I’ve taken a long time writing this review. I’ve read so many good ones that I didn’t know what I could write that wouldn’t sound repetitious. Also, I feel this drama is so delicate and beautiful, that It will be hard for me to do it justice. So I decided to start writing a few thoughts and let my feelings guide me. I feel I appreciated this drama more, on my second watch, and I still think there are things my limited understanding can’t grasp, but my soul can perceive. It is a drama that seems so simple and it is yet so deep.
Synopsis: The story of a single mother raising a child with AIDS, in a small island. She has managed to keep her daughter’s disease, a secret, to protect her from prejudice and give her a life, as normal as possible. Pretty soon a Doctor comes to the island. He has the mission to ask forgiveness to the child, in the name of his girlfriend. His diseased girlfriend, also a doctor, accidentally gave the child, infected blood while trying to save her life.
No matter how we put it, that premise sounds tragic, doesn’t it? I feel however, that Thank You is not just about the tragedy of terminal illness, or about individuals facing mortality. While it deals with such heavy themes, it is more focused on “life”. That miracle of life that sometimes we don’t appreciate until it’s threatened. It is also about prejudice, the question of self worth, and about how we chose to view the world. Is it a beautiful place that we should embrace? Or is it a scary place that we should protect ourselves from and where we have to constantly fight for what we want? Does being nice equal being dumb? Does being selfish equal being strong? How much of our happiness is up to us? What exactly do we need to be happy?
The drama asks these and many more questions, and instead of giving us a definite answer, it gives us different views and options through the eyes of its characters. Who do we identify with and who do we want to identify with? After all, they all have valid points.
On the one hand, we have a cynical view, represented in different ways by Grandma, Suk Hyun and initially Dr Min. They all underestimate Young Shin, because she is always smiling at the world that mistreats her. Why is she so stubborn, why doesn’t she defend herself? Why is she such a pabo?
As the story progresses, the three of them learn to appreciate Young Shin’s inner strength. We, the audience, also learn.
I have to admit, as obnoxious as Dr Min could be at times, I was with him many of the times he shook Young Shin into reacting. After all, being a good person does not mean you need to take abuse, correct? I appreciated a kdrama male lead, who wasn’t doing the “mistreating” himself but was rather getting upset at the female lead for allowing others to mistreat her. I have been in Dr Min’s position many times in my life (being that I’m far from passive myself)
However, the difference between Young Shin and other typical submissive female leads (some played by Gong Hyo Jin as well) is that her “problem” is not just about guilt and self esteem issues. There is some of that! She is a single mother with an ill child who she seems to punish herself and does not allow others to “help” her, as if she didn’t deserve such help or expect it. She seems to want to carry her burdens herself and not bother anyone.
But there is more to it. Besides, guilt, low self esteem and heightened sense of responsibility, there seems to be a conscious decision to build a “beautiful” world for her child, despite the fact that she knows said world, can be pretty harsh. Hey, she is a mother, so I guess it is as simple as that. Don’t all parents have this dilemma? We want our children to be happy, but aware of the world, strong enough to confront it, but not afraid to live in it.
So I liked that Dr Min shook her off the “guilt” and reassured her of her value, she did not have to take abuse from anyone, but I also loved that he saw her strength as a mother and woman. She carried the world on her shoulders and he wanted to help, but he never intended to “change” her.
I guess you already can tell that I highly recommend this drama. The story, the beautiful messages I’m probably not fully understanding but somehow perceiving since there is nothing “hammered over the head” with this drama, the characters, the acting. It is easy to believe these people exist. It is worth watching in every sense.
While rewatching I wrote a few posts that highlight some scenes and points I loved in the drama. The posts include a lot of captures and gifs as well 🙂 I provide links below for easy access:
- Min Kiseo and his girlfriend, rethinking my first impressions
https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/thank-you-min-kiseo-and-his-girlfriend-rethinking-my-first-impressions/I also remember my perception that Min Kiseo was a jerk, so I judged him harshly, thinking that his pain didn’t justify his lashing out (I still get upset when he kicks the dog’s house though!) Yes! I was cold and judgemental! But I guess I’ve seen my share of “jerk male leads” in kdramas since then, so Min Kiseo is truly an “angel” in comparison. Not only that, he is self-aware. He knows he is in hell, he knows he is miserable, the self loathing is evident and he just feels he has no way out. You can feel his desperation entangled with his arrogance. I appreciated how every time anyone asked him if he was ok, Dr Min’s answer would be “No, I am not ok”. Most machos would not admit to this. Continue reading
- Waxing poetic about Young Shin with the help of Jang Hyuk https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/thank-you-waxing-poetic-about-young-shin-with-the-help-of-jang-hyuk/I agree that Young Shin is tough. She is vulnerable but no damsel in distress. This is a woman who knows that life is hard. Her cheerfulness is a choice! not a product of delusion. She chooses to present this face to the world, as a way to confront its hardships, rather than be bitter, she chooses to remain as positive as possible. This requires strength and a great spirit. Continue reading
- Min Kiseo Vs Suk Hyun
https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/thank-you-min-kiseo-vs-suk-hyun-spoilers/He was a coward in regards to Young Shin (betting with his friends, that he would sleep with her, when deep down he had always being in love with her) a total coward when it comes to Bom. His selfishness, passiveness and indecision hurt them, and if there was one lesson to learn from this story is that, there aren’t always second chances. Very realistic! Continue reading
- Thank you for adorable Lee Bom
What I love about Bom is that she is smart and cute and lovely, but by no means, perfect. She is just like any little kid, who talks back and doesn’t like to go to school and gives her mother grief from time to time. Continue reading
- Thank You: Favorite scenes with Mr Lee
Mr Lee, played by Shin Goo, is one of the most beloved characters in Thank You. Quite an accomplishment in a drama that is full of adorable people. Continue reading
- Young Shin and Min Kiseo favorite moments part I
https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/thank-you-young-shin-and-min-kiseo-favorite-moments-part-i/Young Shin and Min Kiseo favorite moments part II
https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/thank-you-young-shin-and-min-kiseo-favorite-moments-part-ii-contains-spoilers/Young Shin and Min Kiseo favorite moments part III
https://stuckonhyuk.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/thank-you-young-shin-and-min-kiseo-favorite-moments-part-iii-contains-spoilers/Young Shin and Min Kiseo favorite moments part IV
- Thank you for the shower scenes
- Min Kiseo’s captures and gifs
In conclusion, WATCH IT! 🙂