The first series that made me cry real hard for years (the last one was three years ago I think?).
P L O T
A woman, Lee Yeon Jae (Kim Sun Ah), is given the grim prognosis that she only has a short time left to live. She decides to quit her job at a travel agency and live her life to the fullest (source: dramawiki)
With only six months to live, she created a bucket list of twenty things she would like to do before she dies. From being a normal and simple looking woman, she transformed herself to a pretty and sophisticated lady. What lies ahead for Lee Yeon Jae? Will she be able to complete her wishes? Will love come her way?
T H O U G H T S
AHHHH. Kim Sun Ah. Don’t you know that you are one of my favorite actresses? I like you ever since I saw you as Kim Sam Soon. I have not seen that many dramas/movies of hers, but from the ones I’ve seen (KSS and SoaW), I can totally relate to her character.
I would not talk about Sam Soon, but rather I would start this review with her character as Lee Yoon Jae and how I can relate to her. Though I am technically still young (21), I can’t help but think of the future that awaits me. I can envision myself working in an office, staying single, and looking just like Yeon Jae (during the first part of the series). I’m also a bit like her – the way that she endures everything that is happening to her without complaining. What made me sympathize with her more is her disease – gallbladder cancer. I was operated before to remove my gallbladder (4 days after my 16th birthday). I can still remember the time before I was diagnosed with gallstones (I was 15 y/o) and the event that lead to the diagnosis. Months before I had these stomach pains, I had endured it but then there was this time that the pain became unbearable that I was rushed to the hospital, I tell you, that one instance I told myself that I’d rather die than to experience such pain – imagine what more for Yeon Jae? Enough of my story 😀
Let me now talk about the lead characters.
Lee Dong Wook as Kang Ji Wook. I heard that right after LDW was discharged in the army, he immediately went to the filming site. That explains his weight loss. While he is still as hot as ever (shower scenes!), you can see how thin his face has become. Not that I am complaining. While LDW’s acting has some flaws, I have to say that I like his acting overall. He perfectly delivered his role as Ji Wook. IDK, but it worked for me. I like to think of Ji Wook as a conflicted character and in a way I am most drawn to his character. He first appeared as an indifferent, childish (hmm, a bit) and aloof guy but it was good to see him change because of Yeon Jae. Honestly speaking, I would view his character as emotionally weak and I fear that he may easily succumb to external pressures but I’m just glad that he proved me wrong. He firmly stood up to what he believed in (even at the expense of his dad’s company) and he was willing to sacrifice his life for Yeon Jae’s sake. There were times when I thought that he will give in to other people’s wishes but he never did. As I told you before, I view him as emotionally weak and I can remember the part where he said that he is not sure whether he has the courage to stay by a dying person’s side but then he overcame that fear and firmly stayed by YJ’s side. It was really moving to see his character grow up and to witness the inner strength that he possessed.
Kim Sun Ah as Lee Yeon Jae. Like I said, I can relate with LYJ. And KSA’s acting deserved a lot of praise. Whenever I hear KSA and ‘drama’ in a sentence, I would always think that it would be light-hearted. I never knew that aside from being a comedic actress, KSA’s acting can move me to tears. She’s just an exceptional actress, even after all this years, her acting still gets me. I can not even count how many times I cried every time she cries.
Aside from the two main leads, this is the first drama where in I actually love the supporting casts. We always get the second leads who will either: break the relationship between the main leads or appear pitiful because of their unrequited love for the lead, but SoaW only touched upon it lightly – which I like.
Uhm Ki Joon as Chae Eun Seok. Ahhhh. Poop doctor! I always envisioned myself marrying a doctor who can cook. Poop doctor perfectly fits the category. Though he loves YJ, I never pitied him. I love his character, and I love how he never did try to force YJ to love him, he’s just there supporting her all the way and more than focusing on his love for YJ, I like how the writers gave him a story of his own – his life as a doctor. I rarely appreciate side stories, but for Eun Suk’s I found myself following his life. From a heartless and cold doctor, he changed into a likeable one. Admit it or not, a cold and arrogant personality are the traits that a main lead usually have in a drama, Eun Seok got those. I’m not saying that he should be lead (his story can be created into another drama I guess) but it’s just amazing to watch a series where you’ll also love the other guy. I tell you, I cried the hardest because of Hee Joo and Eun Seok’s story (I bawled like a baby).
Seo Hyo Rim as Im Se Kyung. In every drama, it is impossible to not have the annoying girlfriend of the lead guy, SoaW, of course did not escape from that plot. Still, I give huge points to this drama for creating a character like Im Se Kyung. It is natural for her to be annoying but to tell you frankly, I really like her character. Despite being a bitch sometime, it’s just a front, for deep inside lies a vulnerable girl. She’s very likeable, I’m glad that her character did not become the usual obsessive-crazy girls-who will do everything to win her man back. She’s not naturally bad, circumstances and misunderstanding made her. But really, I love how she realizes that separating our two love birds will only make everyone suffer. You go girl!
SEEE. Everyone in this drama is bearable (what a term). What I’m trying to say is, the writers probably never tried to play the cliche love quadrangle (or whatever) angle because for me, the real issue in this drama is YJ’s illness. Why insert all those tiring love blah blah when you have a far more interesting point to focus on? Imagine how heavy it will be if aside from YJ’s struggle to live we are presented with people trying to make life for YJ difficult.
In Scent of a Woman, we accompany Yeon Jae as she completes her bucket list, as she tries to experience things that she yearned for all her life, and to finally put everything in place. It is indeed a woman’s journey. She showed us that love is not the only important thing in life, family, friends, and work make up a woman’s life. IDK but this series perfectly captures a woman’s deepest yearnings and wishes – indeed, a woman’s scent (HA! I only realized the true meaning of the title now).
As for the love aspect. Don’t you wish that we can all be like YJ? Finding a guy like Ji Wook. These two are a match made in heaven. They are like two people who experience love for the first time. Their time spent in Japan was magical. It was also heart-warming how they realized their love for each other. The first time that JW realize that he feels something for YJ made my heart skip a beat, the part where they were dancing and when YJ placed her hands on JW chest and JW expression? Priceless. Also the part where JW left during the middle of the opera to come see YJ. LOVE. If love is this wonderful, I wouldn’t be afraid to fall in love.
Parts that I like. There were lots.
*Touching on the relationship of a mother-daughter deeply touched me. The scene where she revealed she has cancer? It broke my heart.
*The part where YJ introduced JW to her mother and her mother’s indifference, JW being affected. And how after JW left, her mother told YJ that she was happy that YJ brought a good boyfriend. I dream of introducing a good boyfriend to my mom too in the future (I told you I can relate a lot).
*How though people constantly object to their relationship (JW’s father, Se Kyung and her father), in the end, these people will be the one to give in. Love conquers all right (at least in this one)?
*How the series started funny but developed into a story that will make your heart experience all kinds of emotion.
*Ji Wook’s realizations! All of them. And his efforts. The part where he put his life on the line for the woman he likes and how he is willing to die for her.
*The duet part. All of Yeon Jae and Ji Wook’s parts.
This post would just drag on and on and on if I tell you all the parts that I like.
Overall. Scent of a Woman will forever hold a space in my heart. I realize a lot of things because of this drama, the importance of living your life and enjoying it to the fullest are just a few.
I love everything about this drama. The plot, actors, cinematography (movie like!), osts (Junsu’s song to be precise), scenic view, everything.
If this super mega ultra long review does not convince you, then I don’t know what will. The ending was perfect. Though I have prepared for the worst, I can not complain how they ended things, it offers us hope and courage. For all the women out there (including yours truly), we should all learn from Lee Yeon Jae.
p.s. I don’t want to sound self-conceited but I think this review is one of the finest I have ever written. I know myself (and my writing) very well, and somehow, I felt that I poured my heart out writing this xD
I decided to rewatch SoaW and I just finished the last episode a few minutes back and I came to the realization that SoaW has the best ending of all the korean dramas that I’ve seen. For a series that has angst-filled episodes (this is applicable to the middle part of the series), it is amazing that it could leave us with an uplifting finale.
The thing is, in most of the dramas that I’ve seen, I usually feel disappointed or I usually look for something more but in Scent of a Woman, I am fully contented. I could not ask for more nor am I wishing to know what the future has in store for our couple because what matters most is them enjoying the present.
And I noticed how the chemistry between our two leads improve on each episode. By episode 12 or 13 I was ready to bet my fortune (hah, I have none) that Dong Wook is inlove with Sun Ah. Have you noticed how intense Ji Wook’s stares at Yeon Jae were? I first noticed it in the karaoke scene (where they sang a duet), like whoa, wait, stop, that look is full of love. I truly commend Dong Wook for giving us such a realistic expression. If you failed to notice it before (just like me), I urge you to revisit that scene. I think out of all the dramas that I’ve seen that is the most realistic depiction of a male character being thoroughly in love (enamored) with the female character (or perhaps I’m a bit bias because Dong Wook is wreaking havoc on my ovaries). I would want to be on the receiving end of that look.
I am seriously crushing on Lee Dong Wook. Damn, I was so fixed on my declaration of So Ji Sub as my #1 favorite korean actor but Dong Wook is rocking my boat. LOL.