There have been a lot of heated discussions surrounding “Now We Are Breaking Up” and whether its a good or a bad drama. I personally have lots of thoughts to share on it so I am writing this article.
In my review of “Now We Are Breaking Up” premiere, I said I didn’t hate it and honestly, I still don’t, in fact, it has some beautiful moments here and there that I will discuss in this article.
Note: Of course, I am discussing the first half, so my thoughts can change, if they do, I will write a second half review.
Note: this is a subjective review. I will share my personal opinion while keeping in mind how others might perceive it. This is a spoiler review
“Now We Are Breaking Up” is average- thus far, I think that sums up the drama well. It’s not the worst thing I’ve seen in 2021 and it’s not the best either. It’s somewhere in the middle. If the leads of the drama had been unknown, not many would’ve even attempted to watch episodes 3 and 4, I know that much. Such types of dramas need hallyu actors to succeed.
“Now We Are Breaking Up” has not been the success SBS has been hoping for and I highly doubt the drama will ever come close to “one the woman” or “the penthouse” ratings, this drama takes on the same time slot.
People now want good plots and I can’t be certain that “Now We Are Breaking Up” gave a good first impression or even improved much since its premiere in terms of giving hope this gets better.
Jae Guk’s character
I’ve long expressed my annoyance with screenwriters trying to link leads together in the past to create connections that feel deeper. The entire arc of Young Eun’s relationship with Jae Guk’s brother feels unnecessary, and it also is very awkward and difficult to accept.
The fact that the younger brother seeks a relationship with the woman his brother loved is not a good look and isn’t okay. Now I know you’ll say they dated for two months and he cheated, but the screenwriter goes out of her way to tell you Young Eun never truly moved on from him and that she dearly loved him, at first.
Jae guk also knows that but is unfazed because his brother is dead.. which isn’t a solid argument, what about respect, man? I lost a lot of respect for the character when he said his brother is dead and this is not an issue in his eyes. Its not the type of character I would personally root for.
In episodes 7 and 8, Jae Guk becomes especially annoying and borderline unbearable. The dude exposes his dead brother for cheating on Ha Young… like… dude… is this person supposed to be the one we’re rooting for? That is so low and was completely unnecessary, she’s moved on from him and she’s dating you, what more do you want? He even tells her to curse at him in front of her… bruh. The dude is dead, leave him alone.
Jae Guk as a character is very difficult to like. What makes their romance feel even more forced and unnecessary is the fact that each argument the other characters bring up makes lots of sense, it’s very disrespectful for the brother and you know your mother is overbearing and likely forced him to get engaged to someone else. Why is he behaving like that? Is the screenwriter attempting to make us hate him? I highly doubt it but she’s successfully made me dislike him.
Such characters existing in stories is not the problem, its the fact that he’s supposedly the man we’re supposed to be rooting for but he’s unbearable, pushy, and very childish. Yet, he’s portrayed as this hopeless romantic and ‘nice guy,’ he’s not, not in my eyes.
Aside from Jae Guk being unbearable, if there is something that could lead me to stop watching it would be Director Shin Yoo-Jung. I am utterly astonished by the screenwriter choice here…. The choice to make her the villain of the story, like… make it make sense please… Not only is it not her place but her actions feel entirely unjustified, also, she was aware he was in love and saw him before he passed away.
The choice here to make her character the driver of ‘conflict’ feels so forced and out of the blue, it felt like she was supposed to be a cameo type of character but ended up becoming a part of the story somehow. A parent becoming the villain here would be very typical and overused but it would make sense.
Also, her attempts are completely backfiring and the attempts are very childish. They’re all in their 30s or 40s here and she’s out there acting so childish and this entire subplot just doesn’t sit down.
side stories, way more interesting but is it enough?
“Now We Are Breaking Up” introduces at least 4 side plots, but despite that, I still can’t see why it would need 16 episodes to tell each story.
Romance dramas aren’t necessarily slow but at times, “Now We Are Breaking Up” feels excruciatingly slow even with the introduction of the paid side-plot, and not slow as in giving you time to digest or take in ideas but slow as in ‘the screenwriter doesn’t have much to say’ slow.
This is a two-way street, depending on your taste, this either is good or bad news. Personally, I am still on the fence about it.
But despite that, the side stories are all entertaining and they’re what’s keeping me watching.
First, I love love Director Hwang and Seok Do-Hoon’s story, I honestly find it more interesting than the main leads, the main leads story feels a bit too typical. Director Hwang and Seok Do-Hoon definitely shine more and they’re brought to life by the actors. Director Hwang is still annoying AF but can be very enduring at times, I just can’t fully hate her and I am sure as the drama progresses she’ll grow too.
I also like the insider look the drama provides about the fashion industry, I find that fascinating.
Song Hye Kyo- a look at her choices and performance
Let us discuss the elephant in the room, Song Hye Kyo.
A lot of people are talking about her drama choices and her acting.
Song Hye Kyo is one of the prettiest actresses I’ve seen in my opinion but she’s not my favorite actress. I hope you won’t misconstrue this and label me a hater and send me hate messages for talking about it. I don’t hate her at all. This is a discussion of her acting method and choices.
Song Hye Kyo hasn’t changed up how she does things for a while now and basically for the past 10 years, she’s been playing the same character. I can’t even begin to tell them apart if you give me screenshots of her facial expressions or style, it all feels the same. This makes people less likely to look forward to her dramas because they know what type of performance she’ll put on.
Now onto her acting.
Song Hye Kyo’s facial expressions tend to be very minimal, she’s like a doll with one facial expression most of the time. She tries to make her minimal expressions stand out and make the most of that, but that doesn’t work because you can tell she’s holding back.
She’s not expressive when she needs to be and has a certain blank expression she uses for most scenes which makes it difficult to figure out how the character is feeling.
It also feels to me that she’s afraid of showing so many facial expressions ruining her beautiful face. Even when she’s acting out difficult or emotional scenes, she tends to keep her expressions to a minimal and it feels as if she’s suppressing them… but why? Is she afraid of showing wrinkles? I don’t understand why her acting became like that. There is nothing wrong with being more expressive and assertive with certain scenes.
If you watch her older kdramas or movies, you can see a huge shift took place. She used to be a lot more expressive. Now I know, you’ll say she’s now older, but that’s irrelevant, she’s an actress, she acts for a living and she doesn’t always have to use the same expressions for every character.
On the other hand, I understand why some people still like her acting. To each their own. I think the casting choice for this character isn’t bad, but, I would’ve loved to see her shake things up. While I highly doubt she ever would in the near future, and I highly doubt she’ll ever take on a project that will completely shed her current sophisticated image, it would be wonderful if one day I am proven wrong.
Aside from her, Jang Ki Yong is okay here. I don’t think they have the best chemistry but it isn’t terrible either. My favorite performances are by Kim Joo Hun who is always delightful, and Park Hyo Joo who plays the dying mother, my heart breaks for her.
I also wanted to highlight Sehun here who has improved a lot since the last time I’ve seen him. At first, it was obvious he felt a bit uneasy but as time went by I saw him become more comfortable on-screen and at ease with his co-stars. I like his chemistry with Ha Young too.
“Now We Are Breaking Up” hasn’t been doing that well in ratings and the drama is now behind “The Red Sleeve,” which means this time slot has lost its first rating battle in I think at least a year if not more. SBS has always dominated this time slot. At the same time, the drama is doing well internationally, so there is a silver lining to this.
No longer can screenwriters rely on stars alone to carry a project. If the script isn’t up to standards, it won’t fly as high as it could have a couple of years back. With the abundance of good kdramas with well-written scripts, its no wonder this drama isn’t doing that well comparatively, there are too many good dramas to pick from.
I still don’t know how “Now We Are Breaking Up” plans on filling 16 episodes. This remains to be seen. I just wish that screenwriters and production companies realize that standard romance dramas don’t warrant 16 episodes anymore, cut it down to 8 or 10 episodes instead.
So these are my thoughts on “Now We Are Breaking Up”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.