Served romantically with intricate details, we have consumed and digested the story of forgiveness, healing, and true essence of love in When I Was The Most Beautiful.

When I Was The Most Beautiful brought down its curtains on October 15 and it was quite a journey for our heroine and the significant men in her life. The drama has all the elements that turned our emotions from ripples into waves of passion.

Taking the road less traveled in the farewell part, the unconventional route broke down all expectations but was rightly fitting as the story reached the end of the line. With all the scars from every perilous battle they fought, our characters deserved to walk through their own paths to healing. And in walking a path they must, even if it means braving the road alone.

  • Main Leads: Im Soo Hyang | Ha Seok Jin | Ji Soo
  • Highlights: Life Lessons About Forgiveness, Humility, Unselfishness And Healing
  • Romance/Bingewatch Worthy Meter:
  • Overall Rating:
  • Re-watch Value:

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When I Was The Most Beautiful Series Quick Recap

The series follows the journey Oh Ye Ji (Im Soo Hyang), a student-teacher for an art subject. She lives in Seoul but works in a school in the countryside. There she meets a young gentleman, Seo Hwan (Ji Soo), as one of her students. She, later on, meets Hwan’s older brother Seo Jin (Ha Seok Jin) who is a car racer by profession.

Both Hwan and Jin fall in love with Ye Ji at first instance. Both are up for the challenge to win her heart. However, Hwan selflessly yielded in favor of his brother’s happiness eventually.

Ye Ji accepted Jin’s proposal for marriage. Despite the efforts from Jin’s mother and Ye Ji’s aunt to oppose the wedding, the couple pushes their wedding through.

They blissfully enjoy their married life until Jin decides to return to racing upon the encouragement of his wife. He goes to the US to compete internationally. Unfortunately, he tragically meets an accident.

Jin goes missing for seven years without any trace. His return shocks everyone as he is already an absolutely different person physically and mentally. And his indifference signals the worse to come for his relationships with his wife and his brother.


When I Was The Most Beautiful Series Highlights

Lead Cast To Root For

Oh Ye Ji (Im Soo Hyang)

Ye Ji was introduced as someone whose past is a sum of all losses – a traumatic childhood with a convicted mother and an abusive aunt. With all these things, Ye Ji is a picture of sublime fragility who would easily break down with pressure.

But time and again, she has proven us wrong with her inner feistiness. Those who wickedly wished to see her burn into ashes were stunned by her relentless courage. She never went down without a fight.

And as a warrior herself, she knew when to retreat. As much as she gave so much of herself in everything she loved, she needed to heal as well. Her marriage, which she tried so hard to nurture, was no longer serving her well. And to be whole again means to walk away for good.

In the grander scheme of things, her decision not only favored herself, but everyone involved too.

 


Seo Jin (Ha Seok Jin)

It is easy to conclude that Jin is the villainous side of the love triangle aspect of the story. After all, he took his brother’s first love for himself, he went on to live with another woman secretly while his family worried about him and he constantly vexed his brother with his jealousy and frustration. Jin epitomized a man who needed a lot of growing up.

And while those things, in any way, should not be condoned, his character requires further delving to better understand him. His outward machismo is quite deceiving. Beneath his firm exterior is a man damaged by guilt and insecurities. Tracing back to his childhood experience, his guilt burdened him for too long for being the cause of his father’s lifelong injury and almost took his brother’s life.

Jin has always kept things to himself. Rather than facing his issues head-on, he instead suppressed them which just led to poor navigation of emotions. When things didn’t work out well, he resorted to running away as his coping mechanism. Unfortunately, having done so just further aggravated the issues.

In the second half of the series, Jin was pictured as a physically and emotionally crippled person. Stuck in his wheelchair, his character is deduced to be a paralyzed man with crumpled pride. His resentment and selfishness towards others cost him his marriage. And it was quite a learning experience for him as the only consolation he got in the end is gaining maturity as a man.


Seo Hwan (Ji Soo)

With an uncomplaining character and a heart full of love, everything should be going well for Hwan. Unfortunately, he was so giving that he put his own happiness at the backseat in favor of his brother’s. And by the time he asserted a rightful love, it was already too late.

Although tied by blood, the brothers are worlds of contrast with each other. Hwan, although younger than Jin, is mentally and emotionally superior to his older brother. His love language is secure and unselfish. Even though his unwavering affection was unreciprocated, it served as Ye Ji’s fortress during her most trying times.

Hwan’s lonely battle to win the love of his life may have been a tedious and thankless effort in the end. But he was still a hero in every sense even after graciously letting go of what was not meant for him.

In the end, the painful journey of loving from afar was worth it after all. Through such experience, he was able to build a well-paved road towards personal healing and fulfillment.

 


When I Was The Most Beautiful Series Highlights

Forgiveness and Healing

If life was fair, then people would have been spared from pain and suffering. Sadly, travails are all part of life’s cycle and once in a while, we would be hurt. To some extent, it would leave us irreparably damaged tormenting us for the rest of our lives.

One of the salient lessons When I Was The Most Beautiful has taught us is to come to terms with our sufferings. And in order to be healed, the process of forgiveness is imperative.

Ye Ji’s road to a happy and peaceful life has been an uphill climb since the very beginning. She had been subjected to emotionally excruciating experiences. All of these have severely damaged her self-esteem and hindered her from finding the genuine happiness she deserved.

To forgive and be healed, she started off with courage. Being brave enough to trace the roots of her wounds has helped her find the much-needed enlightenment to process her pain. After all, a closure to a painful part of one’s life is a necessary step to being at peace with one’s self.

The death of her father, her mother’s indifference towards her, and her husband’s kept secret about the time he was missing – she deserved proper closure for these issues that emotionally wounded her. And after properly understanding everything, she was able to forgive not only those who have tormented her but herself as well for her shortcomings and limitations as a human.

Humility

Excessive pride is destructive not only to relationships but to one’s self as well. The drama sends a clear message about this fundamental wisdom as depicted through Jin’s fate at the end of the story.

Humility does not lessen one’s dignity. As humanizing as it could be, it is as well liberating from the weight that comes with having an excessive ego.

Letting Go Graciously

Persevering to claim what you want so badly is laudable. But graciously letting go of the things that are not meant for you is even nobler. And it takes courage and maturity to do so.

Hwan exemplifies a gracious grown-up man. It manifested first when he gave way to his brother’s happiness and when he finally let go of his first love for good. But rather than being resentful about the tragic fate of his unfulfilled love, he took it as a learning experience instead.


When I Was The Most Beautiful Series Musings

When I Was The Most Beautiful is essentially a pure melodrama in that it glorifies human emotions through a complicated plot. For melodramatic genres, to some extent, the unimaginable twists serve as a double-edged sword. It could either nullify the validity of the story or it could engross viewers by capitalizing on emotions rather than reason.

For this drama, the over-the-top and emotionally-driven plot worked to its advantage as evident in the rise of its viewership rating towards the closing part.

In form, the series has all the makings of a classic soap opera – a wronged heroine, the existence of too many tormentors, and far-fetched plot twists among other things. The inconsistent narrative movement, however, took away some of its brightness. The viewers have been dragged a number of times to jump forward in time which has left no chance to further delve into character development.

And though the story, which is primarily framed into the love triangle arc, is too clichéd with an exaggerated ‘accident’ twist, the performances of the lead actors more than made up for it.

We couldn’t ask for better actors than Im Soo Hyang, Ha Seok Jin and Ji Soo to portray their respective roles. Ha Seok Jin shined the most in such a way that his character could tell a stand-alone story in itself. He triumphantly depicted a character who was a victim of circumstances that he evolved into an antagonistic character.

Im Soo Hyang as the relentless heroine and Ji Soo as the uncomplaining and giving person are beyond praise too.

 

A Fitting End

On the substantial aspect of the drama, we can appreciate how the story took an alternate route for its closure. Ye Ji’s decision to walk away from a marriage that no longer served her with dignity and respect was not just right but also imperative. One should never endure being stripped of his or her dignity for the sake of saving a dysfunctional relationship. It is worth noting that their relationship did not even have a solid foundation, to begin with. Hence, such a fate was inevitable.

As a consolation, it was admirable that they have at least maintained a mutual respect for each other.

On another note, her choice to reject Hwan’s proposal after her divorce is just logical. Had she accepted it, there would just be a vicious cycle of insecurities and resentment between Hwan and Jin. In that sense, it was better to choose peace and healing for herself, rather than gamble for love which would most likely end up in vain.

Overall, the heavy drama it offered was good while it lasted. It is neither something that will linger in you for a long time nor one that will just slip your mind right away.

If you are looking for a drama that would take you on a tearful journey throughout the series, this is a good watch.


Photos: MBC Drama

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