K-Drama Review: “Record of Youth” Imparts Life-Affirming Messages For The Youth Chasing Their Dreams
Although the series has quietly ended a few weeks ago, its straightforward lessons about life and dreams still resound our hearts. While we get to witness the uphill battles of our characters, it also leaves viewers being inspired and hopeful.
Record of Youth depicts the trials and triumphs of people in the entertainment industry. Every person behind the camera have gone through humble beginnings into a thriving future — that every success doesn’t happen overnight. It further gives a closer look on the show business behind closed doors.
TITLE: Record of Youth
THEME: Romance, Drama, Youth,
LENGTH: 16 EPISODES
BROADCAST DATE: 7 September 2020 – 27 October 2020
MAIN LEADS: Park Bo Gum, Park So Dam, Byeon Woo Seok
HIGHLIGHTS: Relatable Characters | Genuine & Introspective Life Lessons |
Quick Plot Roundup
Record of Youth follows the journey of Sa Hye Jun (Park Bo Gum). He has earned fair amount of success as a model, but struggles finding a name in the industry as an actor. While his modeling career slowly dies down, he was forced to work on multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet.
However, he soon realizes that he’s not getting any younger and have been delaying his military service. To jump-start his dreams to fully become an actor, he thought the need of setting things right first. With that in mind, he quit his modelling agent who isn’t paying him his salary.
Freeing himself from the toxic environment, Hye Jun braves the industry while holding onto his aspirations alone. But, like in life, there is no easy path to great success. The competition is fierce, and so do the forces blocking his road to victory. With neither any connections nor power, oppositions from his family, and humble background to start with, everything is still uncertain.
Traversing the youthful years upon entering adulthood is one of the most difficult and critical moment in life. As the real world awaits of being a grown-up, we are bound for changes and setbacks that will challenge our beliefs.
Record of Youth conveys life lessons that the trials we’re going through, are only meant to help us grow. It gives emphasis to Hye Jun and the rest of the characters’ experiences and struggles, be it – family, dreams, and love.
The thing that I appreciate most about the drama is the realism of the characters. Despite being flawed, one cannot help but deeply resonate with their self issues. They prove that they are the true embodiment of how passionate and determined youth is.
Sa Hye Jun (Park Bo Gum)
Hye Jun is the kind of character that young people probably relates to the most. As the focal character, he was introduced as someone with lots of shortcomings, but continues holding onto his dreams no matter how tough the situation is.
The people discrediting his efforts and wishing him to fail, were all stunned by how far he had reached. Hye Jun perfectly showcased the true face of youth — feeling lost, stuck and confused. But then again, he pushes through his dreams and does not give up on life.
Ahn Jeong Ha (Park So Dam)
For Ahn Jeong Ha, stability in life is her utmost goal. Who would have not wished for a settled living? Because we all do. Life is so unpredictable at times, that’s why we need to establish a secure one. Along the way, we get to know her as someone who disliked unpredictable things, because of how she was emotionally scarred in childhood due to her parents’ sudden separation.
Growing independently, Jeong Ha possesses a firm exterior, but is in fact tender inside. While others perceive an independent person mighty, she proves through her character, that people like her, are also vulnerable to pain. When she encountered workplace maltreatment, she questioned herself if that’s her destined path. During those days, she was confused and has no one to turn to. Not until she chooses to embrace change.
Genuine & Introspective Life Lessons
Made to show the common faces of youth, the series heartens with its honesty, all while giving a refreshing impression. It depicts how the young characters realize their dreams as they march onto their chosen course.
Despite being born into different family backgrounds, they naturally walk the similar path together as they became adults. And while having their own shortcomings, it has led them understand and learn from each other.
Their journey was depicted in an outspoken and introspective manner. It engages audiences (including me) into a self-reflective phase — to acknowledge and give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done, and for making it this far.
More than making us reminisce the old times, Record of Youth gifted reassuring lessons, not for us to regret our past choices, but to learn from the mistakes we have made and prepare for a bright future.
With all the battles they have fought, their crowning glory — success — is the true manifestation of the phrase, “Determination, patience, and perseverance are the keys to success.”.
Series Afterthoughts & Recommendation
Staying true to its title, Record of Youth serves as a documentation of the hardships that millennials deal with — societal pressures, career dilemmas, generational conflicts, labor exploitation and workplace mistreatment.
Throughout the story, Sa Hye Jun, Ahn Jeong Ha, Won Hae Hyo, and the rest find their higher purpose and identity. While battling with their own hardships and burdens, the opportunity to grow comes along the way.
Owing to its thought-provoking take on the real matters, the series have actually won my heart. While the romance between two main leads may look “too” realistic, it really did its best in illustrating the image of modern dating.
It sincerely demonstrates real life events. Rather than romanticizing the struggles of the youth generation, it willingly shows how tough and harsh the reality is. If you’re going through a difficult path pursuing your dreams, like the characters, then you will see the beauty of this drama.
There may be times we will question ourselves, “Are we doing the right thing?”, “Are we going on the right path”, or “Will we be able to make it?” And the success stories of Hye Jun and Jeong Ha tell us that we can, if we just keep going.
Another thing that I want to commend, is how the writer did not ruin the boys friendship just for their same love interest. The usual “over-dramatic” effect in a love triangle is gone, which is a welcome change.
With an array of characters the audience can empathize, the drama brings moments of realizations that really hits close to home.
Streaming Site: Netflix
Photos and videos from: tvN | The Swoon