Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
When the Weather Is Fine is based on a novel of the same name. It is a romance drama where Hae Won (Park Min Young), exhausted from living in the city, returns to Bukhyeon-ri, where she spent her school days, reunites with her high school classmate Eun Seop (Seo Kang Joon), who runs a bookstore. The reason why I decided to watch this series was Lee Do Woo, the author of the original novel. His previous work, The Mail in Box 101, received great love from fans for its lyrical and warm atmosphere.
I read the original novel before starting the drama, and as I read it, I got more worried than being excited. It’s a matter of quantity. To transform the novel of about 400 pages into 16 episodes, each 65 minutes long, the story needs to be extended somehow. Unlike books that penetrate the inner stories of the characters, dramas need to expose the conflicts so the viewers can see them. So this novel-original drama has to create a long yet solid story without disturbing the original emotions of the novel. I wondered how the cold winter in Gangwon Province and the warm-hearted people would be portrayed on the screen.
The basic plot of the drama is the same as the novel. While Hae Won, exhausted from living in the big city, returns to the house where she lived with her grandmother and aunt, the house got so old that it is hard to tell how she would endure the cold winter. At the same time, her aunt Myung Yeo (Moon Jeong Hee) became even more eccentric. Eun Seop, who lives next door to Hae Won, feels his heart pounding once again when she, who he had a crush for a long time, returns. While working part-time at “Good Night Bookstore,” run by Eun Seop, Hae Won slowly makes connections with book club members, and little by little learns about Eun Seop, who was just a “classmate” for her in her schooldays.
The emotions of the drama are also similar to those of the novel. The original story itself has not been theatrical, so naturally, the drama follows its footsteps. However, some moments stand out, catching the eyes of the viewers. Sometimes, as the characters reveal their wounds or heartfelt truth, the level of immersion increases. The chemistry between Park Min Young and Seo Kang Joon also allows the viewers to look forward to their future romance. However, “Good Night Bookstore” and the atmosphere created by those who love the store are yet the best thing to come out of both the drama and the novel.
Some points that differ from the novel also increase the fun. Hae Won, who used to paint, became Hae Won, who plays the cello. Eun Seop’s family, who rarely appears in the book, is now a big part of the drama. Several characters that did not exist in the original novel also appear, and of them, the most memorable character is Eun Seop’s sister Hwi (Kim Hwan Hee). Hwi, who is much younger than Eun Seop, actively interferes with every matter that happens in the village. She is also the mood-maker of the book club and a cute kid who invigorates the quite village when it comes to adults. Just like Jang Woo (Lee Jae Wook), a close friend of Hae Won and Eun Seop, she pierces Eun Seop’s heart, revealing his true feelings.
Episode 4 was aired recently (the drama had a week break due to the recent spread of COVID-19), which is only about one-fourth of the entire drama. So the romance between the two main characters have yet to be developed in earnest, and not much information regarding their past scars have been presented. However, judging from the preview of the fifth episode, the relationship between Hae Won and Eun Seop may not be as smooth as expected. This is not only because of the elements of conflict, such as misunderstanding and love triangle, but because their past started to catch up with them. Hae Won’s mother, Myung Joo (Jin Hye Kyung), will appear, causing a disturbance in Hae Won’s life. Also, the reason as to why Eun Seop is called “wolf” or as Hwi calls him, “mountain beast,” and how he became the best mountain climber in the village will be revealed.
Overall, the drama is quiet and calm, and may not be as eye-catching as other dramas with provocative settings or vivid styles. But if you’re into relaxed and heart-warming romance, When the Weather Is Fine will be a perfect choice. I am looking forward to how the people who gather in “Good Night Bookstore” will tell the warm coffee-like stories in the future.
Verdict: If you are looking for a calm and peaceful drama that can comfort you, this is it (5/10)