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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Mother - Drama" Episode 1


I knew that "Mother - Drama" would be a tough watch, but the show's straightforward, honest and nuanced portrayal of its characters' actions and thoughts takes even me by surprise. The adventure of Soo-jin and Hye-na is about to begin, but it is not a journey of epic conquest. It is a journey of empathy, despair and disappointment in the people and systems which should be protecting us the most.

Although I assume that most who follow these pieces have already seen the corresponding episode or at least know the premise, I would like to remind you that the subject matter features domestic violence and elements of molestation of a minor. If you are uncomfortable with the topics or if they could act as a trigger, consider this my opening warning, because the series does not mince its content. Hye-na (Heo Yool) is in a terrible environment.

Hye-na covering her abuseSoo-jin hugging Hye-na at the beach

Yet what surprises me about the handling of this situation is the subtlety and care with which it is crafted. The writing and directing are already quite unusual, quite high quality for drama standards. We actually get to experience the complexity of this story's characters, rather than having them state exactly what they think, feel and what they are motivated by at all possible moments. The music and editing are also accommodating this subtlety, rather than forcing the drama's points on us.

By showing and saying less, the drama reveals more. The same applies to our heroines, Soo-jin (Lee Bo-young) and Hye-na. Their chemistry and combined acting skills were a point of excitement and worry for me, but what a wonderful surprise this episode turns out to be. Lee Bo-young is as solid a choice as one would expect, but I am so happy to see that Heo Yool is as great a fresh entry into the Korean drama acting pool as touted by the production.

Ja-yeong being questioned by the policeYeong-sin asking for Soo-jin

I have a lot of thoughts about the characters, their portrayal and situations. The Korean version is unsurprisingly more dramatic than the original Japanese one, but it fits the culture and format without becoming a caricature of them. Soo-jin's own experienced abuse is an element I do not remember, but whether new or old, it frames her struggle and motivations. She is not just a privileged woman out on a charity mission. She is a victim out to save one.

This makes me very curious about the parallels between her relationship with her mother, Yeong-sin (Lee Hye-young-I) and that of Hye-na and her own mother, Ja-yeong (Ko Sung-hee). "Mother - Drama" has made a great impression. It is technically solid, stylistically breathtaking and with good production value. The cast is spot on so far and the show has heart. It has heart and I feel like it will break and mend ours.

"Mother - Drama" is directed by Kim Cheol-gyoo, written by Jeong Seo-kyeong and features Lee Bo-young, Heo Yool, Lee Hye-young-I and Lee Jae-yoon.

Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'

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