It has been a while since I reviewed a Korean drama! But if you’re looking for something to stream with all your free time…it is free on Viki. I’m giving it 4/5 stars. Solid, but not solid enough to get me to finish.
Her Private Life follows art curator Sung Deok Mi (played by Park Min Young, you might know her from What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, Healer, or even City Hunter) and her new boss, painter Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook, who I know as the guy who should have gotten the girl in Mary Stayed Out All Night). Sung Deok Mi acts mature at work, but she carries a secret: she is a huge fangirl of K pop celebrity Cha Shi An (Jung Je Won). And she will go to any lengths to keep her two worlds from colliding. Her new boss, Ryan Gold, also has an interest in Cha Shi An and keeps showing up to the same events. It won’t be long till he realizes her secret…
I love Park Min Young and I think this drama especially demonstrates the much healthier direction K dramas have taken in recent years. Instead of the typical dense schoolgirl with a heart of gold, the heroine of Her Private Life shows brains, ambition, and self-confidence. The main love interest acts with the traditional cold-heartlessness of a male lead, but quickly redeems the stereotype with some truly heartwarming acting and delightfully memorable scenes. And the secondary love interest is…ah…forgettable enough. So no secondary lead syndrome here.
The plot clicks along at a strong pace until episode 9, which unfortunately displays the K Drama tendency to keep the couple apart with stupid misunderstandings. I stuck around for episode 10 and with the resolution of most of the plot…don’t feel inclined to watch another 6 episodes. I don’t care enough.
But what I did see impressed me. Besides excellent acting, Her Private Life shines in two ways that don’t traditionally stick out to me: music and costumes.
The choice of music is interesting mostly because of how often it is lacking. Particularly intense, romantic scenes that you would expect a sweeping score to accompany get acted out int total silence. At first it threw me. But I came to appreciate how much it makes the viewer hold their breath and just appreciate the tension and drama of the moment.
The costumes are also delightful and very well coordinated between the main leads: lots of linen suits and loose fitting, professional clothing. It ties the main couple together almost from the start because their clothing matches so well. Only when the heroine goes crazy fangirl and wears her fangirl clothing do we see a change. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?, which also features Park Min Young wearing a lot of professional, business clothing, does something similar except in that drama the heroine favors pencil skirts and silk blouses. (Also beautifully contrasted with how she initially dressed at the beginning of the drama.)
In conclusion, Her Private Life is artistically quite beautiful, very well acted, and far too long. But if you don’t mind lots of scenes with the main couple being lovey-dovey while the side stories get wrapped up, I’d recommend giving it a shot.