[Review] It’s Okay, It’s Love – 괜찮아, 사랑이야


Jang Jae Yul (Jo In Sung) is a popular mystery writer and radio DJ. Ji Hae Soo (Gong Hyo Jin) is a psychiatrist at a University Hospital. The two first meet through a TV debate program but their relationship sets off on the wrong foot. As they grow to like each other, they discover they must overcome various obstacles like their neuroses, anxiety and mental issues.

I would say that this drama is a difficult one to describe off the bat. I can’t really do a proper review without disclosing some spoilers but there are a lot of layers to uncover here. Yes, the drama deals with mental issues; and yes, the drama takes liberties with psychiatry and its treatment but there’s more than meets the eye for this drama.

Twin Forks(트윈 폭스) – Cross My Mind

Twin Forks(트윈 폭스) – Cross My Mind

I found that people either really love the drama or really hate it. It’s no secret that I’m in the former camp but I didn’t even know what to expect of the drama upon watching the first episode. I mean, the drama opens with a scene at prison for the criminally insane. However, what I love about the drama is that it drops all the nuggets for the viewer that doesn’t hold as much meaning at first but is essential to who these characters are.

The thing that I really love about the romance is that it feels like a relatable, modern romance. There are no chaebols. There is no makeover for the heroine. It’s not overly gimmicky.  The way these two people meet and fall in love feels natural.

Also, I love the kissing in the drama. I know that sounds like an obvious remark but I love how the kiss isn’t treated with such big fanfare that we get over and over again in other dramas. I don’t dislike the big fanfare but in this way it feels more organic. Each kiss has a different meaning behind it bringing a better understanding of who Jae Yul and Hae Soo are as people and how they begin to move forward together as a couple.

tYoon Mirae – 너를 사랑해 (I’m in Love With You)

t윤미래 – 너를 사랑해

Gong Hyo Jin has a played a wide range of characters over the years. I like that as Hae Soo she comes across as very confident and strong with the exception of one issue. In the scene when she finds out about Jae Yul’s mental illness, she doesn’t overact the scene with overwhelming emotion. At first, she tries to logically disprove it. As for Jo In Sung, he’s certainly great at playing a scene with great emotion even if he’s all alone. Because their characters are not generally the emotional type, they have to use other attributes to get the emotional point across. So when they do shed tears on screen, it’s that much more meaningful.

For D.O’s first real role in a drama, I think he did incredibly well as Han Kang Woo. The surprising thing is that we get a twist with his character so early in the drama. All the signs are there for those who know what to look for but I’m glad I didn’t research the drama the way I do with others before the big reveal, as it had such an impact on me.

[SPOILER ALERT] When you discover that Kang Woo is a figment of Jae Yul’s imagination, it brings their relationship into a new light. He’s a representation of Jae Yul’s childhood and chance for him to have a do-over for the abuse he endured. However my favorite scene had to be when Jae Yul is ready to say goodbye to Kang Woo through the act of washing his feet. They say that when you gift someone a pair of shoes they will run away. However it’s a way for Jae Yul to show a last bit of kindness to his teenaged self before they both move on from the nightmare.

Hey – And I Need You Most

해이(Hey) – And I Need You Most

As for Sung Dong Il and Lee Kwang Soo, they both great at bringing out their quirky, comedic style to Jo Dong Min and Park Soo Kwang, respectively. But more than that I like how they’re the logical barometer for Jae Yul and Hae Soo. When Dong Min discovers that Jae Yul is ill, he calmly assesses the situation, does his research and notifies Hae Soo and Jae Yul’s mother only when he’s sure about the diagnosis.

Even Soo Kwang pitches in by watching over Jae Yul so that he doesn’t end up hurting himself or others when the knowledge of Jae Yul’s condition becomes known. I love the scene with the puzzle pieces as a representation of life. Life can get messy but you just have to work out a way to put yourself together again. And really, that’s the overall message of the drama. How do you learn how to move on? It’s often easier said than done.

The cinematography is quite beautiful, painting like a music video, but I love that it doesn’t go for a darker palette considering the nature of the plot. Ultimately, the message is about hanging on to hope.

Whether you’re hiding out Slumdog Millionaire style in an outhouse; or if watching your mother have an affair causes you to have anxiety about having physical relations with your boyfriend; or if you’re treating a patient who might harm herself and the life of her baby; or if you’re dealing with the emotional shame after having a sex change operation, it’s about finding that thing that’ll help pick yourself up. In the case of Jae Yul and Hae Soo, they found each other and through patience and understanding they slowly figured out a way to make it work.

Jung Yong Kook, Choi Jae Woo – Green Grass

정용국, 최재우 – Green Grass

I also love all the music on the show from the K-Pop tracks to the Pop songs to the instrumental tracks. It certainly varied in style from ballads to lounge music to club music to even Orange Caramel. I can’t say that I’m big fan of Orange Caramel but the song worked so well for the drama again reinforcing the quirky mood of the drama and reflecting Park Soo Kwang and Oh So Nyeo’s (Lee Sung Kyung) relationship.

There are a lot beautiful nuggets of logic, wisdom and heart to find in this drama wrapped up in this message about hope.  The drama hits all the right notes for me throughout but I think that internal dialogue about mental health takes on a different meaning for each viewer. That’s something that the viewers are going to have discover for themselves. Sure, there are moments when the plot gets a little contrived but even the awkward scene that’s thrown in due to Gong Hyo Jin injuring her arm doesn’t cause a huge dent in the overall meaning of the story. Each episode had progresses either the plot or character development that before you know it you’re at the end of the drama. I wish I could feel this way about every drama.


2 thoughts on “[Review] It’s Okay, It’s Love – 괜찮아, 사랑이야

  1. Wow! 10 full marks..it must be really good. But i read many is annoyed with GHY character. I always waited and anticipated your review. Really fulfilling and tightly written. thanks!


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