“The Light In Your Eyes” also known as “radiant” is a drama starring Nam Joo Hyuk, Han Ji Min, and veteran actress Kim Hye Ja.
The beloved JTBC drama has a heartbreaking beautifully written story. If you’re wondering whether you should check out the drama, here is a spoiler-free review to help you decide.
[Note: this review is subjective.]
The beauty about this drama is its story; it’s what really sets it apart from the flood of kdramas these days. It masks itself as something but then knocks you off when it reveals itself to be something completely different.
The drama is written by two people: Lee Nam Kyu, Kim Soo Jin. I am now a fan of both of them.
It tells the story of a young beautiful woman named Kim Hye Ja (yup the same name as the veteran actress) who dreams of becoming a reporter, she gains the ability to control time and one day she wakes up as a 70-year-old woman. Meanwhile, Lee Joon Ha (played by Nam Joo Hyuk) also dreams of becoming a reporter but life has been unkind to him.
Above is the plot outline that’s been released. So the story is similar to time-travel, at least this is how it presents itself to the audience.
The drama is only 12 episodes long but managed to grab attention nonetheless and has a lasting impact.
The beauty about this drama is that it doesn’t turn out to be what you expect it to be, there is a shocking element that’s revealed towards the end of the drama.
I will not go into details about it since it’s a spoiler-free review but if you ask anyone around they will tell you there is a twist, a beautiful heartbreaking twist.
“The Light In Your Eyes” is a story about humanity, its sorrowful and impactful. It discusses how the younger generation perceives and treats the older generation. It was really an eye-opener and the type of drama anyone can relate to.
There is no prince charming in “The Light In Your Eyes,” there are no rich chaebols fighting for a company, there are no cliché typical kdrama scenes, it really differs from the majority of kdramas I’ve seen.
It’s the type of kdrama you can watch with your mother and father, it’s the type of kdrama that caters to older generation specifically as it deals with issues older people face daily.
It discusses everyday struggles, mundane events so to say. This can be interesting to some but lackluster to others which is why some kdrama fans had issues with this drama.
There is one thing I think I should point out about this drama and its one of the reasons why a lot of kdrama fans gave up on “The Light In Your Eyes” too soon.
The marketing was done in a way that led the international audience to believe Han Ji Min was the leading lady of this drama; I [and I believe many others] initially thought it would be a time travel drama about both young actors with occasional appearances by the older actress. This is not how the plot plays out.
The reason why you haven’t heard a lot about this drama is due to this reason. It’s led by veteran actress Kim Hye Ja mostly. In other words, Han Ji Min basically makes a special appearance rather than lead this drama; I think a lot of people were bothered by that.
The teasers released showed a lot of scenes of Kim Hye Ja but also focused on Han Ji Min. You can’t blame them for doing so because if they had marketed this drama differently it would’ve attracted way less attention. The marketing for this drama was sneaky, slightly triggering but done for a purpose.
Many international kdrama fans watch kdramas because of the leads regardless of the plot, that’s not to say every kdrama fan is like that but a lot of them do watch because of certain actors and there is honestly nothing wrong with that.
What happened was fans found out that Han Ji Min and Nam Joo Hyuk had great chemistry but weren’t able to see much of it because the majority of episodes are about the elder Kim Hye Ja interacting with Nam Joo Hyuk. The older actress is swoon by Nam Joo Hyuk and likes him a lot. She follows him everywhere and it did feel a bit weird watching her clinging onto him.
I am not going to lie; I was bothered by that, a lot. I thought they suited each other more than I had anticipated and desperately wanted more screen time of them together, I kept waiting and waiting and that rarely happened.
This is why a lot of kdrama fans actually gave up before episode 6 I believe.
You might consider this a spoiler but I think it’s a fair warning because I know a lot of you guys might not want to watch this drama if you find out its led by the veteran actress mostly instead of the young actress Han Ji Min.
It’s also worthy to point out that a lot of people found this drama boring because it focuses on the elders. That’s mostly reserved to daily kdramas, not short kdramas. So this was shocking to fans. They expected something but they got something else.
The drama is fun and can be light but it can also be serious and heavy since it deals with social issues as well.
The supporting cast is also of the older generation there are young cast members as well but there are also many older actors on set.
I only watch kdramas that has 20 episodes or less because I get bored easily and don’t like long kdramas so personally speaking I am not used to seeing many older actors because most of the dramas I watch are about young actors in their 20s and 30s.
There are parts of the story that don’t make sense in the short run but come to make a lot of sense when you look at the overall picture. There are also many parts of the story that make sense when you look at it the first time but don’t make sense when you take into consideration the overall plot.
However, this isn’t about being nitpicky. This drama had a lesson to teach the masses and it did. There are some inconsistencies and some plot holes here and there but they had a purpose and a goal and they reached it.
It’s clearly the work of more than one person because it’s not something that’s easy to pull off. I believe the two writers already had the basic idea starting out, it’s clearly a plot that’s been in the making for a while, it shows.
With such an interesting cast, it turns out exactly how you expect it to, the performances were amazing.
Veteran actress Kim Hye Ja does amazing as you’d expect her to, what shocked and pleased me was Nam Joo Hyuk’s performance, (personally speaking) I believe its his best so far.
Nam Joo Hyuk isn’t the best model-actor in my opinion and is not suitable for every character. That became clear to me watching “Bride Of The Water God.” He has potential but still needs to work on himself, he’ll get there.
His portrayal of the underdog in this drama was nothing short of phenomenal. This drama earned him recognition as an actor not a model with a beautiful face who acts.
The supporting cast also does an amazing job, specifically actor Sun Ho Joon, who is nothing short of amazing, he plays the role of the good-for-nothing elder brother who keeps failing tests.
He has no purpose in life, is lazy and childish, however, his chemistry with Kim Hye Ja and Han Ji Min was just amazing. He also has good chemistry with actress Kim Ga Eun as well.
You will love him in this drama, despite the fact that he’s super lazy and does nothing important with his life; he adds such substance to the drama. He’s hilarious in his role and it doesn’t come off overbearing.
I also have to give a shout out to all the extras in this drama who play various grandpa and grandma roles, they also add so much to the drama. Each one has a story and a past. Their lives also matter and the drama tries to teach you that.
The drama starts out lightly but slowly becomes heavy, I cried a lot watching this drama, I think I cried the most throughout episode 8 to 12, it was too much and watching those grandpas and grandmas struggles and how people take advantage of them was heartbreaking, I couldn’t stop crying.
I loved the chemistry between everybody, between Nam Joo Hyuk and Han Ji Min, between Nam Joo Hyuk and Kim Hye Ja, I liked the dynamics between the drama characters.
What’s interesting is how well they pulled off their chemistry with veteran actress Kim Hye Ja who plays a 25-year-old in the body of a 70-year-old, she pulled it off well and the actors around her were comfortable enough to treat her like a 20 something-year-old. Sun Ho Joon continues to be childish and spiteful around her despite the fact that she’s his senior in the industry and in Korea it’s all about respect for the elder generation.
I am pointing this out to tell you that the cast doesn’t feel awkward around each other (unless the script suggests they should).
Should I watch this drama?
In short, this drama isn’t for everyone but the majority of the patient kdrama fans who watched it highly recommend it.
If you’re interested in stereotypical adorable kdramas and only that, you’ll probably struggle to enjoy this because it doesn’t include the usual narrative you’re used to.
I also believe a lot of younger kdrama fans won’t enjoy this as much as the older ones, the older you are the more you’ll appreciate this drama.
It’s still one of the most interesting kdramas I have seen in recent years, I cried a lot watching it and it changed my perspective on how to approach old people, it was very difficult for me to contain my emotions because I felt so sorry for everyone involved, it also makes you look back on your life.
It has one of the most interesting plot-twists in a kdrama world that has become typical and predictive in a sense.
Its only 12 episodes but I still highly recommend it, just prepare a tissue box near you if you plan on watching it.
Now a question to all who watched this drama, would you recommend it? let me know what you think of it.