“Heartstrings” (Korean Drama) Review TV Series
“Heartstrings” – also known as “You’ve fallen for me” 넌 내게 반했어 – is a 2011 youth romance drama set at a Arts University.
The main cast:
- Park Shin-Hye as Lee Kyu-Won
- Jung Yong-Hwa as Lee Shin
- So Yi-Hyun as Jung Yun-Soo
- Song Chang-Eui as Kim Suk-Hyun
- Kang Min-Hyuk as Yeo Yoon-Hee
Lee Kyu-Won (Park Shin-Hye) is a student of traditional music. She especially excels at playing the gayageum, a Korean string instrument.
Together with her classmates/best friends, Kyu-Won has formed the band “Windflowers”. They will often perform at retirement homes, much to the delight of its residents.
Kyu-Won lives with her Grandfather, a once famous pansori singer. He is very proud of his accomplished past, never failing to mention it to anyone willing to listen. Although now retired, he is still highly revered within the traditional music community.
His granddaughter inherited his love for music. Since early on Kyu-Won was encouraged to develop her skills in playing the gayageum.
Not much is revealed about Kyu-Won’s mother, except that she passed when her daughter was still little.
Kyu-Won’s father is a music teacher and lives in a different town. Despite this he has a very close relationship with his daughter. He will often gift her CDs, since they share similar tastes in music.
The same cannot be said about him and his father, Kyu-Won’s grandfather. Having decided to pursue modern music instead of following in his father’s footsteps, he was met with disapproval.
However, if father and son were to ever agree on anything, it would be that both want the best for Kyu-Won. Even if they have different ideas on what the best thing is for her.
Lee Shin (Jung Yong-Hwa) is a gifted guitar player. He is also the much admired lead singer of a indie band named “The Stupid”. [A/N: Interesting choice for a band name, I agree. But here we are.] “The Stupid” often perform at a small pub near the university, owned and operated by one of their seniors.
Handsome and self assured, Lee Shin has long become accustomed to the attention his looks and talent garner him. Especially among the female population.
Surprisingly, the only woman he has had his eyes on for a while now, is not remotely interested in him. He however, is determined to change her mind, and keeps on pursuing her.
Besides his romantic interest, his band, and university, Lee Shin also makes time for his mom and younger sister. Having been raised by a single mother for most of his life, he feels protective of her.
His sister, a mischievous but good-natured high schooler, has in him a perfect older brother. Only seldom will he deny any of her requests towards him. Most frequently she asks him for signed pictures of himself. She in turn uses these as bargaining chips among her classmates, who are always eager to get their hands on them.
After her friends drag her to the pub for a performance by “The Stupid” for this first time, Kyu-Won is smitten. Subsequently, she decides to approach Lee Shin outside the pub to ask him and his band to perform at a fundraiser she is planning. Said fundraiser is in support of a much beloved teacher who has been hospitalized with a severe illness.
To her surprise, Lee Shin mistakes this for just another fangirl’s attempt at interacting with him and promptly dismisses her. Kyu-Won, set on making the fundraiser a success, instead approaches the drummer of the band and he agrees they will help out.
In the days following their first meeting, Kyu-Won and Lee Shin continue to run into each other on campus. To Kyu-Won’s dismay, she has been unable to convince Lee Shin that their encounters are purely coincidental in nature. It certainly does not help, that every time they end up in the same place, one thing or another happens which appears to confirm the opposite.
Although growing increasingly frustrated at Lee Shin’s dismissive attitude towards her, Kyu-Won is at a loss at what to do.
Things come to a head when Lee Shin fails to show up to the fundraiser. Kyu-Won is left to deal with the aftermath, including the less than happy audience. Shortly after, she also receives word that her teacher has taken a turn for the worse.
Unaware of Lee Shin’s reason for his no-show, combined with her already less-than-stellar opinion of him, Kyu-Won directs all her anger at him. In turn Lee Shin is oblivious to the story behind the fundraiser, disregarding Kyu-Won’s outburst as her overreacting.
As a result of these events, Kyu-Won calls out Lee Shin to a ultimate battle between them, musical style. “Windflowers” vs. “The Stupid” will hold a open air concert at the university, in front of classmates and professors alike. The winner will be decided based on the amount of applause received by each group after performing. Who will be more successful at pulling at the audience’s heartstrings?
Due to the cast and musical theme of “Heartstrings”, it is one of my favourites. The OST is one of my top choices both for listening and karaoke sessions. In addition to songs by the cast, it also includes at least one song by Lee HongGi, whose voice never fails to delight.
Overall the drama has a beautiful assortment of traditional Korean music and modern catchy songs. Even after watching “Heartstrings” countless times, the music is a big reason I keep coming back to it.
For fans experiencing second-lead syndrome during the K-drama “You’re Beautiful”, the pairing of Park ShinHye and Jung YongHwa in “Heartstrings” was a dream come true.
I MUST mention that Lee Shin’s looks were very much on point throughout, complimenting YongHwa’s handsome features. From hairstyle and colour, to outfits and even accessories, everything was perfect. **chef’s kiss**
Unfortunately, Kyu-Won’s outfits are in turn a bit of a hit and miss, and not consistent with her character. Sometimes she looks really adorable but other times it appeared as though she got dressed in the dark or just put on whatever. Considering Queen Park ShinHye’s natural beauty, I did not think it possible for her to look frumpy. Alas, I was proven wrong.
A thing that caused me more grievances though was the character of Han Hee-Joo, a ambitious dancer and actor at the art university. Throughout the story a rivalry starts between her and Kyu-Won as they star as main lead and understudy respectively in a musical put on by the school. Right from the start it was obvious that Hee-Joo had a unhealthy relationship with food. She obsessively worried about her weight but would also binge eat on occasion.
I kept waiting for the writers to address the issue but instead witnessed her being brought forward as an example to follow for Kyu-Won by one of the professors. In the end there was no further development in this matter, like the production team had forgotten about this side of Hee-Joo. Similarly to my thoughts on Hyun Soo-Ah in “Gangnam Beauty”, I felt disappointed that a character with so much potential was left unexplored.
Moving on from that and coming to a close on this review, I cannot leave without saying that I absolutely adored Kang MinHyuk’s character Yeo Yoon-Hee. His uncomplicated but steadfast personality more than just being adorable also provided a breath of fresh air.
Did you watch this drama? Did it pull at your heartstrings?
Until we drama again,