Netflix K-drama series review: ‘Our Beloved Summer’

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Cherlin Kim, Reporter

The Netflix Korean drama series “Our Beloved Summer” was released on Dec. 6, 2021 and aired its final episode on Jan. 25. Throughout the airing, the series held a spot in South Korea’s Top 10 Netflix shows. The main leads Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-su compel fans with their healing romance story with hints of comedy. 

Choi Ung is first introduced as a lazy high schooler, who is intertwined with valedictorian Kook Yeon-su, in order to record an observational documentary series showcasing the daily lives of the school’s worst and best students. 

Due to their clashing personalities and studying habits, the two are constantly at each others’ throats, until they surprisingly discover feelings for each other by the end of the filming. After five years of a rocky relationship, Kook Yeon-su breaks up with Choi Ung for good without a formal explanation. 

Fast forward to the present day, Choi Ung has become a passionate artist called Ko-oh, while Kook Yeon-su lives a monotonous life as a Public Relations manager. 

The beauty of this drama lies in the intricate backstories of each character: though Kook Yeon-su seems in the wrong for leaving Choi Ung in the dark with no proper closure, her personal struggles amidst the breakup enable the audience to sympathize with her decision. 

The drama effortlessly intertwines characters’ personalities with their background stories: Choi Ung’s reserved character influenced by his biological father abandoning him as a toddler and Kook Yeon-su’s stubborn persona to mask her insecurities of living in a debt-ridden household.

However, the series’ cliché storyline, with the second leads, Kim Ji-ung and NJ, only engaging in unreciprocated love, draws parallels with countless K-dramas such as “Reply 1988,” “True Beauty,” and “Youth of May.”

“As much as I enjoy watching this K-drama, I feel like the plot of this series represents a rather classic K-drama plot,” Lin Chiang (9), K-drama fan, said. “This might have the drama come off as dull given the characters repeatedly separate, but somehow always find their path back to one another.”  

Choi Woo-shik and Kim Da-mi (Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-su in “Our Beloved Summer”) initially revealed their chemistry to fans through their nemesis relationship in the movie “The Witch.” The transition from enemies in one movie to a loving couple in this drama dropped jaws, receiving praise due to their excellent acting duality. 

“I became a huge fan of Choi Woo-shik after watching ‘Our Beloved Summer,’” Yujin Lee (10), an avid fan of Choi Woo-shik, said. “I think that Choi Woo-shik and Kim Da-mi’s natural chemistry even outside of the filming is what makes me more excited to watch their relationship bloom as characters Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-su.”