K-Drama Review: ‘Navillera’: Here’s Why We Find Their Message Especially Touching

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Yoo Hyang

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Among series filled with absurd plot and explicit contents, Navillera captivates viewers with its mildness. Based on a webtoon of the same name, it illustrates a gentle yet touching journey of Shim Deok Chul, a man in his 70s who wishes to take off, as he learns ballet from a 23-year old Lee Chae Rok.

Park In Hwan brings tears to our eyes with his every scene as Shim Deok Chul. Son Kang also blends well into the work by playing Chae Rok, as the two illustrate a teacher and student’s chemistry that transcends generations. The show also deals with what happens around the two characters apart from their passion for their dreams. It makes viewers realize what precious values they have been taking for granted, such as family. Already a favorite show for many, we’ll take a look at various elements of Navillera that makes us emotional.


The Story Between Generations that Chose Empathy Over Conflicts

Credit: tvN

The series unfolds each generation’s concerns and harsh realities by introducing what the characters are going through. First, Shim Deok Chul metaphorically depicts the handicaps the older generation face in the current society. Though he spends leisurely days with his wife after his retirement, Shim Deok Chul feels uneasy with various problems. In particular, he carries the desire to go on stage after learning ballet before it’s too late. However, this becomes a challenge as his children prioritize their reputation over their father’s wish.

The younger generation’s difficulties thoroughly turn out through Chae Rok and Deol Chul’s granddaughter, Eun Ho. Chae Rok has to focus more on his part-time jobs than what he enjoys, ballet. Eun Ho also puts through being mistreated as she works as an intern at a large company to become a full-time employee. These unfortunate instances resonate with viewers as they reflect the reality of our times.

While pinpointing the elderly and the younger generations’ problems, the show does not stop with just presenting the real issues. They try to find further a solution and hope to surmount the ongoing hardships. Chaerok encouraged Deok Chul, who wanted to give up ballet due to his family’s opposition, to be confident. Deok Chul also gives Eun Ho sincere advice from his experience and age, as she fails to get a job. The characters prove the power of empathy and understanding amid an era in which inter-generational conflicts have emerged as a significant social issue. They make viewers more invested in the warm energy the show holds.


A Cheer for Anyone Who Dreams of Challenge

Above all, Navillera pulls at people’s heartstrings as it truly cheers on those who challenge themselves to achieve their dreams. Realistically, concerns come before a round of applause when a man in his 70s claims he would like to have a go at learning ballet. We may disapprove of his aspiration with our judgments, saying things like “Think about your health,” or “It’s too late now.” Despite everything, Deok Chul remains unbothered and moves forward while saying, “You can look down on my skills, but don’t underestimate the size of my dream.” These words mean not to dare to judge someone’s challenge with social norms.

Playing Deok Chul, Park In Hwan brings life to the message. His delicate acting skills portray the character as he doesn’t give up on ballet despite his family’s discouragements. It touches the viewers’ hearts. He brings us to the realization of how precious and valuable feeling passionate for a dream is. Especially when he treats Chae Rok with respect as a teacher, no matter how much younger he is. Often, we get teary with only his appearance on the screen because he depicts the character’s emotions naturally in the show.

Credit: tvN

Chae Rok also presents a meaningful message in the series. While he is talented, Chae Rok gets lost due to many reasons, including his father’s release from jail. However, with Deok Chul’s faith and support for him, he could focus on ballet once again. A memorable scene is when Deok Chul goes up to Ho Bum, who bullies Chae Rok because of their relationship in high school, and tells him, “Chae Rok is someone who will rise higher.” It is emotional and encouraging, as he is cheered on by people around him even when he is not sure of his potentials.

We do not know yet whether Deok Chul’s ultimate goal to dance on stage will be achieved. However, seeing him running towards his dream regardless of the results is somewhat touching. Perhaps this journey of Deok Chul is more than a simply heartwarming series. It could refresh the forgotten dreams of those who were busy living their harsh realities. Like the series’ authentic message that says, ‘Everyone has the moment in which they fly.’


Verdict: The sincerity of the show that cheers on for everyone who’s running toward their dreams. (9/10)


Editor Hwang Hong Sun: A Korean movie buff who wishes that the warm messages in good works will warm up this world at least by one degree Fahrenheit

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