Call It Love Season 1 Review – An agonizing first half leads to a surprisingly poignant ending

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 16 -| Review Score – 3.5/5


Call It Love is meant for a very niche audience; one that enjoys sombre stories with a meandering pace that linger in their own despair. In its attempt to emphasize its melancholy themes, the creators have opted for a muted colour palette with violet undertones that isn’t very appealing. That said, the last few episodes do offer some compelling storytelling and strong emotional beats.

The series is a South Korean romantic melodrama that focuses on Shim Woo-ju, whose father runs away and gets married to another woman. Years later, he dies and Woo-ju’s house is inherited by Hee-ja, the woman he eloped with. Woo-ju and her siblings are forced to move out. Seeking revenge, Woo-ju targets Hee-ja’s son, Han Dong-jin. However, as they spend time together, Woo-ju and Dong-jin feel a shift in emotion as they learn more about each other’s difficult lives.

The overall storytelling experience of this series is a mixed one. The first ten episodes of the sixteen-episode series are terribly slow. Scenes drag on, transitions are stretched out and long flashbacks appear where they aren’t needed. It fails to move the plot forward, with the characters stuck in limbo and the show relying on cliffhangers to entice viewers to keep watching. Additionally, a lot of the storyline revolves around Dong-jin’s workplace and its conflicts, making the show seem more like an office drama than a melodrama.

However, the final few episodes are a refreshing change. If you manage to stick around this far, you’ll find that Call It Love is at its best when it uses a character-driven plot. This last leg focuses on the central conflict and taps into its characters’ emotions. The tonality is absolutely on point and despite the slow pace, the storytelling becomes more compelling by several notches.

Kim Young-kwang is one of the show’s biggest highlights. His portrayal of Dong-jin adds depth to his character, bringing out the nuances of his personality and making him endearing, despite his melancholic demeanour. Lee Sung-kyung’s performance as Woo-ju is also commendable, although there are moments when her range of expression don’t quite match up to Kim’s. The chemistry between the two actors is subtle and offbeat, expressing compatibility rather than the spark of romance.

The background score in Call It Love is noteworthy, particularly if you enjoy slow, lilting melodies. However, the dull colour grading doesn’t do much for the show’s aesthetics. It degrades some splendid cinematography and even makes the actors look washed out.

Overall though, Call It Love presents a familiar tale of love and loss that is rewarding only if you’re able to sit through the first two-thirds of the series.

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

3 thoughts on “Call It Love Season 1 Review – An agonizing first half leads to a surprisingly poignant ending”

  1. Great drama! The pace only. Added to the compulsion to see it through to the end and living it all with the characters in whom, by then, one had invested so much emotion and empathy.

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