Star in My Heart is a Cinderella story of a young woman (Choi Jin Sil) who is an orphan that is taken in by a kind man and his family. But her stepmother, sister, and brother treat her terribly. She eventually gets mixed up with a singer (Ahn Jae Wook) and his friend (Cha In Pyo). A romance develops between her and the singer, and a strong friendship blossoms between the three as they help support each other through their problems.
I took a trip back in time to Dramaland’s past with Star in My Heart. It came out 20 years ago in 1997, and it’s the first pre-2000 drama that I have watched. I was very interested to see what I would be in for.
Choi Jin Sil plays our leading lady Lee Yun Hee. She’s had a difficult life, and it just continues to be a struggle after she is taken in by a new family. She’s a timid and self-sacrificing woman, but when push comes to shove, she will stand up for herself and her loved ones.
We have Ahn Jae Wook as Kang Min Hee. He’s a rising pop star who has to deal with a disapproving father that causes him plenty of trouble. Min Hee is a very likable character that you want to see find happiness. I can see why he sent many hearts swooning back in the 90’s.
Then there’s Cha In Pyo as Lee Joon Hee. He runs the fashion company where Yun Hee works and is close friends with Min Hee. He struggles to get over a past relationship with a woman who left him, and that woman happens to look just like Yun Hee.
And of course, there’s our troublesome stepmother figure Mrs. Song. She’s the epitome of the character type. Mrs. Song’s dislike of Yun Hee causes her a lot of heartache and trouble. I definitely got a kick out of her though as Park Won Sook just nails this character. Isn’t that face just priceless?
Our main romance between Min Hee and Yun Hee was sweet, but I found it lacking. They don’t actually spend a lot of time together throughout the drama. This made many of the relationship developments feel a bit forced. But they do have good chemistry as a whole. I just wish they would have had more time to develop.
Star in My Heart also feels incredibly dated. Of course, the film quality is what you would expect of the time. The drama as a whole felt very dark with a lot of scenes that were difficult to see. There’s also ample use of unique camera angles and bold color filters that will surely get your attention.
It kind of felt like there really wasn’t a whole lot going on in the drama, and it really lacked a strong narrative to carry the story. It kind of wanders from scene to scene in a rocky fashion. There isn’t a ton of dialogue and what there is tends to be pretty simple. There’s actually a whole lot of quiet throughout with no background music at all in many scenes. So much so that it was quite noticeable.
The OST was fantastic, but there weren’t that many songs on it. But they are truly great songs that just have that 90’s feel. I wish they would have been used more throughout the drama itself.
The story is very classic and simple. Of course, at the time, this was a very trendy drama and it was a forerunner for many of the tropes we see in dramas today. The characters are solid and they each have their own story filled with hurts and pains.
We do go on the journey with them as they deal with life’s difficulties. The main trio are very supportive of each other through everything. But I didn’t feel like there was much character development. They all felt pretty much the same from start to finish. That wasn’t necessarily bad, it just kind of compounded some of the other issues.
Sadly, my biggest issue was that the drama just felt quite boring. I’ve enjoyed older dramas and am accustomed to the slower pacing and other issues, but they all just felt very amplified in this drama. Despite having such a nice classic story and decent characters, it just crawled along.
In the end, I’m glad I checked out this classic drama and that I now have a pre-2000 drama under my belt. While it was disappointing in its entertainment value, I enjoyed looking at it through a sort of historic lens.
I love seeing the early stages of the Hallyu wave and learning about the dramas that were there in the beginning. I can easily see why it was a hit at the time, and I’m glad dramas like these paved the wave for what we are enjoying today.
My Rating: 5/10
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