(Image courtesy of Studio S)

Opinion

Opinion: Falling in love with “Our Beloved Summer”

If you want to watch a one-of-a-kind romance comedy Korean drama, you should check out "Our Beloved Summer."
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/joliewng/" target="_self">Jolie Wang</a>

Jolie Wang

February 26, 2022
Good shows can make you feel all kinds of emotions, but what about feeling like you’ve been a part of some strangers’ lives for 10 years?

Our Beloved Summer is a Korean drama in which two ex-lovers who filmed a viral documentary in their high school years find themselves in front of the camera once again, years later.

Choi Ung, played by Choi Woo-shik, is a very laid-back man whose goal is to live a stress-free, comfortable life. He doesn’t like to study but has a passion for reading and drawing. On the other hand, Kook Yeon-su, played by Kim Da-mi, is the complete opposite of Choi Ung. She’s always been an independent, hard-working, and diligent person.

How can two people be so different, but so in love?  

When they were in high school, Ung and Yeon-su find out they will be in a documentary that focuses on the lives of the student ranked first in school, Yeon-su, and the student ranked last in school, Ung. At first, as two young students, they seemed to hate each other.

However, at the end of the filming, they both realize that perhaps the other person isn’t so bad after all. They become a couple in high school, but break up and drift apart. The drama focuses primarily on their relationship meeting again as adults, when the same production company wants to film a follow-up documentary of the two of them, with flashbacks to their high school years. 

Unlike most Korean dramas where the two main leads meet each other in an unrealistic situation and fall in love, “Our Beloved Summer” tells the story of two people who have a history with each other. Because of that history, throughout the drama, you can constantly see the difference between Ung and Yeon-su’s high school and adult selves, making the drama all the more entertaining to watch.

While watching “Our Beloved Summer,” I realized that above being a romantic comedy, the plot of the drama itself holds so many meanings. 

For one thing, people change; it’s inevitable and you have to accept that.

In the drama, Ung and Yeon-su are always mentioning how the latter was in the past and how they haven’t changed at all. Ung and Yeon-su are evidently still hung up on each other’s past selves. In reality, both of them have changed a lot. They still argue over the most trivial things even though it’s been years, but they’ve matured a lot since they last saw each other.

Another takeaway from “Our Beloved Summer” is the lesson to live a life true to yourself. Do what you want to do, not what others tell you to do. In the drama, Ung has always said that he wants to live a peaceful life without stress. During their relationship, Ung always told Yeon-su that he would follow her wherever she went in the future.

However, toward the end of the drama, Ung finally figures out what he wants to do for himself. Being able to do what you want to do gives you happiness and freedom, which was Ung’s ultimate goal in life.

“Our Beloved Summer” also teaches viewers the lesson of accepting yourself. If you don’t accept yourself, how will you be able to accept others?

In the drama, Yeon-su has always filled up her schedule to distract herself from her personal life. However, she ultimately realizes that she’s happy with where she is in life and chooses to enjoy the moment. Moreover, growing up with her grandma, she thought that her grandma was the only person she had to lean on; she felt lonely most of the time.

But, when she reflects on it, Yeon-su has never once been lonely. She always had her grandma, her friends, and Ung beside her. Because Yeon-su hadn’t accepted herself before, she was always pushing people away from her. Once she accepted herself, she began to appreciate all that she has and found joy in her life again.

As cliché as it sounds, this drama proves that time really heals. After going through many hardships in her life, Yeon-su finally finds that she’s happy with her life and that she is exactly where she wants to be. Time allows one to take a moment to look back at everything you’re lucky to have. During those 10 years, both Ung and Yeon-su took time to heal themselves and to grow as people.

Because the drama covers events that happened in the time span of a decade, it really feels as if you’ve lived alongside Ung and Yeon-su since their high school years. The continuous flashbacks allow us to become fond of the two main leads’ past selves, and the scenes of the present allow us to fall for the charms of their present selves.

The Original Sound Track for “Our Beloved Summer” is one of my personal favorites. It’s not very sad and dramatic like most Korean drama OSTs; rather, it is calming and relaxing, yet still full of emotion. The songs in the “Our Beloved Summer” OST remind me of sunrises or rain on a sunny day. Paired with the cinematography of the drama, the OST makes every scene more special.

Out of all the Korean dramas ever produced, “Our Beloved Summer” is one that definitely stands out, especially because it uniquely portrays a couple falling in love for a second time. This drama is a tear-jerker — in a good way.

If you want to watch a one-of-a-kind romance comedy Korean drama, you should check out “Our Beloved Summer,” available on Netflix.