Upon closer consideration, I have to admit that the dementia plotline isn't a particularly encouraging one. Yeo-sa was not, as far as I noticed, displaying any particularly obvious symptoms until the doctor's visit. Now she's almost instantaneously transitioned to being unable to recognize her own husband. And yet Yeo-sa appears incapable of noticing the inherent contradiction of thinking her lover is a young man while her children are all adults. The same contradiction also showed up in "Pinocchio"- at the beginning, so there was no abrupt transition. "Pinocchio" also had more obvious comedic elements compared to the very serious story of "Sensible Love".
In many ways "Sensible Love" has had it fairly easy with storytelling. This has always been a fairly straightforward drama that depicts the lead-up and aftermath to an extramarital affair, with no particularly goofy plot hooks. This is the main problem with Yeo-sa's dementia- it comes so obviously out of nowhere that it pretty much has to take control of the drama involving characters who are mostly stuck in a rut.
While everyone's frustration is understandable, there's also plenty of moments where the transition comes off as particularly jarring. Take one scene- a rather blatant sexual assault that's played for laughs. The way "Sensible Love" focuses on mood and ambience is extremely important. Because of this, the switch to the more comedic chords really just messes with the drama's greater sensibilities. But more relevantly, it calls attention to the way the story movement has been static.
I've been watching "Sensible Love" mostly just as a kind of emotional palate cleanser. Whatever crazy stuff happens throughout the day, this drama helps keep me grounded in reality by giving a reminder of what real, serious emotional issues are like, and how it's unreasonable to expect any kind of magical solution. The realism inherent in the drama, combined with the excellent set direction, is quite calming in that regard.
The dementia interferes with this, often explicitly such as how it forces Il-ri to act in a way she'd just as soon prefer not to. "Sensible Love" has been enjoyable enough to date that I'm not feeling too pessimistic about how the drama is supposed to proceed from here. The lack of a preview may be meant to emphasize this- the situation has genuinely gotten unpredictable. Whether this will actually be good for the greater story is, as of yet, unclear.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sensible Love" Episode 16"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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