Record of Youth is set in the entertainment industry and focuses on a model (Park Bo Gum) who wants to become an actor and a makeup artist (Park So Dam) trying to succeed in her career as they deal with life’s challenges and fall in love.
Park Bo Gum plays Sa Hye Joon. He is model who aspires to be an actor but has encountered challenges on the road to his dream. Despite coming from a poor family and some industry people trying to make things difficult for him, he works hard and does his best to be a kind person and maintain a good attitude.
Park So Dam is Ahn Jung Ha. She works as a makeup artist and would like to have her own store and makeup brand. She meets Hye Joon and quickly makes a strong connection with him.
Then we have Byun Woo Seok as Won Hae Hyo. He is also a model and actor and is best friends with Hye Joon. Despite being rivals in the industry, the two have always remained close.
Record of Youth was a pretty nice drama. It has lots of heart as we follow the journeys of our characters on their road to achieve their dreams and navigate a variety of relationships.
I found the drama to have a calming feel to it with more laid back pacing. It has an almost slice of life sort of vibe to it. This isn’t a show with lots of dramatic cliffhangers, but things move along nicely at their own pace. The story is very character focused as it deals with their careers, romance, and family issues. For the most part, there was enough going on to keep me engaged.
The romance in Record of Youth is very sweet. Hye Joon and Jung Ha are adorable together and share many heart fluttering moments. Their relationship is also very straightforward with amazing communication between them…at least for a while.
Both characters sort of lose their way when it comes to communicating as the drama progresses. They both love each other and try to always think of the other one, but that ultimately results in them pushing down their own needs. That eventually becomes too much for the pair as each one’s happiness faded away.
We get the standard break-up period between them so they can heal individually, but they eventually run back into each other in the end with remnants of their previous relationship emerging and hints that they may be able to find some of that old happiness again. It was an interesting relationship to see play out.
END OF SPOILERS
I really enjoyed watching Hye Joon and Jung Ha’s career journeys too. Hye Joon takes the main focus as the underdog model trying to overcome the odds to be a successful actor. As he progresses in his career, new obstacles always emerge. He’s a smart and kind person who faces them head on. He does go through quite a struggle though.
He also has family to contend with. Some of his family are supportive, like his grandfather and mother, while his father and brother really aren’t. I particularly liked the relationship between him and his grandfather (Han Jin Hee) which was so sweet. They always made me smile.
Jung Ha faces her own career challenges too. She has to deal with difficult people at work and money issues. She is also very smart with a positive attitude that she uses to get her through everything.
We have quite a few different other relationships that are explored in the drama. Aside from the plethora of family ones, the other main relationship involves Hye Joon and his close friend Hae Hyo.
They have to deal with competing against each other in the entertainment industry as well as Hae Hyo developing feelings for Jung Ha. The friendship between the guys is explored much more whereas the love triangle side of things didn’t really amount to much.
The first two-thirds of the drama are actually very angst light. It has a pleasant and fun vibe with a side of serious. It sets up all kinds of scenarios that we are used to seeing in dramas that create a lot of angst, but rather than going that route, the situations are typically resolved quickly with honesty, communication, and maybe a little bit of trolling from production. This did leave more of an empty feeling though since the things they were hinting at didn’t end up playing out.
Now, things do get more serious in the latter third. Career and relationship issues really start to cause problems, and many of our characters find themselves in turmoil. The drama feels heavier during this time.
Sadly, I also feel like the pacing slowed down during this period. The story really took its time as it moved along and didn’t feel like it was progressing much. This was a bit disappointing.
Still, I enjoyed Record of Youth overall. A lot of it was pleasant and fun with lots of heart. It was great to see the character journeys involving themselves, relationships, and careers. It kind of lost some steam in the end which made things slow going, but I was still interested to see how everything ultimately played out. For the most part, Record of Youth was a solid drama.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Check out more Korean Drama Reviews.
For me, this drama is the most disappointing drama of the year.
I didn’t enjoy watching it, and I was excited to see it because it was the return of Park So Dam on the small screen but, oh boy how great the disappointment was after I watched the first 4 episodes.
And I didn’t know why I couldn’t enjoy it, but then in episode 12 I decided to search who was the director and the screenwriter, and I found out why I didn’t enjoy this drama. The problem was the screenwriter, Ha Myung-Hee, who wrote Temperature of Love and Doctors, another two drama that I didn’t like and that’s the reason why I didn’t enjoy Record of Youth.
I don’t like her writing, and I can’t believe she can write annoying characters for some great actor, I mean one of my favorite actresses, Seo Hyun-Jin, was irritating in Temperature of Love. And I thought she couldn’t make it worse, but no, in Record of Youth she was able to write EVERY single character dreadful, maybe I could save Ahn Jung Ha and the grandfather, but no one else.
Ha Myung-Hee was able to make me hate to the bone Byun Woo Seok, every time he was on the screen my eyes rolled back because I couldn’t stand watching him.
If her next project is bad I will not see any of her future dramas, even if her drama will star Won Bin, Lee Jong Suk, Kim Ji Won, Jun Ji Hyun, and Kim Soo Hyun.
Ha Myung-Hee doesn’t know how to write a good drama, how can you resolve the problem between Sa Hye Joon and his father in the last 30 minutes of the series, or the fact that Sa Hye Joon and Ahn Jung Ha relationship was developed in that way.
No, for me this was really a great failure. And I’m really sad because it had a great potentiality to be a good and solid drama but oh boy, oh boy. Sad 😦 😦
2/10 (and 2 mean: Ahn Jung Ha and the grandfather)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Aww, I’m sorry to hear that this was such a disappointing drama for you 😦 I know how bad it feels when you’re really looking forward to a drama as well as getting to see the return of actor and ending up being really disappointed in the end.
I understand your experience with a particular writer too. I actually hadn’t seen any of this writer’s previous dramas, but after reading reviews of Doctors and Temperature of Love, I got a pretty good idea of her style. And Record of Youth definitely fit that. I didn’t mind the characters or find them annoying, but she doesn’t write very strong plots which results in the story wandering around with a lack of purpose. That usually kills a drama for me, but luckily, I did like most of the characters and their journeys so that saved it for me.
It does sound like this is a writer you might avoid in the future. She seems to have a particular style throughout her shows. If I watch several dramas from a writer and don’t like any of them, I usually move on to lessen my suffering 😂 Hopefully, you have found some great dramas since this one that you are enjoying more 🙂
This comment is 10/10. HAHAHA. Love it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Kay – I gave this one a 7 very similar rating to yours. I did enjoy the beginning more than the last third but overall it was an enjoyable drama. I didn’t like the leads’ chemistry though. I felt there was none. I didn’t like this for the romance but for all the other themes you mentioned. I didn’t like the ending either. Otherwise, a good drama overall and PBG was great in this role.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi D! Yes, we were pretty close on this one 🙂 I was the same in enjoying the first two thirds more than the last. I also enjoyed more of the other themes with the family, career journey, and personal growth more than the romance in this case. I did still like the romance though and did like Park Bo Gum and Park So Dam as a couple. I liked them more when they were being cute rather angsty though, which is unusual for me because I seriously like my angst, lol. This drama just didn’t execute that well, and Park So Dam’s character kind of got pushed to the wayside. Still, like you, it was mostly good drama that was an easy watch 🙂
I think we ended up feeling the same about this one. I liked the beginning but somewhere along the line it just started to feel “meh” which is too bad considering the cast. I thought there was a lot of potential and cuteness galore at the beginning that just fizzled out as the drama progressed. Still glad I watched tho because positive stories can sometimes be hard to find and I really enjoyed the inspiring nature of this story.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It does sound like we had a similar experience with this one 🙂 Yep, this is definitely one that excelled in the first half and then started to lose its way. Always disappointing when that happens. Even so, I too enjoyed watching an inspirational type story that had a lot of positive elements 🙂
Pingback: Best Korean Dramas of 2020 | Kdrama Kisses