Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Disney+ Review: Soundtrack #1

Disney+ is a streaming service that I had been waiting for around a year before it finally became available here in our country. I have been hearing about the number of movies and shows that I liked that was in this service and was excited to start watching when I was finally able to sign up for it. One of the first shows that I watched from Disney+ was the Korean drama Soundtrack #1.

Photo Credit: Disney+

Starring Park Hyungsik and Han Sohee, the 4-episode series is about best friends whose relationship develops into a romance. I have heard so much about this show and I was very curious about how they could pull off a romance in just four episodes. It turns out that the concept is doable and that it was more entertaining than I expected it to be. 

Hyungsik is Sunwoo, an up-and-coming photographer who has been secretly in love with his best friend of 19 years, Eunsoo (played by Sohee), who is a lyricist. As much as he wants to tell her how he feels, he remembers how she had once said that she does not want to lose him as a friend, so she does not even want to consider having a relationship with him. The series begins with Eunsoo needing to write a song about unrequited love, something that she has not felt before. She decides to recruit Sunwoo to help her to understand how it feels and to help her write the lyrics. He agrees, even moving into her apartment so that they can work closely together.

I think anyone who finds out the premise of the series would know that this is a happily-ever-after drama and the ending is predictable, but it is still enjoyable to watch what happens as both characters go on their journey which leads to them finally becoming a couple.

This show is very well-written. I loved that they were able to get this whole story squeezed into four episodes without anything feeling rushed or forced. If anything, I felt that having fewer episodes meant that they had to ensure that every scene and every moment would be worth the screen time because they had so little of it to tell the story. There were also a lot of good lines from the script, which of course I am basing on the English subtitles. I found myself just having this little tip-tap in my heart hearing lines that I loved from the characters. I must give credit to the actors because I am sure that the warm feeling that I got from hearing those lines was not just because of the skillful writing but also because of how they delivered it.

Speaking of the actors, I have something to confess. I felt that Han Sohee and Park Hyungsik did not have any chemistry together. I did not feel a spark between the two of them together. Something was missing, but I cannot point my finger at what it was exactly. Yes, they were sweet, they were adorable together, and individually, they are particularly good actors who were able to portray their roles very well, but I just did not feel that excitement of them being together the way I do with other Korean drama pairs that I have seen in the past. I know that is weird to say because I loved this show, I loved their story and I loved their acting, but there was no magic between them for me. It helped that they are particularly good actors because they would not have been able to carry the show with the lack of chemistry if they were not talented. 

This is the first time that I have watched Park Hyungsik acting, even if I have heard of his other dramas in the past. I saw him in the Disney special In the Soop: Friendcation but because that is a different type of show, I did not have a formed opinion of him as an actor before this. He has a very subdued manner of acting, quite different from his friend Park Seojoon, whom I have seen in a couple of shows. I love how easy it is to see how he feels even if he is not saying anything. His facial expressions and his eyes say it all. His acting makes it so easy for me to feel for his character and his unrequited love for his best friend.

Han Sohee, on the other hand, is someone I am familiar with because I have seen her in the series The World of Married Couple. It was refreshing to see her in a role different from the show where I first saw her. She turned Eunsoo into a distinctive character from her previous role and I liked that. It is just sad that her role mostly consisted of her being cute and clueless about her best friend’s feelings for her so there was not much acting range or challenge for her to be anything else. 

I read somewhere that one of the selling points of this show was that it was full of music (hence, the title) and that it was. Music plays a key role in making the show’s scenes stand out, especially the emotional ones. It helps that the show does not have overly dramatic or over-the-top moments, so the music helps to give the scenes that emotional push for the audience instead of grand gestures between characters or unrealistic but romantic moments. The romance in the drama felt real, the characters made you feel for them, and their relationship feels like such a perfect fit (misunderstandings and make-ups and all) that you will be rooting for things to work out for them the entire time.

If you are starting on your Korean drama journey, Soundtrack #1 would make a good introduction to a romance series. With only four episodes but full of great lines and heart-tugging moments, this is worth the watch.


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