Chronicle of A Blood Merchant (2015)

Profile:
Movie: Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (허삼관)
Director: Ha Jung-Woo
Release Date: January 15, 2015
Runtime: 124 min.
Genre: Family / Comedy / Drama / Melodrama / Period-1950 / Period-1960
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Main Cast:
Ha Jung Woo – Heo Sam Kwan
Ha Ji Won – Heo Okran
Nam Da Reum – Heo Ilrak

Review:
I didn’t read the synopsis, I always thought this was a comedy but it was so much more. This was adapted from a Chinese novel by Yuhua and changed to Korean setting. Ha Jung Woo is the director and the star of the movie. It’s about a guy, Sam Kwan, who sold blood to earn money to marry the prettiest girl in town, Okran. 11 years later with 3 kids, there are rumors that the eldest son is not Sam Gwan’s biological son but is from Okran’s ex-boyfriend. The movie shows the love between father and son. Even though they were not blood related, Ilrak basically grew up with the family and have always known Sam Kwan as his dad and vice versa.

The first half was light comedy but in the middle, when Sam Kwan found out Ilrak, who is his favorite child, was not actually his, he stopped showing him fatherly affection. It was heartbreaking to see Ilrak look so confused for suddenly being the favorite eldest son to a shunned illegitimate child, whose fathers (real and step) refuse to acknowledge him.

Four major scenes (and spoilers so dont read if you want to watch) that made me cry were when Sam Kwan told Ilrak to go away and not join the family’s dumpling dinner and Ilrak went to his real father’s house, asking for dumpling but he got rejected. Eventually Sam Kwan couldn’t resist and found Ilrak crying and hiding in the alleys and brought him home. Another was when the real father was dying and Ilrak was being forced to say “Father come back, don’t leave me” as part of a ritual, but then he sees Sam Kwan watching from a window and Ilrak starts begging for Sam Gwan to come back and take him home. Sam Kwan interrupts the ritual and takes Ilrak home. Then Ilrak falls ill with the same illness as his real father, and Sam Kwan almost died going town to town selling blood to earn money for his surgery. They finally meet in Seoul and their reunion was so touching.

I can’t believe Nam Dareum was so young in this drama!! So cute and great acting, from him. He had great chemistry with Ha Jung Woo. And now in 2022, he’s grown up and serving the army.

Rating: 9/10

Chocolate (2019)

Profile

  • Drama: Chocolate (초콜릿)
  • Network: JTBC
  • Episodes: 16
  • Release Date: November 29, 2019 – January 18, 2020
  • Runtime: Friday & Saturday 23:00

Plot

A girl and a boy meets by chance when they were young. Years later they meet again at a hospice. The girl is now a chef, the guy is a surgeon.

Main Cast

Yoon Kye Sang – Lee Kang

Ha Ji Won – Moon Cha Young

Jang Seung Jo – Lee Jun

Review

For a melodrama that deals with tragedy and death, this was surprisingly easy to watch. I think the scenery, the colors, background music and the slow paced storytelling made the drama feel more laidback and less dramatic and intense.

I started to love the drama when Kang moved to the Geosung Hospice and we meet the patients. I loved each of the patients! I felt sad because i knew we will probably see each one die every episode but i knew that even if they died, they were happy because the lovely doctors, nurses and staff took care of them til the very end. And each patient told a story and different ways to live and die. I think the most memorable patient to me was Jiyong. He was such an adorable and precocious kid.

Kang and Cha Young’s love story took a long turn with lots of uturns and sharp curves but im glad they finally met at the right time when both are free of their past and their family. I cant believe though that it took 13 episodes before all the secrets were revealed. Only in Kdramas where the main couple is “fated” to be together. They met as kids, Cha Young ended up in the same earthquake as Kang’s mom, CY became Kang’s best friend’s love, they meet in the hospital and in the hospice.

Kang and Jun relationship was sad. They were forced to not like each other and to compete at a very young age for the hospital they thought they should fight for but dont really want to. I especially detest Jun’s mom for how she manipulated the grandma and for Jun’s dad for always cheating Kang. I feel for Jun when he said he wished he was able to compete with Kang fair and square. I think Kang is the more skilled neurosurgeon but he lacks the passion and heart to be one compared to Jun. Instead Kang has always been a softie and fits better in the hospice where caring and empathy is a necessary skill.

I love Kim Won Hae as an actor. He seems to be able to act any character memorably. This is one of the few times i have seen him look normal and serious and he does not disappoint. At first i thpught his treatment of Sonae is too heartless but when he finally broke down, my heart ached for him and Sonae. All those years they lost and became bitter when they could have talked about it and fixed their marriage earlier. Im glad he is there for her when she needs him now.

A character that i could not like is Cha Young’s brother. I get that he was also affected by the earthquake and when their family was broken, but i dont think i ever saw him apologize to Cha Young or do something to redeem himself. He was just a useless guy who kept hanging around his sister without a job. The vlogger had a big effect to him when she said she doesnt want to waste her life like him. I just dont know what he is supposed to do after she died. Was he supposed to continue her vlog? Or did he leave Cha Young and started working? I dont know and im just glad he is out of Cha Young’s life.

Overall, i loved this drama. This was beautifully shot, and the lines and lessons made me think about living and dying.

Rating: 8 / 10