True Or False?
Episode 1 of Lovestruck In The City begins with a flurry of different people interviewed in front of a camera. Here, we meet 32 year old architect Jae-Won, 29 year old Eun-O, fellow architect Kyeong-Jun, Rin-I whose occupation is unknown and Seong-Yeong who’s known by many as a serial dater. Our final character is Kang Geon is also 29 and films people. Phew!
It’s a lot of information to take in but then we cut to each of them filmed through various different cameras as if this is a documentary. However, the theme here is true or false as we hear numerous different facts about these characters and we’re left to wonder whether they’re true or not.
After filming, our characters all head home in one smooth tracking shot that shows each of our characters’ lives intersecting together. In fact, this seems to be a theme for much of this first episode as we do quick cuts between the different characters as they’re asked about dating and relationships. Our focus this time though is on two characters in particular, Jae-Won and Eun-O.
Both of them talk about one another to the camera; both blame Eun-O for this romance going wrong. While Jae-Won calls himself a fool, Eun-O is actually grateful that he came into her life given now she can live how she really wants to.
We then cut back to September 2019 at Yangyang International Airport. Eun-O arrives to pick up Jae-Won and passes him in her car. She’s immediately drawn to his good looks but acts coolly enough in the car.
As they ride together, Eun-O encourages Jae-Won to sing along to the song on the radio that they both know. Jae-Won can’t help but look at her like she’s ever-so-slightly nuts. He smiles, clearly attracted as he marvels at this strong, intense women. This happens to be the moment he started to fall for her.
After spending more time together, Jae-Won finds himself unable to take his eyes off Eun-O as she plays down by the beach with her dog. “She sparkles,” Jae-Won eventually retorts to his friend Bin.
That evening, Bin and Ra-Ra host their barbecue down by the beach as people hustle and bustle, enjoying the festivities. People play Jenga, beer pong and consume a steady supply of drink… until the lights go out.
All of this is part of a stunt though as Riri and Bin organize everyone into different groups in a game involving hugging together. It’s actually quite a fun little icebreaker, one that eventually sees Jae-Won make a bold gesture in front of everyone, holding Eun-O’s wrist and looking deep in her eyes. As fireworks sparkle in the night sky above, Jae-Won reflects that he just liked her at that moment.
Back in the present, all of our supporting players hear this story and wonder whether this was a real story or not. Well…was it a real? What are we thinking guys? We’ll have to wait and see I guess!
The Episode Review
Aesthetically, Lovestruck in the city is absolutely gorgeous. The expository text on screen, the smooth camera movements and some incredible editing make this a breath of fresh air in the k-drama world. With episodes clocking in at 30 minutes and an absolutely bizarre Tuesday/Friday run-time, this could well be one of the bigger surprises of the year.
It’s certainly unique and the style of jumping to the present and then back to the past while graced with fly-on-the-wall camera footage is surprisingly well done.
Character-wise though this does make it a little difficult to warm up to everyone- especially the supporting players who get very little screen time. It’s still early days yet though and plenty of time for that to change.
With another episode coming on Christmas Day, Lovestruck In The City is another early contender for one of the better 2021 Korean dramas. Alongside Mr Queen, Run On and True Beauty, next year is really shaping up to be a massive year for Korean content!