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Sweet 18 (Little Bride)


Title: 낭랑18세 / Nang Rang 18 Seh
Also known as: Sweet 18 / Little Bride / 18 Year Old Bride
Episodes: 16
Broadcast network: KBS2
Broadcast period: 2004-Jan-19 to 2004-Mar-09
Air time: Monday & Tuesday 21:55

Synopsis :
Kwon Hyuk-Joon’s grandfather, the head of the traditional Kwon family agrees to an arranged marriage between his grandson (Lee Dong Gun) and Yoon Jung-Sook (Han Ji Hye) when Yoon Jung-Sook is born. 18 years later, the two families lose contact because soon after the contract is signed, Jung-Sook’s family encounters financial issues and is forced to run away.

Meanwhile, Jung-Sook has grown up to be a rebellious and strong-willed girl who just wants to live her life as she sees fit. With little aspirations, she is the direct foil of her achievement-bound counterpart, Hyuk-Joon. When the two meet each other, they clash horribly; Jung-Sook thinks her fiancee is nothing but boring, and Hyuk-Joon believes Jung-Sook to be nothing but an immature child. Despite all this they do marry. The rest of the series follows their life living together as a couple, and the obstacles they are faced with.

Cast :
Han Ji Hye as Yoon Jung-Sook
Lee Dong Gun as Kwon Hyuk-Joon
Lee Da Hae as Moon Ga-Young
Lee Joon as Jee Chul-Reum
Yoo Hye Jung as Kwon Sun-Ah
Park Joon Hyuk as Jung Chan
Lee Soon Jae as Hyuk-Joon’s grandfather
Kim Hae Sook as Jung-Sook’s mother
Jung Kyung Ho as Jung-Sook’s blind date
On Jo as Jung-Sook’s friend
Bi Ryu as Jung-Sook’s friend
Jang Joon Young
Kim Ki Hyun
Woo Kyung Ah
Min Ji
Lee Gun

Production Credits
Director: Kim Myung Wook, Kim Jung Gyu
Screenwriter: Kim Eun Hee, Yoon Eun Kyung

Review by Iceberri
What I really loved about this drama that set it apart from traditional comedies is the overlapping themes that demonstrate the strength of culture, family, and love. Each scene served a purpose and for this reason, the drama never appears draggy. The director successfully leads the audience through the passageway into maturity with convincing acting and a well-written script. Some of the scenes were of course, a bit overdone and cheesy, but overall, it only adds to the charm of the drama.

The center of the drama truly revolved around the convincing acting of the cast. Even though there weren’t any veteran actors, Han Ji Hye and Lee Dong Gun brought a freshness to the screen that older, more experienced actors cannot imitate. Han Ji Hye is able to gradually transform from a sassy, mischievous girl to a woman who fights for her values and beliefs successfully. Her inexperience does show in specific scenes where she’s supposed to cry, but these scenes were thankfully, minimal. Lee Dong Gun, who played Kwon Hyuk-joon, doesn’t speak much in the drama, but his silent scenes always convey a subtle sense of raw feeling and emotion. He is the perfect complement to the outrageous and silly Jung-sook. What distinguishes Sweet 18’s cast from others though is the equally well-done acting done by the supporting actors. Each one brings a different personality to the screen, and by the end of the drama, you’ll have empathized with nearly every actor, leading or supporting.

As with most korean dramas, the latter part of the drama tends to slow down and come to a tapered halt. Although Sweet 18 retained its fast momentum and pace throughout most of the drama, the last 2 or 3 episodes are noticeably slower than the other episodes. Of course it is necessary for the wrap-up of the drama, but it lacks the same luster and shine.

Another possible drawback (though I found it endearing) is the sense and style of humor. Han Ji Hye really goes all-out in her role, from exaggerated facial expressions to a funky hairstyle that would be embarrassing to most actresses. She’s spunky and most definitely not submissive. If you’re not a fan of Jang Nara’s acting style, perhaps Han Ji Hye’s acting would not impress you too much either. Still, I urge you to give this drama a chance regardless of what you like, because of the underlying themes and lessons learned. Unlike some dramas that infer a lesson to be learned, Sweet 18 is neither preachy nor conspicuous. But they are there.

The soundtrack isn’t particularly impressive when you listen to it separately; the songs are not beautiful, amazing, or insightful like other drama’s OSTs. However, the music does fit the mood as most of the songs are a little wacky, and very light-hearted.

Overall, Sweet 18 will revive the hope of love in your heart, and the passion of living life to its fullest in your soul. It is a must-watch for people of all ages.

Rating: Must-Watch (4.5/5)

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