‘Queen of Tears’ Review: Why a Predictable Love Story Can Be So Entertaining

queen of tears reviews

Edited by Young Jun Yang
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

queen of tears reviews
Credit: tvN

It’s obvious, it’s cliché, and yet, I find myself eagerly waiting for the weekend to catch the next episode. This is about tvN’s weekend drama Queen of Tears.

On the surface, Baek Hyun Woo (Kim Soo Hyun)’s life seems to lack nothing. He’s a Seoul National University law graduate and a lawyer, and his wife is none other than Hong Hae In (Kim Ji Won), the heiress of the renowned Queens Group. However, just three years into their marriage, Hyun Woo dreams of nothing but divorce. Everything was going according to plan. Their hearts had already drifted apart, and the divorce papers he prepared were flawless. All that’s left was to notify her, but he decides to put the divorce on hold upon hearing Hae In’s terminal diagnosis. Just a little more patience, and everything would resolve itself, he thought.

Even from the initial storyline, one can roughly sketch out how things will unfold. Hyun Woo’s initially feigned love will gradually turn into true love, and Hae In will begin to envision a future with Hyun Woo again, though her treatment shows no improvement. There might also be forces that attempt to disrupt the couple’s romance, or perhaps Hyun Woo’s hidden divorce papers will be discovered just when their love seems to be flourishing. And so far, Queen of Tears doesn’t stray much from this aforementioned plot.

>> ‘Queen of Tears’ Conquers Netflix Globally With Near 100 Million Viewing Hours

queen of tears reviews
Credit: tvN

Essentially a gender-swapped Cinderella story, Queen of Tears isn’t much different from traditional Korean romance dramas. However, this “oh-so-predictable love story” offers a comforting familiarity. The excitement of meeting a lover for the first time or the experience of losing someone dear that you’ve been taking for granted are universally relatable narratives compellingly portrayed in this drama. The so-called “K-Romance clichés” are undeniably crucial in stirring viewers’ emotions.

The actors’ performances cannot be overlooked. Kim Ji Won’s portrayal of Hae In is so seamless that she completes the story with her flawless visuals and acting prowess. Hae In, a perfectionist who is cold and aloof but sometimes shows vulnerability, could not be portrayed by anyone else but Kim Ji Won. The same goes for Kim Soo Hyun. His presence in not just romance, but also in comedic situations, is truly exceptional. The banter between these two actors, who have mastered various genres including drama, comedy, and romance, is undeniably impressive.

However, it’s disappointing that the charm of other characters appears to be relatively lacking. From characters who never seem to mature to those who come across as seemingly unhinged and mysterious outsiders, Hae In’s family embodies the typical conglomerate family archetype seen in many dramas. Even Hyun Woo’s family are the all-too-common “somewhat rough around the edges but pure-hearted country folks.” What about the antagonist Yoon Eun Seong (Park Sung Hoon)? He doesn’t deviate much from the psychopathic conglomerate character trope, similar in vein to the actor’s previous role as Jeon Jae Joon in The Glory. Of course, these shortcomings are easily overshadowed by Hyun Woo and Hae In’s chemistry. Nonetheless, there’s a lingering regret that the drama relies too heavily on this chemistry due to the lack of charm in the villains and supporting characters.

By the eighth episode, the story has reached a significant turning point. The Queens Group is at risk of being taken over by Eun Seong, and Hae In’s condition is worsening. Can Hae In and Hyun Woo protect both the group and their love? I’m curious to see how their journey toward happiness will unfold. (6.5/10)


Editor Yang Young Jun: There is at least one good part in every movie or TV series. A media geek who isn’t picky with genres. 

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