Alone in Love aka Yeon Ae Si Dae (2006) [16 episodes, approx 1 hour each]
directed by Han Ji Seung, written by Park Yeon Seon
starring Son Ye Jin, Kam Woo Sung, Kong Hyung Jin, Lee Ha Na
Korean with English subtitles
Watch it for free (if in Canada or US)
Prior to watching Alone in Love I had only seen handful of random Kdrama episodes which intrigued me enough to attempt to watch a full series. Although I did find that first Korean drama series compelling enough to finish it, the experience was so exhausting that I really wasn’t keen on ever watching another Asian TV drama. However, when I was perusing Crunchy Roll, I couldn’t help but watch the first episode of Alone In Love and subsequently every other episode in the whole series.
The main reason was admittedly because it starred one of my favourite Korean actresses, Son Ye-Jin. She holds a special place in my heart because she was in the first Korean film I ever watched which was on my birthday with a girl whom wanted to watch a sad movie. I remember it was pouring tons of rain that day when I walked to her apartment with some tasty takeout. It was all very apropos. I’ve seen a few other films with Son Ye Jin but I think she’s easily at her best in this K-drama series. It made me fall for her all over again.
Based on the novel of the same name by Japanese author Hisashi Nozawa, I found this TV series to be quite realistic. It doesn’t resort to the usual K-drama tactics which often involve terminal illness, amnesia and other commonly used plot devices to wring out as many tears as possible. You’ll find none of that in Alone in Love which follows a divorced couple who still have lingering feelings for each other. They even meet regularly and bicker just like a married couple would. Will they get back together or will they move on to new prospects? Why did they divorce in the first place? There’s a lot more to it than that with some deeper musings on what love is and where it ends and begins. Despite the somewhat reflective and somber tone, there’s a surprising amount of humour. I definitely laughed out loud numerous times throughout. Of course, since this is a Korean drama, there are sad moments, particularly the last couple of episodes which should definitely cause eyes to well up. Although I never felt it was slow (I truly was addicted from the first episode) I can imagine that some might find it so especially those used to flashier dramas about super rich people in exotic locations.
As I said earlier Son Ye Jin is amazing in this series but so are all the other actors who play main characters such as Kam Woo Sung who plays her character’s ex-husband, Kong Hyung Jin who plays his best friend and Lee Ha Na who plays her younger sister. They’re all very believable in their roles as everyday characters that are easy to relate to. Lee Ha Na in particular is delightfully quirky and the sisterly interaction between her and Son Ye Jin is great to watch.
Alone in Love is a great K-drama to watch for the newbie or experienced viewer. It’s affecting and engaging while mostly avoiding predictable melodrama.
If you do end up liking it a lot, you can also buy the region 1 dvd boxset from the North American division of YesAsia which includes English subtitles and is sold for a reasonable price . I liked this series so much that I did buy it. [Update: Sold out + NA distributor YA entertainment became defunct in 2013]
Update: A Japanese drama adapation 恋愛時代 / Renai Jidai was made in 2015 but I have not seen it.