‘Love to Hate You’ Review: Only Impressive Thing Is the Actors and Their Roles

Love to Hate You

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Love to Hate You review
Credit: Netflix

Two people with opposite tendencies falling in love – it’s a cliche in rom-com. Netflix’s Love to Hate You, released on the 10th, introduces two main characters with opposite beliefs under the concept of “opposite-attract” romance. It delightfully depicts the process of a woman who morbidly hates losing to men and a man who is morbidly suspicious of women falling for each other.

Yeo Mi Ran becomes the first female attorney in Gilmu, a law firm specializing in representing celebrities. And she grows suspicious of Nam Kang Ho, the A-list actor with outstanding looks and performance who is known for his good deeds, after overhearing him saying some “gender bigoted” stuff and seeing him being cozy with a minor. Mi Ra, with an impressive sense of justice, decides to dig into the life of Nam Kang Ho, a VIP client of the law firm.

Nam Kang Ho is bothered by Yeo Mi Ra, the new attorney at the law firm. And it’s understandable since she deliberately tripped him the first time they met. What’s worse is that she’s obviously making advances on him and trying to catch his attention even when she’s not his lawyer. In Kang Ho’s eyes, Mi Ran is just another woman who’s hitting on him and uses “being his fan” as an excuse.

Mi Ran and Kang Ho’s relationship starts from “hatred.” These two people who distrust the opposite sex for their own reasons doubt each other like any other rom-com character and keep on with their “twisted” relationship. Then, just as expected, they find out the real, decent side of each other and, naturally, are attracted to each other.

What spices up this familiar and archetypal story are the characters. In particular, it’s thrilling to see Mi Ran’s dazzling presence. In the past few years, assertive and enterprising women have appeared in many projects, but Mi Ran goes one step further.

Yeo Mi Ran is more honest and confident than anyone else. After getting disappointed by her patriarchal father and boyfriend who cheated on her, she trained herself as a fighter because she hates the gaze that sees women as weak. Mi Ran’s charm comes from the fact that she doesn’t openly reveal her distrust and takes action accordingly. She pursues light, unattached dates and punishes bad guys with the fighting techniques she taught herself. That’s not it – she forgets her own birthday, and when Kang Ho apologizes for making her work on her birthday, she casually responds, “It’s not even a holiday.”

Kim Ok Vin, who challenged her first rom-com genre through Love to Hate You, did an excellent job of making the character come alive. Breaking away from the dark and serious characters of the past, she completely disappears into the sly and cheerful Mi Ran. Her performance as a bright and healthy woman makes us wonder what kept her from doing this earlier. Also, the hardcore action that she showed in The Villainess took a comical turn to suit the nature of the drama, solidifying the uniqueness of her character.

Love to Hate You review

Likewise, Yoo Teo, who’s mostly taken on serious roles, also showcases the light, delightful side of himself. Kang Ho despises women because of the scars left by his mother and first love, but the actor portrays this character in a charming way, making the plot of Mi Ran falling for him plausible. He gives laughter with slapstick comedy and provides heart-fluttering moments with a sweet, soft romance. And it goes without saying that his chemistry with Kim Ok Vin is just lovely, especially in his “fight” scenes with her.

However, Love to Hate You is impressive in its attractive characters and refreshing cast lineup, but it fails to go beyond that. First, the romance between Do Won Jun (Kim Ji Hoon) and Shin Na Eun (Go Won Hee) is drawn schematically, reducing the fun of the story. Actually, the “women’s power” – Mi Ran and Na Eun or Mi Ran and actress Choi Soo Jin (Kim Sung Ryong) – and the bromance between Kang Ho and Won Jun are more enticing. Additionally, compared to the endeavoring character like Yeo Mi Ran, the directing is plain and old-fashioned, which is a pity. Overall, it feels like the drama tries to keep the lively, cheerful vibe unique to a rom-com genre, but it feels out of tune. Some scenes, like interviews and dinner parties, are just cheesy. It might’ve been better if they either pushed it to be more cheesy and childish or made it more sexy. There are some letdowns, but Love to Hate You is a binge-worthy show if you’re into seeing the new sides of Kim Ok Vin and Yoo Teo. (6/10)

>> Kim Ok Bin Talks About Her Chemistry With Yoo Teo in ‘Love to Hate You’

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.


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