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Can You Hear My Heart (2011)
Genre: Romance, drama
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 2011-Apr-02 to 2011-Jul-10
CYHMY is basically about the love between Cha Dong Joo (CDJ) ; a man who has been rendered deaf after an accident but pretends he can hear, and Bong Woo Ri (BWR); a woman who's normal but pretends she’s dim-witted to protect the dignity of her mentally handicapped stepfather who marries her deaf mother. Their childhood is featured for several episodes in the beginning and the story continues as they become adults, which revolves around their complicated-yet-sweet-and-romantic love and family matters.
Although this drama has CDJ and BWR’s love as its main subject, its theme is actually about the family. It tries to show what a “good” or “bad” family is. “Good” when the family’s members concern, considerate, respect and accept each other for who they are as can be seen in BWR’s family. “Bad” as portrayed in CDJ’s family is full of greed, scheming, deception and betrayal due to power and money struggling among the members. A complicated and rather confusing relationship exists between those two families especially when it involves Jang Joon Ha @ Bong Ma Roo (JJH@BMR who is the third main character). Parent scandals and second marriage are the reasons for such relationship. This drama also tries to show that a true family is related by heart and not necessarily by blood.
At a glance, the chosen title “Can You Hear My Heart” depicts BWR’s question “Do you (at least) know how I’m feeling when you can’t (even) hear me?” to the deaf CDJ. Metaphorically, it means anyone can understand and be understood if he/she and people involved have the willing to do so regardless their physical condition. Someone can still “hear” i.e. understand other people if he/she tries to “listen” to them even though he/she is deaf like CDJ. Otherwise, a perfectly normal person (even without any hearing problem) will still not be able to “hear” other people even when they are “screaming” at him/her if he/she simply chooses not to “listen” to them like Choi Jin Chul (CDJ’s stepfather).
Though the ending is happy and not too rushed, CYHMH did miss a few details that left viewers in puzzle. Perhaps the most mysterious one and should be properly explained is Bong Young Kyu (BWR’s stepfather). His real identity such as his relationship with Hwang Soon Geum (JJH@BMR’s grandmother) (i.e. whether he is her biological son or not) and how he ends up being dim-witted (i.e. whether he was born with it or it is a result of an accident) started to be questionable when Hwang Soon Geum suffered from Alzheimer. Although writer succeeds in sparking viewers’ curiosity about this matter at some points, his failure to wrap it nicely at the end might disappoint some viewers. Other examples of missing details are JJH@BMR’s eyes incident, Choi Jin Chul’s ending (i.e. whether he will be jailed or stayed in the hospital for medical reason), Mi Sook’s (BWR’s mother) “reincarnation” and Lee Seung Chul ‘s (he has a crush on BWR) whereabouts during childhood episodes since he appears out of nowhere as a grown up man when he is supposed to be the BWR’s neighbour and childhood friend .
Despite missing some details, the writer is really good at making CYHMH an emotional rollercoaster drama which keeps viewers wanting and can’t help but thinking more. The relationships between characters are also well written and characters are well developed in a way that make viewers respond as what they are expected. Viewers can’t help but fall in loves with beautiful characters like Bong Young Kyu and Na Mi Sook, pity the poor JJH@BMR and hate the bad Choi Jin Chul.
Kim Jae Won as Cha Dong Joo
---Kang Chan Hee as young Dong Joo
Hwang Jung Eum as Bong Woo Ri
---Kim Sae Ron as young Woo Ri
Nam Goong Min as Jang Joon Ha / Bong Ma Roo
---Seo Young Joo as young Joon Ha / Bong Ma Roo
Go Joon Hee as Kang Min Soo
Lee Kyu Han as Lee Seung Chul
Jung Bo Suk as Bong Young Kyu
Lee Hye Young as Tae Yeon Sook
Song Seung Hwan as Choi Jin Chul
Yoon Yeo Jung as Hwang Soon Geum
Kang Moon Young as Kim Shin Ae
Kim Yeo Jin as Na Mi Sook
Lee Sung Min as Seung Chul's father
Hwang Young Hee as Seung Chul's mother
The young casts (Kang Chan Hee, Kim Sae Ron and Seo Young Joo) really do a great job in attracting viewers to watch this drama in the beginning. Kim Sae Ron’s great acting and Kang Chan Hee’s close physical resemblance to Kim Jae Won are definitely eye-catching and worth mentioning. The supporting cast (especially Jung Bo Suk as the adorable Bong Young Kyu) are surprisingly showing good acting skill. As for the main cast, it is just an average performance. Kim Jae Wook’s acting as a deaf CDJ is not really convincing and viewers may easily wonder if his character is really deaf. However, it can’t be denied that his smile really helps in reviving the pureness of CDJ’s character. Fortunately, Nam Goong Min’s successful portrayal of difficult and emotionally driven character of JJH@BMR manages to fill the gap caused by Kim Jae Wook’s acting.
It seems that the director did try hard in creating memorable scenes. Perhaps the most memorable one is the high cliff scene of CDJ and his mother when CDJ first time talks to her after he lost his hearing. With a beautiful background, this touching and tearing scene is really well captured. Cute scene of CDJ teaches Bong Young Kyu the names of fishes in his big aquarium, is also well done. However, a rather awkward (though memorable) scene of CDJ grabbing BWR’s forehead suggests creativity doesn’t always work.
While Nam Goong Min’s fashion is more formal, Kim Jae Won and Hwang Jung Eum go with casual style. However, Hwang Jung Eum’s hideous bowl haircut and overdressing created a storm of criticism. Her haircut doesn’t fit a-smart-but-pretend-to-be-a-fool character of BWR. Besides, her thick makeup contradicts BWR’s character as a poor woman. It is also ironic to see how most of the female workers of CDJ’s cosmetics company wear a very thick makeup and many accessories for the sake of beauty. Kim Yeo Jin as Na Mi Sook looks more natural and prettier with less (or no) makeup.
Lee Hye Young’s heavily perm hair during Tae Yeon Sook’s difficult time is simply a shock. Luckily, she changed to a better hairstyle at later episode. However, she looks the best in long hair cut just as in the beginning.
I’m glad I watched this drama though boredom was the reason for me to start watching it. It surpasses my expectation and turns out great. The kids are really adorable and I quickly fall in love with them. CYHMY really makes me realized to not take things like hearing and family for granted. For me, it is really an awakening call and a reminder of how fortunate I am. JJH@BMR is the most pitiful person when it comes to family, in my opinion. Fortunately, there are people who really love him. Bong Young Kyu’s love to JJH@BMR’s is really touching and amazing. While I enjoy watching the brotherhood of JJH@BMR and CDJ, there are a few things that I find them rather odd (or maybe it’s just my misunderstanding). First, is JJH@BMR a doctor? Well, he is a doctor for a good reason but I barely count the scenes where he is in the hospital, wearing a doctor gown and treating other patients (not his family or acquaintances). Don’t be surprised if you’ll see him more in suits, in the company or other business events, working as a businessman than working as a doctor. As far as I understand, a doctor is not so free to do jobs outside their profession especially business. Second, relationship between JJH@BMR and Tae Yeon Sook (CDJ’s mother) doesn’t look like a son-mother relationship for me. They look and act more like lovers. Many people (including me and the characters – Kim Shin Ae and Choi Jin Chul lol…) think they are lovers. I understand JJH@BMR’s admiration of Tae Yeon Sook, but his acts makes me think that he actually in love with her. Third, JJH@BMR’s crush toward BWR really turn me off. I can’t find any significant signs of this during their childhood scenes. He really looks like a good ‘oppa’ to her. Sometimes I just wonder if JJH@BMR actually mistakes Tae Yeon Sook for BWR or otherwise. I mean he should actually act like he does when he is with Tae Yeon Sook when he is actually with BWR. On the other, he should act like more as a family member like he does when he is with BWR when he is actually with Tae Yeon Sook. Therefore, I root for CDJ-BWR’s love though I feel bad for JJH@BMR and like his character. CDJ and BWR have a good chemistry, anyway. However, I really prefer the young BWR (played by Kim Sae Ron) over the older BWR (played by Hwang Jung Eum). In my opinion, Kim Sae Ron’s acting when pretending dim-witted is more appealing and convincing to me than Hwang Jung Eum’s. I mean Kim Sae Ron’s acting does have a clever-but-pretend-to-be-fool image to me but for Hwang Jung Eum, her acting (and her haircut, of course) simply makes her look dumb for real. Overall, I enjoy watching this drama especially for the sake of the plot. If you are looking for some family drama, CYHMH is definitely the right choice.
Overall drama rating: 8/10
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