Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 16 -| Review Score – 4/5
As far as Korean dramas go, Chocolate’s poignant storyline and thematically relevant ideas surrounding the relationship between food and emotion is going to be a tough one to beat this year. Split across the usual 16 episode run, Chocolate’s story intertwines two star-crossed characters together through their shared love of food and mixes that in with the death of a loved one to deliver a beautifully written but incredibly sad drama. With a wonderful soundtrack and some smartly written episodes throughout, Chocolate begins 2020 with a high bar to follow for other Korean dramas.
With each episode clocking in at a little over an hour, there’s of course a lot of story to chew through but the basic premise revolves around two core characters – Cha Young and Lee Kang. After meeting as children, we cut forward in time to see Kang working as a neurosurgeon after hanging up his chef’s hat while Cha Young’s meal cooked for her as a child by Kang spurs her on to become a prolific chef.
As fate would have it, both characters wind up working together at a hospice ward after they fall out over the death of Min-Seong; Kang’s best friend and Cha-Young’s lover. As the episodes progress, the layers of bitterness and regret that cling to their troubled relationship slip away and in its stead, their shared love of food comes to the foreground. All of this builds up to a dramatic few episodes to close things out, wrapping up the story nicely when the final credits roll round.
Of course, intertwined around this are various different subplots, all of which using the same hook of food to keep things consistent. The hospice cook Seon-Ae winds up with Alzheimer’s and struggles to come to grips with what this means for her life, Kang’s brother Lee Jun goes through a torrid time as his family life implodes while the various hospice patients all find solace and comfort in the food cooked (or not) for them over the weeks. This ultimately anchors each episode together and adds some real depth as Kang’s icy exterior is slowly chipped away as the series progresses.
Aesthetically, Chocolate looks fantastic too and the vibrant seaside settings, coupled with the various shots of food being prepared, make this a beautiful Korean drama and one of the better looking ones on Netflix. Full credit to JTCB though, they’ve done an excellent job bringing this one to life and there’s a lot of gorgeous, picturesque shots here including sunsets back-dropped by glittering lakes and steaming bowls of food as wisps of smoke curl into the air.
Chocolate’s soundtrack is worth mentioning too, and there’s a consistency to this that echoes the same poignancy running throughout the drama. ‘Always Do You’ is the perfect theme to capture the sad core of the show, audibly expressing the essence of what makes this drama so appealing, while ‘Tree’ and ‘Special’ have just the right amount of catchiness and depth to keep the soundtrack strong through every episode.
Chocolate is quite simply a wonderful Korean drama, one that utilizes some vibrant colours and strong themes to produce a sad, emotionally charged series well worth watching. With a decent soundtrack, some good pacing and a lot of tears along the way, Chocolate is a show worth investing some serious time into, rewarding your patience with a beautiful finale to bow the show out with and in doing so, setting a very high bar to try and beat for 2020.
|Chocolate is available to watch on Netflix. Feel free to click here and sign up now to check this show out!
Verdict - 8.5/10