OK, it has been a long time since I decided to do this review but every time I start writing I end up losing my words and stopping. It is like I can’t express and justify what I think about it.
Despite its many flaws, “Miss Ripley” is a drama I really LOVE and had one of Lee Da-hae‘s best performances to date IMO and for which she got the Best Actress Award from Korean Cultural Entertainment Awards but at the same time it is hard for me to re-watch it.
I can’t count how many feelings I got while watching this drama live back in 2011 and how I kept toggling from feeling hate to angry to frustration to empathy to sadness. It was just an explosion of feelings inside me that I couldn’t control and which kept my heart bounding hard. To face that again is something I can’t handle easily, so I keep myself away from re-watching it fully but from time to time I watch my favorite scenes which are many. So I am writing this review without re-watching and just from my memory about the drama which actually feels so much alive till now.
First I need to say that this drama has a very unlikable and manipulative heroine (which is the reason behind the Miss Ripley name) and that made it surely not for every one to watch or appreciate and even resulted for the drama and Da-hae personally to be hated 😀 But that is actually one thing I truly like because it was something different and you don’t get to see often in dramaland.
Now let me share my thoughts about this drama and its heroine “Jang Miri”
[Warning: this review may contain spoilers]
- The acting is the highlight of this drama and the big reason for me to LOVE it. The whole cast has done a wonderful job selling their characters to me. But as I focus on Da-hae here, let me say more about her 🙂 I liked how she portrayed Miri, how she got all the way out showing us the character’s inner feelings and evil side and made us like mind readers knowing what Miri is thinking while watching her. She totally succeeded to show the angry and hate Miri felt towards the world and how a small unintentional lie led her in the end to be that monster who did weave a big web of lies with every step in the way. My words surely don’t mean she was perfect because sometimes I noticed those lazy habits of her I talked about before but her shining moments totally made me forget all about that and I know also that sometimes her reactions was OTT but IMO it totally matched the extreme character here.
- Da-hae had a great chemistry with Kim Seung Woo and it worth mentioning that Da-hae shared a bed scene with KSW which was actually her first of all times, actually it was hard for me to see mainly because you know that Miri was acting and deceiving Myung Hoon and also it showed that she started using her own body to reach her goal which was actually something she hated to be forced to do before which for me meant that Miri totally lost herself.
- Another great chemistry Da-hae had was with her other costars Kang Hye Jung and Kim Jung Tae. Every scene with any of them together was a pleasure to watch.
- Even though it is surely a cliche but that birth secret thing didn’t annoy me but I think it actually gave us many wonderful scenes and added more depth to the whole characters relations in the drama.
- While I felt really sad for Yoo Hyun (Park Yoochun Character) but personally I really liked the ending as I couldn’t see Miri and Yoo Hyun ending together by any mean and that is not because of that stupid “step brother and sister can’t get married” thing but because Miri needed to make peace with the world and with herself and to discover what love really means first before we get to that point. And seeing Miri and Hee Joo together in the end was something that made me happy.
- Da-hae over all look was really great in this drama (I specially liked her wavy long her in the early episodes) and that also applies to her fashion although I must admit that not all the time it was believable that the poor Miri would be able to wear such expensive items but I also see that sometimes it was necessary to show her this way for the sake of her seductive plan and to justify how the men are falling for her (That orange dress below is one of may favorites <3)
- IMO the direction of this drama was quite poor and non-creative, sometimes I got really annoyed at how repetitive some scenes felt and how repetitive some locations were used.
- I am still feeling bitter and angry on how Kang Hye Jung was misused in that drama ending up having a few minutes screen time per episode which is a shame because she is such a good actress and even though I wasn’t in love with Hee Joo (her character) or at least what we ended up getting but I always thought she could have had a great impact to the storyline. I totally know how she must have felt because we experienced that with my girl before T_T
- Again the writer did something similar to Kim Seung Woo when Myung Hoon role suddenly vanished at the last few episodes and he wasn’t even in that last scene talking about Miri even though he was in the prologue in first episode.
- Unfortunately Da-hae and Yoochun didn’t have much chemistry but that didn’t stop me from enjoying their scenes together. But surely that was the least chemistry Da-hae had with any of her co-stars. I think part of the reason for this was that Yoo Hyun (Yoochun character) love for Miri was not well explained, I know that love don’t need a reason as the character actually said in the drama but I would have bought that if I felt he REALLY loves her in those earlier episodes but I didn’t get that deep feeling even once (in the contrary of Myung Hoon feelings for example) but he actually felt awkward around her which is the thing I take on Yoochun here but that doesn’t take away from his credit and that he done a really good job in this drama specially in the second part and I really loved his character in here.
In the end this is a drama that surely got potential to be much more better than it ended to be but I am still quite satisfied with what I got from it which was surely all about Miri’s journey. So while watching, it is up to you to decide what you feel about her. I know that Miri was like the man who cried wolf after her lies all the way, when she started to be honest by the end it was hard to believe her anymore.
Personally even that the drama didn’t go all the way to show Miri’s dark/evil side; which if done would have been made the drama much more exceptional; but I still didn’t think they wanted to make me love or even feel sympathy for her but for me the main goal is to understand Miri and what led her to be what she ended to be.
IMO the drama succeeded to do that and also made me invested in Miri’s journey. I both cheered for her fail and success. Yes it is a contradicting feeling but because I felt empathy towards her in some scenes so I wanted her to give the unfair world a slap and get what she want but still all her hard background and what she faced through life will never be enough justification for what she did and how she hurt and manipulated many people who only loved her so I also wanted her to fail not because I hated her (although I did feel that sometimes) but because you can’t always blame your suffering for your bad actions so I wanted her to learn that this is not the right way to live life and I was glad that I got that.
Now, I would like to list some of my favorite scenes in the drama ❤
My Favorite Scenes:
- The scene in Ep 6 where Hirayama surprised Miri and came in front of her house threatening her to go back being prostitute and escort an important man was such strong and exceptional scene. Our scene stealer Kim Jung Tae was amazing and what makes me appreciate him even more is that he actually improvised in this scene as he did hit Da-hae many times which wasn’t mentioned in the script and I also liked how Da-hae reacted to that improvisation and was kept being in the character. (I so cried for Miri in this scene) I must say even though it was hard watching that scene but I thought that it was kind of needed to see a glimpse of how much Miri was abused to really understand her.
- The scene in Ep 8 in which Miri faces Myung Hoon after she knew he discovered her past but he still didn’t want her to know he did and still supported her. This scene Da-hae personally mentioned as one of her most memorable scenes in the drama. She said that could really feel LOVE and I absolutely share her the love for this scene (her crying was so amazing too)
- The scene of Miri and Myung Hoon private meeting in Ep 9 after he discovered she was already engaged to Yoo Hyun was a scene where I loved Miri for being cruel because despite that she was honest and that is what I wanted MH to hear and know. I was fed up of seeing her lying to that caring and loving man.
- The scene in Ep 10 in which Hee Joo at last stepped up in Miri’s face and confronted her of the wrong doings she is making was a scene I waited for so long time and I know that almost all viewers including myself just needed to see THAT slap and again Miri was honest even if you don’t agree with her. Great acting from both Kang Hye Jung and Da-hae.
- The imaginary scene in Ep 14 between Yoo Hyun and the young Miri (played by Jung Da Bin who done great job here too) was the scene Yoochun really shined in and one of the best and well directed scenes in the whole drama.
- Also in Ep 14, that scene where Miri was investigated in the prosecution office. Oh loved Miri’s reaction when when she realized that her world collapsed. You can see how she is in total denial, it is not that she was trying to make herself look innocence no but you get the feeling that she actually was living the lie and can’t imagine going back to that humiliating previous life of hers.
- The confrontation scene in the finale between Miri and her mother (played by Choi Myung Gil who showed great acting in the drama) was another favorite scene of mine.
Now I love to finish this post with a couple of movies I made for the drama, hope you enjoy them ^^
This one contains my favorite song from the drama OST “Glass” by Hwayobi