Touch Your Heart is a 2019 South Korean television series starring Yoo In-na and Lee Dong-wook. Developed by Studio Dragon and jointly produced by Mega Monster and Zium Content based on the web novel of the same name first published in 2016 via KakaoPage, it aired on tvN from February 6 to March 28, 2019.

Synopsis

Top actress Oh Jin-shim (Yoo In-na), who goes by the stage name Oh Yoon-seo, has a scandal that damages her career, leaving her jobless for two years. That was until she has a chance to earn a major role in an upcoming drama. But in order to clear her name and secure success, she must first take a job working as a secretary to a lawyer named Kwon Jung-rok (Lee Dong-wook). Eventually, they fall in love and the following events form the crux of the story.

Rom com drama about an attorney and a movie star who find unexpected love when opposites attract.

Review : by txc_vertigo (link)

The Good

(1) The hype surrounding these two main leads coming together once again was immense, but even though expectations were sky high, I think they both lived up to the hype. Yes, obviously their characters are different from their previous drama Goblin, since this is a different series, yet the characters and the actors’ performances are great in their own right.

Yoo In Na’s portrayal of Oh Yun Seo is great. This is not her first time portraying an actress on screen and there have been many comparisons between Oh Yun Seo and her roles in Queen In Hyun’s Man and My Love From The Stars as well as fellow actress Jun Ji Hyun’s character from said drama. Yet, the presentation of Oh Yun Seo feels distinctly different and charming on its own. Even though she is childish, airheaded and naive, the audience quickly comes to root for Yun Seo as she is genuine, cute and very human. Lee Dong Wook as the lawyer Kwon Jung Rok is no slouch either as he put up a really good performance. At first he comes off as cold and unfriendly but we soon learn that he is upstanding, caring and sweet. Both of the actors manage to display great duality in their characters showing us that there are many sides to a person and that first impressions aren’t everything.

The contrast between the two main lead characters are shown throughout the different aspects of the drama, even down to the set design. Oh Yun Seo’s apartment and desk is bright, cute, fluffy and playful. Kwon Jung Rok’s apartment and desk is traditional, serious, toned down and functional. It truly feels like these characters work and live in these spaces and have made them their own.

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(2) Despite how enjoyable both the leads are to watch, the best acting performance of the drama definitely belongs to Kim Dae Gon who plays a butcher’s son with a mental disability and does so in a convincing fashion. He really sells it with his portrayal of a naive and neurotic man who ends up in a lot of trouble regardless of his good intentions. Along with him and many others, the supporting cast are for the most part quite charismatic and memorable. Each character has their own quirks and add either humor or weight to the drama.

(3) I really like the camera movement of this drama and also the times at which they chose to incorporate camera movement. The camera movement is smooth in the use of zooms, pans, tilts, trucking, dollies and pedestals. Better yet, the movement rarely feels overused or like it’s something that was thrown in just for visual interest. Sometimes, just having a stationary shot creates a more pleasant viewing and allows the actor to really pierce through the screen, which creates more emotion.

(4) Besides just the camera movement, many other aspects of how the drama was shot is also really well done. I really like how a lot of interactions between our main leads are filmed. Instead of just relying on over-shoulder-shots for much of their conversations, the director often uses two-shots of them in either a full shot size or ¾ shot size. At the beginning it emphasises on how standoffish their relationship is whereas later on it emphasises their romantic chemistry.

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Another really creative thing that the director does in the drama is to use character positions as visual indicators. This allows for group conversations to be filmed without constantly establishing the speaker with a close up, instead it becomes apparent who is speaking through who is leaning forward or somehow has a position that sets them aside from non-speakers.

The Bad

(1) The drama falls into a lot of clichés and is often predictable. You know what you are going to get and that is both a strength and a weakness. Some people might find this drama to be überfluff and just way too sweet and cutesy, but fortunately for me, I have a sweet tooth. It is directed by the same person who directed “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim”, which shares the same fluffy feel-good romcom formula. I believe that formula is quite polarizing and will draw some viewers in while pushing other viewers out. The premise is not something very unique either considering it is one of the many office romance dramas to air this year where the man is the boss and the woman is his subordinate.

(2) Sometimes the characters act out of character just to create tension and drama. The most noticeable instance of this happening is during episode 13 when the drama decides to incorporate the frustrating noble idiocy trope. Characters who once had great trust and communication suddenly stop talking and decide to be angsty by themselves, leading to great frustration for the viewer and inconsistent characterization.

(3) Some of the subplots are just not that well thought out or executed. As it mostly takes place at Always Law Firm, this drama does have several legal plots and although I’m not an attorney, I can say that the courtroom scenes are not very believable and sometimes lack proper logic or courtroom etiquette. To be fair, this is expected from pretty much all kdramas that are not specifically legal dramas though, but the execution could absolutely have been better. There are two ways that it could have been solved, either invest time into better research and writing for these scenes or go more over-the-top with them to make them humorous and not to be taken seriously. Furthermore, there are subplots that go nowhere and are not very well structured such as the whole plot line about the creepy stalker of Oh Yun Seo.

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Since my proficiency in Korean is only of the level that my regular intake of writing mostly consists of webcomics and children’s books, I haven’t read the web novel “Jinsimi Dadda” from which the story is adapted. Thus, I do not know if the flaws in the show’s writing comes from the screenwriter or just as a product of making a faithful adaptation. Therefore, I will not comment on that matter.

Score: 7,5 / 10 – It is not a very deep or original drama, but it doesn’t try to be that either. It executes what it’s going for pretty well and I think the great acting, set design and camera work justifies the score.

5/5 - (1 vote)

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