K-Drama Review: ‘Little Women’ Stimulating Stories of Three Sisters

Little Women kdrama review

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Little Women kdrama review
Credit: tvN

Scriptwriter Jeong Seo Gyeong, Art Director Ryu Sung Hee, and Director Kim Hee Won came together for Little Women. Jeong, well-known for her collaboration with Director Park Chan Wook, and Ryu received love from movie fans earlier this year for the captivating lines and beautiful mise-en-scène they showed in the movie Decision To Leave. Moreover, Kim, who left a deep impression through the drama Vincenzo, helmed the production, heightening viewers’ anticipation even before the broadcast.

Little Women takes the three sisters – Meg, Jo, and Amy – of the classic novel to the present day and reinterpret their narratives to find the modern Korean world. While these three sisters grow up through their own experiences, the mystery that involves all of them is added to the story, giving off a mystery thriller vibe. Halfway into the story, the charm of this drama seems to be satisfying viewers’ expectations.

The three sisters face money-related problems in their lives. The eldest Oh In Ju (Kim Go Eun) desires money, dreaming of taking her family out of poverty. One day, Jin Hwa Young (Choo Ja Hyun) dies after leaving the slush fund she stole from the company – 2 billion won (about $1.43 million) – to Oh In Ju. While feeling relieved that she might finally be able to escape from the harsh reality, In Ju feels guilty about wanting the money that might’ve killed her friend and fears that she also might get killed. Still, she takes the black money.

The middle child Oh In Kyung (Nam Ji Hyun) is a reporter with an unwavering sense of justice. Although she was raised by her rich great-aunt, she pursues what’s right over money. While digging into the corruption of Park Jae Sang (Um Ki Joon), she witnesses the death of her witness, and to make matters worse, she’s fired from her job. However, this doesn’t stop her. She ends up discovering that Park Jae Sang and Wonryong Family are intertwined with all the deaths and that the 2 billion won that In Ju got is a part of Park Jae Sang’s slush funds. The youngest Oh In Hye (Park Ji Hu) is a high school student with a great talent for art. One thing she wants the most is to escape the house with her own capabilities. In exchange for painting for Park Hyo Rin (Jeon Chae Eun), the daughter of Park Jae Sang and Won Sang Ah (Uhm Ji Won), she’s guaranteed a chance to study in the States, and despite her sisters’ objections, she enters the Wonryong house.

Little Women kdrama review
Credit: tvN

As such, all three sisters get involved with the Wonryong Family, and how their views and responses to this family are so different is the interesting feature of Little Women. In Ju and In Kyung show two very different reactions to Hwa Young’s money. In Ju, who remembers losing her younger sister even before In Hye was born because she couldn’t get proper treatment because of the money, knows to her bones that being poor leads to death and chooses to take the money for her family and their survival. In Kyung, who was always accused as a thief even when she never stole anything solely because she was poor, refuses the money, saying that she will never steal.

In Ju and In Kyung try to stop In Hye from going into the Wonryong house, telling her that they’ll do everything in their power to send her abroad to study art. However, In Hye feels burdened about her two sisters sacrificing themselves for her and refuses them, saying that she’ll make her own space within the Wonryong Family with her own abilities. Even though the three sisters were born and raised in the same house, they clearly show differences in their perspectives due to their respective experiences and memories. And the charm of Little Women is that this very fact helps viewers empathize with all three’s choices, even if the degree to which they feel connected to each character may be different.

Actors’ performances, lines, production, and visual aesthetic – everything about the drama enriches the narratives of the three sisters. It’s not just Kim Go Eun, Nam Ji Hyun, and Park Ji Hu who portray the three sisters with their dry yet solid faces; every actor plays their roles to the fullest. The dialogue, which exquisitely mixes everyday tones and written language, has a unique charm, and there is no room for boredom with the fast-moving development. In particular, the music that heightens the tension helps you immerse yourself in the story in an instant.

Little Women reached a turning point in episode 6 with a shocking ending. As the secret of the blue orchid, which appears at the scene of every death, and its connection to the Wonryong Family is slowly revealed, the story becomes even more absorbing. Who is the villain of the piece in this drama? What choices will the three sisters make and how will they grow? We can’t wait to see what’s coming next. (8/10)

 

Edited by Kim Won Hee: I am a person who needs more than 24 hours in a day because there are so many things I love. I am amassing various genres in the jewelry box in my heart.

 

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