K-Drama Review: “The Beauty Inside” Breezes To Light & Comfy Yet Forgettable Story
With a consistently strong performance throughout its run, jTBC drama The Beauty Inside ended its week on a high note.
Past the midpoint of The Beauty Inside, the trite narrative and imbalance sketching of the lead characters’ growth in the story has left the series on a slightly disappointing mood.
Title: The Beauty Inside
Theme: Fantasy, romance
Length: 16 episodes
Broadcast Date: 11 October 2018 – 20 November 2018
Main Leads: Lee Min Ki, Seo Hyun-Jin, Lee Da Hee, Ahn Jae Hyun
Highlights: light and warm romance between four leads, beautiful friendships between characters
Drawback: Story ran out of steam halfway through the drama
Related Dramas: Secret Garden, Big
Quick Plot Roundup
Notorious for her sudden absences, top actress Han Se Gye has a secret that only her two closest friends know. Once a month, her face changes, and she has to live with different faces for one whole week. She and her friends have learned on how to deal with this mysterious illness when Seo Do Jae comes into her life, with a secret of his own.
Se Gye and Do Jae start off on a wrong foot at first, trying to second guess what the other must be hiding. But once their secrets are out, they slowly learn to open up and support each other because of their weaknesses – Se Gye’s cryptic body transformation and Do Jae’s face recognition problem.
Acceptance is the main theme in this drama. For the lead girl who has always thought that changing faces was a curse, she realizes there is an underlying reason for each face she is given. And for the hero, who wholeheartedly accepted Se Gye despite her constant changing appearances, he proves that no matter what she looks like, nothing can change how he loves the beauty inside her.
First Love Feels
The lead stars, Lee Min Ki and Seo Hyun-Jin undoubtedly had impressive chemistry. Visually, they were both a delight to watch as the pair came to terms with their individual past. Lee Min Ki and Seo Hyun Jin are both very capable actors, who are veterans in doing romantic comedies. Their candied scenes together had given warm and fuzzy feeling that one would get when you experience falling in love for the first time.
The friendship between Se Gye, Eun Ho and Woo Mi was more endearing because both Eun Ho and Woo Mi showed unconditional love and concern for Se Gye’s condition. Ahn Jae Hyun’s visually pleasing handsome looks were used to the fullest in the story as he attracted women everywhere he went. The scenes of these three close friends provided the comic relief in the drama.
Characters not given much depth
Given the stellar record of both Lee Min Ki and Seo Hyun-Jin in their previous dramas, it was disappointing that their roles were not given much depth. There were so much opportunities to deepen the storyline of both Do Jae and Se-Gye’s illnesses, and it would have been interesting if we had seen more of their internal struggles about their illnesses.
The background of Do Jae’s history and how it was resolved was even done better than Se Gye’s, which was ironic considering the drama should have supposedly centered around Se-Gye’s illness.
Lackluster Romance Between the Second Leads
Ahn Jae hyeon and Lee Dae Hee had the second loveline in the story, but this too, seemed too chaste and dry for our taste. Coy kisses on the cheek seemed to be enough for them both, so it failed to give the viewers a chance to appreciate their connection. Lee Dae Hee was effective as a conniving stepsister out to dethrone her older brother, however she failed to effectively portray a woman falling head over heels in love with a certified charmer.
Storyline Losing Steam Halfway Through
The drama seemed to lose steam halfway through. Once their secret was out as Do Jae finally revealed his illness to the company, the drama seemed to lose its momentum, floundering about pointlessly as it merely concluded some of the side stories. Chae Yoo-Ri, the heroine’s fierce rival, was written off clumsily as someone who simply went crazy after her final confrontation with Se Gye.
In fact, the last episode seemed to be purely fan service as they tried to neatly wrap up the drama before finally ending it with what seemed like a summarized version of the entire drama through flashbacks of highlights.
More cameos would also have made this drama more fun. The most memorable cameos came Kim Sung Ryung and Kim Min Suk, which incidentally was also one of the highlights of the drama as he and Lee Min Ki reunited briefly for a hilarious shaving scene.
Overall, the drama is light and warm, easy to watch whenever you are free. It would also be interesting to watch this drama first and then the movie version. But as we observed earlier, the drama has failed to create an impact on the viewers as something you would want to rewatch again in the future.
The Beauty Inside aired its finale episode on 20 November 2018, and will be followed by Clean with Passion For Now.
About the writer
Nicole is currently juggling motherhood, her job, and her immense love for K-dramas and K-pop. On most days, the latter wins. Sleeping can wait – this is her motto as she eagerly devours episodes of her favorite K-dramas. Her absolute favorite drama would be Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.
- Currently watching and covering: Encounter, Clean With Passion for Now, Mama Fairy and the Woodcutter, God’s Quiz 5, Top Star Yoo Baek and Love Alert.