K-Drama: Falling in Love is Simple, Even When the World is Complicated

Youth of May | 오월의 청춘 (2021)

Being young can often make a person feel powerless. In Youth of May, we are shown how the energy, hope and passion that characterises youth can lead to BIG impacts when combined. I think this is a message that many of us need to be reminded of time and time again and if it’s in K-drama form - even better!

KBS World | Youth of May

Youth of May is a melodrama set in the city of Gwangju in May 1980. It tells the story of a romance between a medical student, Hwang Hee Tae (Lee Do Hyun), and a nurse, Kim Myung Hee (Go Min Si). Hee Tae appears carefree and easy-going but is also thoughtful, determined and dealing with a trauma that prevents him from treating patients. Myung Hee is responsible, kind-hearted and doesn’t shy away from injustice and standing up for herself. She also dreams of studying abroad and leaving to start a fresh new life. 

However, this plot is more than just your typical love story. With its significant time period and location setting, many will already know to expect that the drama will be based on the Gwangju Uprising. To briefly summarise, the Gwangju Uprising began in the 80s with student protesters nationwide fighting against martial law and asking for democratisation, amongst other human rights. This led to a violent clash in Gwangju between protestors and the military, resulting in many casualties and a painful scar in Korea’s history. These events greatly paved the way for democracy in Korea, and May 18th is now the designated date to commemorate the lives of those victims lost. Unfortunately, this also means that we can expect some tragedies as the drama addresses this as well, so make sure to have your tissues nearby!

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If you watched the K-drama, Sweet Home, you’ll definitely want to add this to your list! It’s not exactly the same genre (quite the opposite, in fact) but it stars two of its popular actors, Lee Do Hyun and Go Min Si. They were siblings in Sweet Home, so it might feel a little odd to see them as potential love interests here in Youth of May (but let’s try to not think about that while watching 🙉).   Despite this, the casting for the characters in this drama is truly great. It’s a mix of veteran and upcoming actors, but their overall chemistry and portrayal of emotions feel genuine and really showcase their talents 👏

It reminded me of the film Minari’s style at times, how it sometimes just lets the stunning cinematography take over the scene for a while and has me jaw-dropped and staring at the screen, forgetting to even blink! They really knew how to take FULL advantage of the spring backdrop with the soft lighting and falling cherry blossom petals 🌸 I find it interesting how the light and fuzzy spring season is contrasted by the darkness of those turbulent times in Gwangju. Almost like a representation, Hee Tae and Myung Hee’s love is sweet and blossoming but there are threats to their relationship by people of authority.

KBS World | Youth of May

Youth of May shows the significance of life, love and what it means to be a growing young adult. Why not end this month by treating your eyes with some gorgeous and retro aesthetics, while learning some Korean history? Entertaining AND educational - the film geek in me was hooked from the first episode 😍

Watch trailer here! 👉 https://bit.ly/3uthRBI 

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