“Queen Of Tears” Review- A Stereotypical Average Plot With Extraordinary Performances

Published Categorized as Kdrama Reviews
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Now that “Queen Of Tears,” has come to an end, its time for a review!

An important note: I personally avoided watching the drama live and avoided spoilers [although that didn’t work 100% of the time]. This means I waited for episodes to pile up before binge-watching, so I will share a different perspective than someone who anticipated each episode weekly would have.

Related: “Queen Of Tears” Ending Explained- Episode 16 Recap And Review

Note: this will be a spoiler review of the drama. This is a subjective review.

if I could describe “Queen Of Tears” in a sentence it would be: draggy but fun at the same time. I’d say when it hits that sweet spot you expect from a kdrama, it does but when it doesn’t, it reeeeeaaaaaalllly shows.

So, lets talk about why that’s the case, in my opinion.

The script

“Queen Of Tears” is penned by Park Ji-Eun who needs little introduction. She’s behind Crash Landing on You and My Love From the Star. I’ve said this before about her writing, but to me, its very surface-level. Although she began screenwriting in 2009, some of the writing tactics she employs are very reminiscent of the early 2000s era and it shows.

Its repackaged in a beautiful 2024 bow, but its still the same.

To me, her scripts were always either fine or boring, but they were never so well-written or spectacular to the point that it left a lasting impression on me beyond who’s cast and how sweet they were together.

By this I mean that the leads picked for her dramas are a huge reason behind their success. People usually discuss the cast’s chemistry and synergy when talking about her dramas, and she has some tricks up her sleeves and a good sense of dry humor, but its hardly enough in my opinion to make for a good script overall.

“Queen Of Tears” is a very basic tearjerker about a woman who is about to die due to an indescribable ever-changing illness that manifests in different scenarios depending on whats needed to heighten tensions in the plot. It has very basic kdrama tropes but in this case, its reversed.

You’d expect the male lead to be a jerk, money-obsessed and such, but this time, it’s the woman’s character. While I will not deny she’s been hurt, she caused a lot of pain for Hyun Woo because she’s so darn rich, on purpose, and by accident. I spoke before about how such male characters can be really toxic and annoying, but in our case, it’s the woman’s character this time.

This is probably the biggest trump card the drama’s script has to offer, the power imbalance between Hae in and Hyun Woo. Other than that, it follows a very similar scenario to what you’d expect from a kdrama about such a topic. There is also the in-fighting between the rich family members and the shareholders’ squabbles we’ve come to expect.

For the 1st couple of episodes, “Queen Of Tears” is very compelling, I said so in my premiere review. However, around episode 5, I began to notice how certain supporting characters take up screen time and how I personally felt every minute of it. It was obvious content filler but when it was shown on screen, it was very apparent what it was. That’s also in part due to how severe and urgent the situation with Hae In is, so it made everything else pale even more in comparison.

Things pick up around episode 7 and to about episode 10, it slows down dramatically again. From episode 10 and from that point on, I felt we could have slashed about 3 hours’ worth of run time, no biggie. It didn’t feel impactful or rather necessary and you could tell it was so the script could be padded even further when at any point, the screenwriter could easily wrap this up. It didn’t feel complicated or an impossible venture to uproot the bad guy and his mother, but it kept getting delayed.

To me, stories around death need to be treated slightly differently, but our screenwriter here milks it beyond whats appropriate in my opinion… to the point it feels as if they’re dangling a treat in front of us expecting us to bite down every two episodes or so, and did we do it? Yes, we did!

I believe stories around a character’s imminent death should be shorter if you want them to be especially impactful, otherwise, it could get tiring very fast and begin to feel exploitive.

In this case, we have Soo Hyun and Ji Won to carry the drama throughout the tough spots, they do such a great job that even when I am generally critical, when they’re on screen, I find them so captivating I forget how bad some parts are. I found myself overlooking the script’s various issues because of how well they did their jobs and their amazing chemistry. [more on that later]

This is not even getting into the whole situation with how all of the family’s assets are tied to one man [the grandpa] and how the family has no other asset to fall back on… which if you’re acting as a chaebol, I’d expect more preparation in all angles for even the faintest possibility of such scenarios, especially considering how their father seemed to be very much into that woman and how the family is portrayed as ‘smart.’

Added to it, the fact that Hae In’s sickness comes and goes depending on the situation despite how severe her case is, the fact that she somehow finds a solution for it when the screenwriter established it won’t happen in the early episodes… and much more.

From early on, I could tell Hae in wasn’t going to die, in fact, I would have framed my review very differently if she did. Because it would be definitely memorable to betray the audience’s faintest beliefs like that, I’d give her props for this alone. But of course, that didn’t happen.

Episode 15 writing was especially outrageous, the overused memory loss card made me roll my eyes back so hard I could see my brain, and the unnecessary car accident adds a layer of complicated happenings that didn’t feel needed at this time. The 15th episode should have been devoted to the downfall of the mother and son, so in the 16th episode, we could focus on Hae In’s recovery.

Having said these things, I understand the screenwriter’s perspective and why she wouldn’t feel the need to try harder. Not only is the drama massively successful, but also one of the highest-rated cable dramas of all time. The fever around that drama is also indicative of just how well the job was done. The script is very basic and is very average, but it worked. and if it works for her, does she need to do more?

Even with the issues that I’ve explained with this script, I still find the drama to be quite charming, not because the writing was great, but because of the cast.

The characters

I would say my opinions about the characters are also very similar to my opinions about the script. I just find all of the characters to be very average and some of them to be very basic. But I do feel that the actors’ performances, in this case, have elevated some of those characters into amazing territory, and they would be remembered not based on the fact that they were amazingly written, but rather that the actors did such a good job portraying those characters.

Nowhere is that more evident than that of the female lead, who would have been insufferable and annoying in the hands of another actress, but in our case, Ji Won does an amazing job humanizing her and making her to be very cute. Even at times when I was looking at the character and I’m like, ‘what is she up to?’

The main male lead character is especially basic, and it’s basically like a sweet dream of what every single teenage Girl would deem to be the perfect man. He is perfect down to almost all of his details. He almost has no flaws and reminds me of some of those Korean drama female characters who are always amazing at whatever they do despite just how terrible the conditions are around them are, which does not really make much sense, nor does it ring true to life. But hey, you’re watching a drama, so what did you expect?

And by that, I mean he is the perfect gentleman. He is very smart, he is very well behaved, he knows how to behave around a woman, and he is generally very considerate and a romantic too. And while at the beginning of the drama he does celebrate the female lead character’s untimely death, once you begin to see his point of view, you understand exactly what led him to down that road and just how much he suffered at the hands of those people that sort of shaped him.

This was probably the biggest strength point of the character in the sense that he felt no remorse for not feeling bad about just how his wife was going to die at the beginning. Other than that, he falls back into the very stereotypical archetype of the female lead in Korean dramas, who is just all around a perfect, nonexistent character.

Not that this annoys me in any way, shape or form. I just really loved the character despite all of that and loved the performance too.

Even the antagonists follow Very basic characteristics, what you expect of such characters, and I did feel that more could have been added to enhance their characters.

I just hoped that Sung Hoon’s character Would be further expanded on. Sadly, that never happened. He remains very odd in the way he handles projects, and you wonder just how he managed to achieve that success prior to using that brain of his. I think you might say this could have to do with the fact that he is in love, but his definition of love or his mother’s definition of love is definitely deeply flawed and deserves to be examined. Moh Seul-Hee should have been expanded on too, but we never got to that.

The casting and Performances

The biggest strength point of this entire drama is the casting, because not only do we have amazing Hallyu actors cast in the main roles, but we also have immensely talented supporting actors cast in supporting roles too. This drama is filled to the brim with amazingly talented actors even on a micro-scale that make up for the luxurious-looking cast.

Ji won and Kim Soo Hyun Make for a very beautiful couple, and they share amazing chemistry. Every single time I see them in projects, I feel like they have good chemistry with their Costars, but then they release another project and remind me of just how amazing they are as actors and how well they can maintain great chemistry with their fellow actors too. It’s a testament of just how great they are as actors.

The supporting cast also does a great job as well. If I had to pick my favorite performances, I’d choose Kwak Dong Yeon and Kim Jung-Nan, who played the aunt’s role. But I liked everybody’s performance. All were pros at what they did. There is honestly no weak link in the entire drama, and you could tell that the actors were having lots of fun on set, but not only that, you could tell that the actors appreciated the environment they were in.

I just felt that they were happy to be in such a massive project, surrounded by massive Hallyu actors. It will help them boost their visibility among general audiences. Even when I felt that their characters were just way too average, I could just feel the passion in their eyes and was happy to see them so dedicated to their roles, everyone gave their all.

conclusion

Queen of Tears was generally an average drama in terms of script and character building, but I felt that it was elevated by the casting and by the actors’ chemistry.

Overall, while I do think that the drama has flaws in its script and that it drags in various points throughout its run, I still had lots of fun watching the drama. Basically, when it hit, it hit.

I felt sympathetic towards the main characters and especially loved Ji Won’s and Soo Hyun’s chemistry.

Overall, it was a very fun project that I think will be remembered down the line for just how epic the casting was and how meme-able some moments in it were.

Have you guys seen the drama? How much would you rate it out of 10? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments section below.

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By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas on this site in form of reviews an/or recaps, join me in the discussion~

1 comment

  1. I agree that the story was not extraordinary in the least. It felt like a « commercial» drama – project. Basically they put in all crowd-pleasing elements (best actors, tear-jerking moments, sickness, miracle recovery, desperate love, excellent villain, rich people losing money and miraculously getting them back again, revenge, etc), thinking that would be the key to success. I think they must have spent loads of money to make it, imagine paying all those good actors playing support roles. This drama got a lot of hype and beat all possible rankings, I don’t know why. Soo Hyun nominated for Baeksang Award. To me, he is like a masculine version of Park Min Young – always playing handsome good guys, never challenges himself. I really don’t get it.

    It was good drama, but what was so special about it? And the ending… it was like the last scenes of Six Feet Under and did not fit into the vibe at all.

    Sorry for unpopular opinion, I am sure many people love it and that is great. I had a lot of « seen it, done it » moments.

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