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Lee Kang is a neurosurgeon, who once dreamed of becoming a chef. As a child, Moon Cha Young once met Lee Kang at a small restaurant in the seaside town. There, Lee Kang cooked and gave her a meal, which in part inspired her to become a world-famous chef. Many years later, the two meet again at a hospice ward and together they heal their own emotional scars by preparing meals for the patients there.
Have you ever taken a long road trip with endless stretches of highway and there's nothing to look at but the scenery? To me, this show feels just like that. The journey is the main story/romance (with a number of forced detours) and the scenery is all the side stories you encounter along the way. Whether you like this film will depend heavily on whether you enjoy that sort of pace.
If you are looking for excitement and romantic thrills, be warned. Although romance is indeed central to this show, it mainly serves to tie together a patchwork of smaller "slice of life" type stories centered around food, and the joy/meaning that it can bring. The actual romance is very quiet and only occupies maybe 25% of the story.
The bulk of the story is set in a hospice for terminal patients, and is much heavier than the average K-drama. You should expect to cry A LOT (in a good way). While this film does have a relatively unique plot, artistic cinematography and a nice (if repetitive) soundtrack, by far its strongest point is the acting/storytelling. You truly invest in all the characters and feel what they feel (except maybe for Michael's mother).
A few caveats: This film is clearly aimed at an older audience (so younger viewers may have no interest in the older couples), and some may find the meandering pace tedious. The romantic plot also relies on the "lack of communication" trope for an unreasonably long time, so frustration may outweigh any entertainment value for some viewers. Also, I personally found the last 20-30 minutes really anticlimactic. The ending itself was ok (despite all the loose ends), but IMO the events leading to it seemed unnecessary/contrived.
All in all, this show is certain to touch anyone who has experienced hospice life. As for other viewers, if you enjoy quiet, introspective stories full of deep emotion, and can value heart-aching as much as heart-pounding love, then this will probably be right up your alley. (Circumstantially) Recommended
ROMANCE RATING: 7/10 I'm a little conflicted on this point. I thought the ABSTRACT romance was good, and Ha Ji-Won and Yoon Kye-Sang had believable chemistry in their growing feelings for each other. I could really feel the longing. However, when it came to the CONCRETE romance and they finally kissed (3+ scenes), it just left me...underwhelmed. I can appreciate subtle and understated romance, but to me this felt more like something was missing. That might just be my personal preference though!
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