Review: I Remember You (Hello Monster)

I_Remember_You

Another wonderful drama has just ended! I Remember You was such a compelling, well-written drama. The story is unique, and not your average stereotypical Korean drama. The writer knew exactly what she was doing with its intricate plot and complex dynamic characters. This drama is really thought provoking, and makes you ponder over many different things such as morals, ethics, nature vs. nurture, family, love, etc. One of the major themes throughout the show was about monsters, and whether they are born or created. Ultimately we learn in the end that you choose who you want to be.

It’s too bad the ratings did not reflect the quality of this awesome drama. It’s been an ongoing trend recently with some real quality dramas receiving dismal ratings. As conveyed before, I never look at ratings as an indicator of how good a drama is. If a drama can make you feel sad and even empathize with psychopathic serial killers, I’d say that’s quite a feat. I’m so glad I got to watch a drama of such high caliber with phenomenal acting performances elevating it to another level. I think at some point, I began to question if I was a psycho or not myself.

The story line overall was tight and consistent throughout the whole entire run. I felt very immersed and engaged with the drama right from the start and I became very attached to all of our complex characters who had so much depth. The ending was rather open-ended which I believe was on purpose. In fact, I wasn’t sure what kind of ending I wanted and what would become of our characters. Despite the openness and some unanswered questions, it still felt satisfyingly uplifting in the end, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I feel like there was enough story material for the drama to go on for a total of 20 episodes. However, I think the writers wanted to leave it to our imaginations to see the continuity of our characters for ourselves because simply, life moves on.

Now, I want to touch base briefly on the actors and characters portrayed. First up is Seo In Guk as Lee Hyun. This is my first time ever seeing Seo In Guk play such a mature, complex adult role and he was just fantastic. I also must point out that of all the characters he’s acted, this one is definitely the sexiest and most charismatic role he has done to date. Lee Hyun isn’t exactly a psychopath but more of a sociopath. Everything he does is very logical and lacking in the EQ department. Seo In Guk was outstanding in his portrayal of Hyun who comes across as a cold sharp-tongued profiler but hidden deep inside is the emotional baggage carried on from his childhood. It was Hyun and Min’s story that made me feel so invested in the drama because it was so highly complex and tragic due to all the betrayal and guilt they endured. They’re both so emotionally damaged, it was heartbreaking to see how difficult it was for them to move on from their past when neither of them was to be blamed.

Park Bo Gum was absolutely brilliant as Min/Lawyer Jeong as well. I lost count of how many times his character broke my heart and made me cry. He played the part of an evil serial murderer so amazingly well—those creepy smiles of his sent chills down my back every time. Even though he was a murderer, we couldn’t hate him because you realized he was just a lost innocent child who craved attention and love from his older brother. Park Bo Gum’s acting was seamless going back and forth between those two polar opposite sides of himself. During the moments where his hyung was taking care of him, he always let out such a genuine smile that made him just so precious. He definitely deserves an acting award for this role and he’s another rising star to keep a look out for.

At first, I wasn’t sure who was creepier: Choi Won Young’s Lee Joon Yeong or Park Bo Gum’s Min. I’d say our mysterious autopsy doctor, Lee Joon Yeong, probably was. He was another highly complex character and probably the biggest monster out of them all. It was through Lee Joon Yeong that we were able to see inside the mind of a psychopath. Boy, was it an intriguing ride! Because he is a psychopath, he believed all of his own actions thus far made sense and were beneficial to those he had actually harmed. In the end we know his actions were immorally wrong and illegal. Choi Won Young killed it (pun intended) in this role and honestly I really just want to applaud everyone in this drama. The acting and chemistry was just top notch.

Last but certainly not least is Cha Ji An, our only female character played by the forever youthful looking Jang Nara. Ji An has become one of my favorite leading female characters so far because she defies all the stereotypical traits found in Korean dramas. She’s no damsel in distress and can put up a good fight with men twice her size. Ji An definitely holds her own despite being the only woman in her team. She’s strong, independent (albeit a little reckless at times) and very compassionate. She’s a go-getter and isn’t afraid, whether it comes to solving crimes or just showing her affection to Hyun. (Remember the kiss that that caught Hyun off guard leaving him with the deer in headlights kind of moment that usually female leads have?). She’s just so kick-ass awesome. I’ve always liked Jang Nara as an actress and I think this was something different for her and she nailed it with a stellar performance.

Although romance in the drama wasn’t the main focus of the show, I think it was rightfully so because of the complex web of relationships between our four leads. However, I loved how low key our couple was in the drama. Sometimes you don’t need all that crazy fire and passion for romance but just two people who slowly grow to like each other and realize their importance to each other. What I loved about Hyun and Ji An was their simplicity. It was very touching. They shared very few words with each other but their common empathy for each other’s emotional pain helped them slowly rely on each other and develop their growing bond. I think the moment they learned to open up and comfort each other was a monumental step for the both of them. They were always there for each other when they needed it the most and that’s what really counted.

Even their skinship was simple. Either Hyun was always patting Ji An’s head or Ji An was always holding Hyun’s hands whenever he had nightmares. They were already acting like an old married couple before they became official. I think that’s why even the small simple moments always felt so special. No need for grand gestures. Rather than kissing, I always found hugs and hand holding so much more intimate and romantic. Although most people would prefer to see their OTPs always making out, I’m content with simply warm embraces and hand holding. Hyun’s forehead kiss was super sweet too. To me, forehead kisses mean: “You’re precious to me”.

I also loved how they called each other dangshin (당신) which is the word for you in Korean. From what I know, dangshin (당신) is rarely used because Koreans hardly use the word you in sentences. It’s often used between married couples to express something like dear or darling. So when I first started hearing Hyun and Ji An addressing each other as dangshin (당신), I was very surprised and perceived it as a very intimate way of addressing each other.

Oh and Hyun’s confession using 15 plus alpha! Only Hyun would use math to express his feelings towards Ji An. It’s so nerdy but fitting. 15 plus alpha is his way of saying that there isn’t a number that can be calculated to show what she means to him. Can we all just have a moment to have a collective sigh? *Siiiggghhh* Who knew math could be so romantic? It is a very unique confession indeed.

This was truly a gem of a show, and I’m immensely sad that it’s over. I just want to say: thank you to all of the production staff and actors for all your hard work in bringing us this incredible drama. It was such an epic journey and fascinating ride, and I will definitely remember you.




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6 thoughts on “Review: I Remember You (Hello Monster)

  1. Wow, your review was one of the most sincere and comprehensive one that i have read. Since i can’t understand korean and just relying on english subtitle, may i know what episodes did they start using “dangshin”? Whoa, this is the only review that i came to know this one. And yes the actors who played the role was great, i’m really wondering why this drama didn’t get the ratings it deserves. Thanks for your review! ☺😊😀

    • Oh wow thank you so much for your kind words! And thanks for reading my review too. Regarding your question about dangshin, I actually had to go back the drama again to look haha. They started saying dangshin as early as episode 3 as they became closer and the use of dangshin became more prominent after Hyun started hiding out at Ji An’s home. As for the ratings, I read that I Remember You was really popular on Korean SNS but ratings sadly only count if watched on TV.

  2. I will definitely rewatch i remember you to catch the dangshin moments! Hahaha! I see, so that’s how they count ratings. Anyway, thanks again! ☺😊

  3. Hello, this is a staff member of Remember You DVD/ Bluray team. I’ve read your review and want to put on a reveiw book that we are preparing for the Director/ the Dramatist/ and the actors. We’re planning to hand the book on 19th Wed. which is the day for commentary shooting.
    If you may, I’m gonna translate your reveiw in Korean and hand to the Review book Team.
    As we have a real short notice, I want to hear your respons in today 15th Sat.
    Please send your answer via e-mail
    rememberudvdenglish@gmail.com
    Waiting for your answer 😉

  4. I agreed with most of it specially the whole prospective of Min and the brothers past and present conflicts. BoGum as Min made me cry like a child and feel for the strong bond that is family… ParkBG could show with a single expression on his face all demons conflicting Min and how things were just against the Lee brothers, I just wished writers didn’t have to fall out of the brothers struggle away from the reality made by LeeJooYoung(the monster)- plotline. To me that was gold and the scent of this fantastic drama. Best Characters had to be Psycopath LJY and Min then Hyeon. Support actors took whole control of the wheel in the drama for me. It was about them after all. That’s what I liked of this drama. How refreshing and deep was. It was quite dark if you really analyze it. I cared much more for Min & Hyeon to be defiant against all coming their way till the end so much that ..

    I was disappointed with the ending because they filled in last 15 min with stuff that no one would care at that point falling sadly into the common drama ending jazz I wished they didn’t. Instead of going more original and out of the box as they did throughout the drama. I wanted a more clear ending where ‘Blood is thicker than water’ would have prevailed. Spice it up. Surprise the viewer as they had in 15Eps, ChaJa the m’am cop was a side of the story I wish writers would have kept low because it wasn’t really important she didn’t add anything to the backbone of the plot, She was just the part they probably needed to make it cliche for the views & cast requirements so it wouldn’t be a all-male cast drama. Which personally I loved. This director and writer should stick more to these dramas to delight viewers like us who choose deep brothership over any overrated romance nonsense.
    They could have pulled off a more satisfactory ending.
    Ps: Bromance was all to this drama too #BoGuk as Lee Hyeon/Lee Min beat every scene there is. These 2 deserve best couple award 2015/recognization for all I care. The OST is absolutely amazing and couldn’t fit more to the drama title and storyline. Definitely the Lee “brothers song” ♡♥

  5. Oooh, this has got to be my favourite one of yours because it was so eloquently written! And I was just like AGREE AGREE AGREE the whole time.

    Everything about this drama… I just loved it. I’m even watching it a second time these days, which is rare haha. There’s probably only 1 in 50 dramas I’ll ever do that for.

    I’m so in alignment with you when you say that many on-screen OTPS are developed by those ‘grand gestures’, because I think you’re right… actual relationships slowly develop through experiences instead. I appreciated that the drama depicted their relationship’s development through those experiences on top of language, with some thoughtful discussions and even disagreements along the way. At the same time, it didn’t overly invade or take away from the plot. You just kinda grew with them case by case, event by event.. plus it was nice to have two very different mains interacting as they strayed from the stereotypical male and female. For once, a female lead that didn’t stand there powerlessly panicking in a crisis waiting to be freakin’ saved!

    And totally did the same with you on empathizing with psychopaths. Lol. I also start self-measuring if I had any psychopathy in me as well at some point because of the whole debate on inborn evil or nurtured evil. AND like you I kept feeling sorry for LJY and Min. “They’re simply on a different axis of reasoning. Leave them alone!!!” I wouldn’t agree with their acts, but at least I could understand. For example I couldn’t help question if LJY was nurtured this way or if his psychopathy was truly inevitable in all its destruction. Flip flop flip. Same with Min’s. Speaking of Min, I also fell for his character. He’s just so creepy, crazy, and yet so loveable with all his history (and sometimes, puzzling reasoning). Drama pulled those aspects off brilliantly. Not to mention the literal BROMANCE!

    As for the ending I kept coming across that as a hot topic of discussion with a lot of commentators online, which I am seeing here too a bit (with much respect though!)… Many people thought it was weak/unresolved, and although I mostly disagree, I can see why they felt that way. I personally loved the way they executed it. It wasn’t the typical, resolve-it-all-with-a-bang-type of happy-ending, but it left it appropriately resolved with reliance on the viewers inferring the future events without reframing the obvious. Maybe in trying to get the viewers to infer those events, the drama missed a note or two in execution?

    Anyway I just think that we’re all probably used to the End It, Frame It Up kind of ending but in I Remember You, a lot of it had to be interpreted. They portrayed LJY’s act of giving Min a choice to take on a new life (in the envelope w/ the new identity) and ‘validate’ slash get away from his crimes (as he always did). For a man with twisted reasoning though, Min finally reasoned (humanely!) to face his consequences for the sake of his brother and left the envelope behind, which was INSANELY significant as a scene, which maybe they could have emphasized differently. I think many viewers missed how significant that one particular scene was to the ‘resolution’ feel, if that makes sense..

    It was pretty much the first time Min ever acted against his nature, whether it was inborn or not. In doing so it implied that LJY would without a doubt be captured sooner or later, because in Min’s choice, it obviously entailed testifying that LJY is LJY.. consequentially leading to his capture. Letting LJY get away kind of preserved his leftover ‘dignity’ in that sense I suppose. I guess that kind of deprived most people of the justice they wanted though. Anyway Min was basically the one key they finally obtained as evidence, and a representation that one has a choice to choose and become what he/she wants, despite his or her nature. I think many people were disappointed the show didn’t capture LJY for good by the end of the final, and because of that it didn’t seem resolved. But I feel like I know what the team was trying to do.

    Anyway! I really love this drama and totally rambled off. It was fun though reading your thoughts and being able to share my own~ as of now I’m off to watch Seo In Guk in Reply 1997, because I fell so damn hard for his charisma. Pahahaha.

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