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Decent K-drama with a less than stellar conclusion.
Miss Ripley (aka Ripley, Goodbye Miss Ripley, Miss Ripley Who I loved) is a 2011 Korean TV series that's pretty standard for the genre. It's workable, but there are some problems.
Here's your story: Mi-ri and Hee-joo arrive separately at an orphanage as children. They get to know each other, then Hee-joo is soon off to be adopted, but Mi-ri ends up being the one adopted instead by "mistake". A short time later, Hee-joo is also adopted by a different set of parents. Then, flash forward in time to when these two girls are now young women. Hee-joo got adopted by a great set of parents that enabled her to get a stellar education and basically lead a normal productive life. Mi-ri got adopted by some degenerates though, and she had to grow up under less than ideal circumstances. Mi-ri eventually escapes her crappy existence and reunites with Hee-joo by chance. The 2 young female leads soon get involved with two male hoteliers, and the story is off and running from there.
Mi-ri is played by Lee Da-hae (the main focus of this series). She plays the woman who's determined to get by on hard work & persistence going forward in life, but she has little choice to fall back on her street smarts & looks just to survive. Her actions soon lead her down a path of continued "success" born of small lies at first, then bigger lies, then outright greed. Mi-ri is someone you'd like to see succeed because of the crappy hand in life she's been dealt, if only she would just cease devolving into more and more of a manipulative person that can't stop working every angle & person she can to get ahead.
Kang Hye-Jung is the other female lead who's cast as Hee-joo. She's the cheerful & hard working girl who's poised to soon get her big break as an aspiring design artist, if she wasn't a complete klutz who can't ever seem to get out of her own way. She welcomes Mi-ri back into her adult life only to ultimately find that Mi-ri is really not a very nice person. Nevertheless, she does her best to help Mi-ri due to the past debt she feels she owes her (for the adoption mishap that occurred years ago), and, just because she's simply a warm hearted person. Hee-joo is easy to root for, but you do want to slap some sense into her for letting Mi-ri walk over her time and again. She clearly needs to stand up for herself and start taking charge of her own life.
Kim Seung-woo plays male lead # 1 (Myung-hoon). Myung-hoon is a no nonsense hotel manager who's fresh off his divorce from his rotten ex wife when he rebounds into a relationship with Mi-ri. Considering his recent romantic experience, he should've seen through Mi-ri from a mile away, or been somewhat leery of her motives at the very least. I guess some men never learn though; he's all too willing to fall victim to the whims of another pretty face who offers a few kind words when he's vulnerable. You hope this dude will get it together before he gets in too deep with Mi-ri.
Park Yoo-Chun plays male lead # 2 (Ta-ka). Ta-ka is the young heir to the hotel chain that's soon set to take over the hotel that Myung-hoo works for. He pretty much has it all, but he quickly falls for Mi-ri too. Once Mi-ri finds out who he really is, she sinks her teeth into him quick and hard, and, he's powerless to resist her charms. He should also know better to fall for Mi-ri (just like Myung-hoon) , but Ta-ka is a little young & dumb when it comes to true love, so I guess he can be given a pass in regards. However, he's also clearly an idiot for not realizing that he should be with Hee-joo instead; she likes him, and she's pretty and kind and honest, and the two of them would likely make for a great couple if only Ta-ka could get his head out of Mi-ri's ass long enough to realize this.
Our four main leads are thrown together, and it's just a matter of time to see how far Mi-ri will go; will she make it to the top, will her lies destroy her and everyone around her, will she be able to make amends for all the trouble she's caused, etc?
Story is pretty solid and moves along nicely for a good chunk of this 16 episode show, that is, until the pacing hits a wall past the midway point and the plot eventually starts spinning out of control! DAMN YOU K-dramas directors & writers!...when are you going to learn how to bring these shows to a better conclusion on a more regular (and less ludicrous) basis?...There are eventually back to back episodes of 2 separate characters suffering brain injuries, 2 characters find out they're blood related (which was a hinted at story line that I was praying wouldn't come to fruition as feared), etc. All this climactic nonsense & poor final planning hurts this show significantly, and I'm downgrading it some as a result (because I'm really getting tired of this crap).
I did like a solid majority of this show though, and the 4 main leads got their jobs done quite well, which is a big help in the overall scheme of things; I've also really taken a liking to Lee Da-hae, in particular, over the years as an actress. I'm very much looking forward to see if she can pull off her lead role in the upcoming "Iris" sequel. We shall see!
Bottom Line: this particular show is probably in the 6-7 star range. I'll give it a 7, because I am kind. It is really, really brought down by its final act, and all the nonsense that goes with it, however.
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