K-Drama Reviews

[Review] The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

Hi guys!
Since I got a lot of free time in this days because I was sick, I started watching a drama called The Smile Has Left Your Eyes almost a week ago and I was so fascinated that I’ve -almost- finished it and I couldn’t wait any longer to write a review of it.  For this drama, my emotions were like a roller coaster. Half of it I disliked, half I enjoyed. But the most important and most impactful is how it ended.

First of all, I would say that this drama is pretty intense so if you don’t like it, I would suggest you to avoid watching it because it deals with a lot of sensitive topics and you could get triggered.

Synopsis

A detective thinks about quitting his job. He takes on a female university student murder case that was disguised as a suicide. The detective becomes obsessed with solving the case. He has a young sister and she meets a man. The man does not remember when he was little. He is not a good person, but she has sympathy for him. The detective tries to push the man away from his younger sister. The detective suspects that the man is somehow involved in the female university student murder case. The man and the detective’s younger sister fall in love.

via asianwiki

Cast

Seo In Guk as Kim Moo Young

I’ve read a lot of people in the direct comment of this drama that he was inhumane and they’re right because everything he has done hasn’t affected him at all and in some sort of way he had no feelings, like a robot and that was why that I kept thinking that he was not human during most of the drama. He was totally a bad guy, that is toying with everyone and I liked it a lot. 

Many times he sort of seems bored with what’s happening around him and naturally seems fairly unconcerned.

But he knows how to switch on being socially pleasant when necessary, especially if that involves something he wants. Though the creepy thing is how he goes from seemingly happy and smiling to having a completely dead look in his eyes in an instant. It’s very unsettling.

Despite of his cold demeanour, he makes rushed decisions that ends tragically for himself and people around him…


Jung So Min as Yoo Jin Kang

I have huge respect to this actress, she can play roles that require a certain level of ‘diving into’ perfectly. She seems like an angel from time to time and it seems unrealistic but sometimes you need someone like that where everyone seems to have a double face. She’s not pretending anyone. She also takes care of everyone else, never thinking about herself.

Her life gets a lot more complicated because of Moo Young. She isn’t fooled by his mind tricks and doesn’t really get along with him, but circumstances keep putting them around each other. As she finds herself more and more drawn to him, little does she know just how dangerous and complex things are about to get.


Park Sung Woong as Yoo Jin Gook

He is Jin Kang’s older brother. They have a very close relationship as he took care of her growing up. He’s a pretty fun guy, but he is serious on the job. When he begins to suspect Moo Young of murder, he wants nothing more than to keep his sister safe. No matter what it takes.


Seo Eun Soo as Baek Seung Ah

This is for sure the least appealing character of this drama in my opinion.

She was pure, naive and very honest with her feelings but in return, she was treated cruelly by the man she loved.

There are a couple of storylines running throughout the drama: one is the murder of a college student. Jin Gook works to solve this while Moo Young ends up as the main suspect. It adds that bit of a crime element to the drama.

The main story ties into this and involves the mystery of Moo Young and his past. We slowly learn about him, where he comes from, and why he is the way he is.
The drama really did well at playing up the questions surrounding Moo Young and his motives. He always seems to know what he’s doing and like he has a plan when interacting with people. He’s calculating and thinking how he can achieve his goal: manipulate them.  But then there’s a hint of something deeper that leaves you wondering, “Is he really bad or is he just misunderstood?”

*SPOILER*

For instance, in the beginning of the drama, he develops a relationship with Jin Kang’s friend Seung Ah.

On one hand, he has some interest in her, but it doesn’t seem to go that deep. While on the other hand, she is completely invested in him and ready to turn her life upside down. Moo Young just doesn’t see the problem with his casual interest and life altering actions.

This becomes increasingly evident as he takes a more serious interest in Jin Kang. He just continues following his current feelings while she is taken aback by how he could betray Seung Ah and so boldly proclaim his feelings for her.

And when things eventually go really south resulting in Seung Ah’s death, Moo Young just doesn’t seem to have any remorse for how things played out. He didn’t directly kill her, but his actions certainly influenced the events that led to her death.

*END SPOILER*

Yoo Jin Kang and Kim Moo Young

The relationship between Moo Young and Jin Kang is a complicated one. Early on, she dislikes him because she sees right through his mind games and doesn’t like it. But with the companies they work for being involved together and him dating her friend, they constantly run into each other. I loved watching their conversations.

And while a part of her dislikes Moo Young, he begins to pique her interest which then grows into more. She is drawn to him despite her better judgement and the urging of those around her to stay away from him. And this is so frustrating for her as she simply doesn’t know how to handle it and finds herself continually worrying for Moo Young and seeking him out.

Now this isn’t the kind of drama with a swoony lead character. Moo Young is such an unsettling man, and he has a lot of qualities not to like. We as the audience are left trying to piece together just how bad is he? There is no question that he definitely does some bad things. No ifs, ands, or buts. He tends to leave a path of destruction in his wake.

Though with anything, there is a story to be told. As we slowly learn more about him, the puzzle pieces start to come together. But everything still isn’t black and white. He’s complicated, as is his story.

*SPOILER*

There’s a scene at the end of episode 9 where Jin Kang expresses her frustrations to Moo Young about being drawn to him and asking him if he is a bad person. As usual, he has little to say. But then he says he won’t do something bad if she tells him not to. Which she does.

And in such a pitiful way he asks, “Will you teach me how to be a good person?” It was a heartbreaking moment in that there did seem to be a piece of him inside that was willing to change, but he needed help to do so. But would he be able to change even if he wanted to?

*END SPOILER*

When it comes down to it, Moo Young and Jin Kang are involved in a complex and dangerous romance. Moo Young definitely has a soft spot for Jin Kang, but his natural instincts combined with learning about his past really work against them. And more importantly, Jin Gook is also against them.

The brother/sister relationship between Jin Gook and Jin Kang was an interesting one. They are very close with each other, and Jin Gook is very protective of her. So when Moo Young comes into the picture, their happy relationship get more complicated.

He does everything he can to protect her, yet she seems to be heading down a dangerous path no matter what he says or does. It certainly strains things, and the two have some very emotional moments with each other as their relationship begins to falter.

Then there is the tense relationship between Moo Young and Jin Gook. Jin Gook gets a bad feeling about Moo Young early on and is hot on his trail. I found it interesting that Moo Young seemed to really enjoy toying with Jin Gook.

He doesn’t try to get him off his back or proclaim his innocence. Instead, Moo Young likes to play with fire and say things that fuels Jin Gook’s suspicions. It made things between these two very intense.

*SPOILER*

The frustrating thing about Jin Gook though is that much of the present day badness could have been avoided if he would have just been honest with Moo Young and Jin Kang when he realized who Moo Young was. So much pain and suffering could have been avoided. Jin Gook, you’re a decent guy, but you royally screwed everything up!

*ENDING SPOILER*

So I haven’t seen the original Japanese version of this drama, but I was aware of the controversial ending of the main couple turning out to be brother and sister and how they died. I was actually kind of hoping they would keep that ending since it was such a big part of the original, plus it just fits right in with their tragic love story.

I was pretty sure the Korean version wouldn’t go that route though. Of course, they teased us with the possibility of Moo Young and Jin Kang being brother and sister throughout the drama and then nearly confirmed it towards the end. Due to incomplete memories from Moo Young and Se Ran saying that they were, Moo Young ends up believing it, leaving him completely distraught.

But it was all just an evil trick by Se Ran because of her fascination and jealousy towards Moo Young. They weren’t really brother and sister at all. They were just close as children during a bad situation.

But that lie set in motion the true tragedy come. Moo Young left Jin Kang and ultimately murdered Se Ran resulting in him going on the run. Things got seriously bad for our lovers. It was even looking like Moo Young was ready to take his own life in the mountain cabin from his childhood. But after a tense and heartfelt reunion with Jin Kang, she convinced him not to, and it looked as though the pair finally had a chance at some sort of happiness.

But no! Se Ran’s henchman shows up for some revenge and shoots them both in cold blood. Bleeding on the floor, Moo Young finally confesses his love for Jin Kang, and they die together. Now there’s a tragedy for you!

So of course, it was devastating that our lovers died after such a long, difficult, and hard fought battle. I was certainly in tears! But I was completely satisfied with the ending. Their lives and romance was wrought with tragedy, and in many ways this just seemed like a fitting end.

But there was a bright spot in it. The secrets were finally out, and they both completely accepted each other. And Moo Young had truly changed because of Jin Kang. It was on his death bed, but he confessed he loved her. Although they didn’t get a chance to live happily, at least they loved and accepted each other and died in that moment together. It was tragically beautiful.

*END SPOILER*

Ratings

Cast: 10/10

Plot: 10/10

OST: 9/10

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes is one of those dramas that will leave an impression on you. It’s a roller coaster of emotions watching all of the ups and downs as well as the multitude of lies and secrets.

Questions abound as we go on this difficult journey to learn who Moo Young is and why he’s different. To learn if a woman named Jin Kang can make a difference in his life. And whether this dangerous romance will ultimately lead to happiness or tragedy. Be prepared, it’s a difficult road ahead both for them and for us.