartoons and following Cha Heon around.
There is something very uplifting about how she continues to pursue Cha Heon year after year even though he doesn’t reciprocate. Sol-i just whole-heartedly liked him. That kind of love was really nice to see.
Later in life, she is the only one struggling with finding a job and making a place for herself as an artist, and has quite a few bad days. It is very relatable to see her happily pursue art only to have the world disappoint her once she graduates.
Cha Heon, played by Kim Yo-han, is the guy who tops the class, is handsome, and quiet. All the girls fall for him but he doesn’t pay them attention. He also has a slightly sad past and has a few family issues.
Out of all the characters, I feel like he had the least growth throughout the drama. He mainly stayed constant. Only at the very end did we see anything new from him but otherwise there wasn’t anything memorable.
Played by Yeo Hoe-hyun, Woo Dae-seong is a transfer student and a swimmer who immediately strikes up a friendship with Sol-i. Other than Sol-i, he had the most growth and obstacles to go through in the drama. It was inspiring to see him work hard at swimming, face challenges, and start over when he falls down.
His personality was also nice. He is cheerful, always supportive, and a really great friend to have.
One thing I couldn’t stop noticing was how pointy his chin is. I’ve always seen drawing of people with pointy chins and they’re the “handsome” ones but I never saw a real-life person with such a pointy chin! And that defined jawline, wow.
Jeong Jin-hwan, played by Jeong Jin-hwan (yes he kept his real name lol), is one of Sol-i’s close friends who loves to sing and is always there to support his friends. He also has a major health issue which gives him a lot of trouble and causes him to see himself in a “damaged” light.
His major point of growth was getting through his health issues and making his dreams come true. He also makes sure to check in with all his friends and keeps the mood up whenever people are feeling sad.
As I mentioned before, I loved him because of how he simped over Kang Ha-yeong. It was so fun to see him unconditionally and constantly love her without any shame.
Played by Jo Hye-joo, Kang Ha-yeong is Sol-i’s best friend. She goes on to date Jeong Jin-hwan later.
I don’t have much to say about her because she wasn’t very prominent in the show. She is the character that we got to know the least about. Her backstory, her struggles, and her achievements were simply not shown. She was mostly just there in relation to the rest of the characters and wasn’t given screen-time alone.
This drama’s OST is much shorter than other dramas. The main song is the one that made the biggest impression on me because it played at the beginning and end of every episode.
Another song that was really nice and played during the cute moments was one that was sung by the actor who played Cha Heon! I didn’t know that he sang it and found out later. It’s not great but it is nice enough.
discussion (INCLUDES SPOILERS)
If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.
Can we talk about how most Kdramas nowadays have the plot where, at around 75% of the drama, the main characters split due to careers and miscommunication? This is the third drama with that plot that I’ve seen recently. And not all of them pulled it off.
This drama definitely did not pull it off. It’s execution could have been better.
Another thing I didn’t like was how Shin Sol-i lost her charm and bubbly-ness after growing up. It was as if maturity comes with becoming duller. I associated her with smiling all the time with dimples and seeing her at the end, barely smiling, was weird.
Cha Heon did not look grown up to me at the end. He was supposed to be thirty but still looked 17 to me. That’s the issue with using the same cast through vastly different ages, even through puberty. They could have at least changed his hairstyle!
Dae-seong was the only one who looked different after growing up. He looked 17 before and 30 at the end. Even the way he walked and his confidence was perfect.
My favourite parts of the drama have to be:
- When Heon and Sol-i started dating for real. Seeing that montage with cute couple moments made me so happy.
- The dance that the guys did on Ha-yeong and Jin-hwan’s wedding day. It was so like Jin-hwan to do an entire dance routine to show his love for her. And it was really nice to see the guys dance so cutely! Cha Heon especially looked so cute the dance. I could not connect that happy dancing person to the somber character he was during the rest of the show.
I definitely recommend A Love So Beautiful if you want something light-hearted. As I said earlier, the episode length is quite friendly for a quick watch whenever you’re free and need a serotonin boost or want to watch something cute.
The original Chinese drama A Love So Beautiful is also available on Netflix. I tried to watch it but stopped around halfway through. It was a little dull compared to the Korean version in terms of direction style and colours.