This is a Smile Again
What is SA? It’s a 16-ep kdrama, which came out in 2006, starring Lee Dong Gun, Kim Hee Sun, Lee Jin Wook, and Yoon Se Ah.
The story has shades of Talented Mr. Ripley about it, but the story is actually very uplifting and happy-ending despite some very underlying dark themes.
Playing somewhat against type, Lee Dong Gun is Ban Ha Jin, an orphan from a truly horrible background. He meets Dan Hui, a tough, tomboyish baseball player, when a rich kid gets Ha Jin to date Dan Hui as a prank because Ha Jin is desperate to get money for college. Only…he ends up falling in love for real. The relationship is interrupted when Ha Jin has to go on the run with Yoo Kang, a troubled abused girl he befriended, in order to protect her. Now, it’s quite a few years later, and Ha Jin, hardened by his life, and Dan Hui, out of college, still warm and spunky (and still mad at Ha Jin) meet again. And then there is Jae Myung, a former baseball star and Dan Hui’s hero, who has been crippled by an injury. Dan Hui sees him as someone to save and Ha Jin sees him as a meal ticket…
I love the drama’s understatedness about key things: for example, it’s pretty clear that Ha Jin’s childhood was beyond horrible and the life on the run with Yoo Kang also caused him to do some despicable things that scarred him, but the drama never really dwells on it much, instead mentioning things in bits and pieces (like a completely matter-of-fact fleeting comment by Ha Jin that he was kicked out of foster homes twice and ended up in the orphanage, or the little story he tells Dan Hui about being thought a thief). Just like it’s clear Yoo Kang was horribly abused by her father, and that is why she clings to Ha Jin so, as he is the first who ever showed her real kindness, but the drama doesn’t dwell on that as well. It’s prehaps in keeping with this that the characters’ way of dealing with some significant traumatic things, and their knowledge (or lack thereof) of certain things is also addressed or not, in a very naturalistic manner. ( Spoilery lengthy musings )
Also, I love all the kissing, and the cuteness, and how Ha Jin slowly changes, and the cool supporting characters, and feminism of the story.
It’s an awesome drama. Go watch!( A bunch of MVs )