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[K-Drama Review] ‘Now, We Are Breaking Up’: An Outdated Romance that Doesn’t Deserve the Star-Studded Cast

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Esther Lee

Now We Are Breaking Up
Credit: SBS

SBS’ Now, We Are Breaking Up drew huge attention even before its premiere for starring Song Hye Kyo and Jang Ki Yong. The public was looking forward to seeing the collaboration between our all-time favorite actress Song Hye Kyo and talented actor Jang Ki Young, who we all know as the young heartthrob in Search: WWW. Expectations were raised even higher when Misty’s writer Jane and Dr. Romantic 2’s director Lee Gil Bok hopped on the project with the production company that presented Misty and The World of the Married. The two leads are looking gorgeous and charming as expected, but viewers soon tuned out of the show. They say that it’s the poor story, outdated romance tropes, and awkward directing that caused them to stop watching the show.

Now, We Are Breaking Up is a series that is centered around the classic romance trope of ‘fateful love.’ It talks about how one night stand of a man and woman evolves into something serious as they run into each other multiple times by accident. Ha Young Eun and Yoon Jae Guk accidentally spend the night together, and later on, they run into each other at unexpected places. Young Eun, the fashion company’s design team leader, reunites with Jae Guk at a blind date that she went on instead of her friend, Hwang Chi Sook. Luckily, Jae Guk saves Young Eun from a problem she faced at work using his talent as a renowned photographer. And thanks to the fact that they work in the same industry, their fateful encounter continues.

After multiple coincidences, the show slowly revealed its grand plan to bring the two together. A scene flashed back to ten years ago, showing them unconsciously involved in each other’s business. Young Eun was able to put up with her stressful life in Paris thanks to the black and white pictures Jae Guk published when he was an unknown photographer. Jae Guk was also able to get through the tough time in his life thanks to Young Eun, who purchased his work when he was struggling. The drama reaches its climax as it reveals that they share one tragic memory: Ha Young Eun’s ex-lover, who left a scar in her heart, is revealed to be Yoon Jae Guk’s older brother.

 

Now We Are Breaking Up
Credit: SBS

The problem begins when all of this becomes too much to handle for the viewers. Set in the fashion industry, the drama attempts to portray a sophisticated female figure who excels at her job and knows what she wants for her love life. However, somehow the series seems like it’s filled with overused tropes that we just don’t want to see on TV anymore. Ha Young Eun appears to be an ideal woman who enjoys her excellent professional reputation. Still, the drama winds up ten years into the past and shows her being a heartbroken woman who stays recluded due to her painful breakup with her boyfriend, who she met for only two months or so. The discrepancy between how she is like now and what she was like then seems like it’s making no sense to the viewers. This is not to say that the longevity of a relationship is what matters the most. However, it’s disappointing to see Young Eun say, “now, we’re breaking up,” the moment she hears her ex-boyfriend’s name, Yoon Su Wan. It’s like she is trying so hard to look like someone who is heartbroken, clinging to the past relationship she should have let go of years ago.

The same happens when she faces all the troubles within the series. The drama is flooded with cliches we’ve seen multiple times in many typical romance dramas. Already troubled by the team leader of a different division who envies her, she faces even a bigger obstacle as she continues running into Yoon Jae Guk. Yoon Su Wan’s ex-fiancee, Shin Yoo Jung harasses Ha Young Eun with lame phone calls, bringing her personal grudges to work. Mr. Hwang, the CEO of The One who has always been supporting Young Eun, suddenly turns his back on her when he learns about what had happened to his daughter’s blind date. On top of that, Jae Guk’s mother is not looking all so happy with his son’s new girlfriend. Perhaps because she is always troubled by the hatred, jealousy, vengeance, and grudges that surround her, I find the story very bland and flat.

Yumi's Cells

Some aspects of the show are a bit tacky and old-fashioned for a drama that premiered in 2021. The long subheadings and Song Hye Kyo’s voice-over in each episode clearly show that the drama is stuck in the 2000s. The conversations exchanged by the characters are also far from what we speak every day. Though I can see that the show is trying very hard to be a decent, sophisticated one, its hackneyed story and the cool, fancy lines that the actors deliver are not getting the show anywhere near its success. Another problem can be the actors’ performance. And here, we’re talking about Song Hye Kyo and her charming, chic character. Although she radiates her elegant energy as always, it isn’t easy to feel her character when she delivers all the lines with the same intonation. Indeed, she looks great with Jang Ki Yong, but there is no heart-fluttering chemistry between her and him. On top of that, the show failed to show the intriguing ‘womance’ among Young Eun, Hwang Chi Sook, and Jeon Mi Sook, perhaps because it focused too much on the main narrative rather than the characters they built. Many viewers have left Now, We Are Breaking Up for its weak plot, directing, and performance. Would it be able to bring back its viewers in the remaining episodes? It seems like the two characters are falling for each other very hard, but for now, the show is not getting anywhere near where it needs to be.

Verdict: If only this drama came out 10 years ago… (5/10)

Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.

Translator Esther Lee: I’ll be providing you with up-to-date, reliable Korean entertainment news. Enjoy! 

What do you think?

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  • the drama NOW, WE ARE BREAKING UP is a masterpiece specially our hallyu queen song hyekyo her acting is so great, and we definitely miss her.

      • and you’re a delusional hater and bitter. Fool! i don’t only watch Korean dramas i watch other international dramas and movies as well, that’s how a delusional viewer and a critic i am. Just be careful with your words.You don’t bring down your actors and actresses, they bribg and contribute to your coubtry’s revenurs andni learbed Song Hye Kyo was doing that since year 2000 years and she continues to shine and you hear no bad words from her. Quite a personality maybe why she’s so blessed.

  • No matter hiw critize this drama. I love SHK and JKY,old story or what. Nobody forsing to watch NIW WE BREAKING UP. its you’re opinion. I enjoy a lot this kdrama. Love it cookie and cream!!!

  • Totally agree. In the beginning, I felt so excited to watch this drama, especially ep. 1-2 that make me WOW with the fresh plot but after that, they have been so out of date plot and boring. I really do not understand the key message the director and writer want to convey. So disappointing…

  • seems this guy is so bitter with Song Hye Kyo and tries hard to bring the whole drama down. If he finds it bland he can stop wat chng and move on perhaps he has a special or favorite actor song joonki or son ye jin, right? hehehe don’t worry am not korean but we love this series. We can never go wrong with a Song Hye Kyo project. The fact that it’s highly rated and viewed speaks so much for itself and its wonderful actors.

    • Just because the article contains a criticism of SHK, the reviews is fan of Song Joongki or Son Yejin? How small minded are you?

      Everything the reviews said it’s true. Look at comments on Twitter, articles and Reddit. It’s a collective view. SHK csn use some constructive criticism to improve. If she continues to think like her fans think, that she’s a goddess and need not change, she will never improve.

  • I waited for this drama,and the time i watch it i feel like i dont like it, for me they dont have chemistry no offence, though i still like the actors and i will still continue to watch this since EXO sehun is already in the show..

  • This drama tend to play in the subtle area… SHK & JKY works on the right portion to make it more classy and deep… I really enjoy their performance in this drama.. and I don’t care with that stupid review 😉

  • The thing everyone seems to forget and therefore are so quick to blame the actors is that they are following a script and being directed to act a certain way to match the idea that the director has in his mind for the script. Actors are on set to help the director showcase his vision of the story. I’m currently watching the show and I think the criticism that Song Hye Kyo has received is unfair. I think both actors are doing a great job with what they’ve been given. If you want to criticise the drama you should address that to the director and the writers. Yes, there are some issues with the show, but I’m enjoying the story of the two very broken characters who have somehow found love.

    • That’s why they are called actors and paid a gazillion amount of money. If they are skilled, they can give life to any script or character. This drama simply showed the weakness of SHK when she isn’t paired with a big name male lead. She’s truly lacking in the acting department. If she got paid $200k for each episode in this drama, the producers overpaid because I’d say she isn’t worth it.

      I’ve seen JKY in Come and Hug me and I thought he’s a fantastic actor. I think SHK pulled him down in this rather than bringing him up with his acting. I see SHK fans on Twitter wanting her paired with Kim Soo Hyun, Jung Woo Sung, Lee Min Ho etc. They want her paired with bigger name actors because it seems she can’t carry a drama on her own.

  • I enjoy some of the scenes in Paris and the fashion shows and the struggles of the industry. I might not continue watching as I feel really uncomfortable of the mismatch lead couple. JKY is far too young looking for Song HK even without checking their real age. She is too old for the young lovey dovey romance in this drama. Not personal.

  • The review is spot-on. For me it is the worst k-drama I’ve watched in 2021-2022, so far. I love the leading characters but not in this film. i could not feel even a tiny bit of love … there is a total absence of compatibility. This is exacerbated by the storyline, a love affair of two-months, a woman stuck for 10 years due to this short-love affair, a highly successful, handsome photographer falling head over-heels to an older woman, who has the audacity to have casual sex with him — It will keep us thinking that this is the kind of relationship she practices – because of her inability to forget her two-month romance some 10 years ago? It is to be honest, annoyingly insulting to our common sense.

  • “If only this drama came out 10 years ago…”

    Well … it was supposed to come out in 2016/2017 with Park Soo Ae as the actress.

  • [SPOILERS AHEAD]

    The ‘jeopardy’ of the drama makes little sense. I’ve understood it in other K-dramas when it’s surrounded contrasting classes of the love interests, but here: because Young Eun went out with Jae Guk’s brother (Soo Wan) a couple of years ago and he died, she shouldn’t be with JG? The writers tried to create a mountain out of a molehill, and because of it, it’s frustrating to watch.

    What’s even more frustrating is the rampant narcissism and gaslighting of JG’s mum and Soo Wan’s ex-fiancée, culminating in misogyny as they don’t bother blaming SW for SPEEDING down a road in torrential rain, leading to his death. Instead, they blame Young Eun for calling him. What sense does that make?