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Thespian Review: Kim Hyun Joong – Boys over Flowers

5 Aug

We’ll be doing this weekly segment, where we discuss and analyze performances from various dramas in the past and present, every Fridays.

Nowadays, there are many idols who moonlight as an actor on dramas or movies. Sometimes, these transitions are more than welcome (hello T.O.P.) and other times, I wished they had stuck to being musicians. One of the most successful transitions (in terms of sheer increase in popularity) is Kim Hyun Joong, whose debut in Boys over Flowers swooned girls all over the world.

Boys Over Flowers became a sensational hit across Asia and it’s easy to understand why: it has hot guys (four of them!), it is very funny, and it’s soap opera to the max with all of its twists and turns (even if they get incredulous). Kim Hyun Joong plays one of the handsome members of F4, Ji Hoo, an anti-social musician who catches the interest of Geum Jan Di.


From the very beginning, we aren’t sure whether he will have a snotty personality; after all, he is part of the privileged F4. However, like most dramas who try to humanize their characters, he plays the violin exquisitely, showing a more delicate side to him. The lighting especially makes him look angelic in that scene which instantly grabs our attention. However, in that same scene, we already see all that we’re going to see from the actor—his one-note facial expression. You see, through all the emotions that Ji Hoo goes through—from losing his first love to fighting in honor of Jan Di—we only see variations of inherently one expression.

Not that that expression is unattractive, mind you, but Kim Hyun Joong comes off as boring. For example, when he was wiping off the flour from Jan Di’s face after a bullying session, he looks at her with disinterest. This same expression appears when he walks out with his first love into the dance, albeit with a smile. How is it that although we get two different scenes that have two different emotions from Ji Hoo, we only get one expression from Kim Hyun Joong? It wouldn’t bother me as much if this was limited to those instances but this problem recurs in every episode. Even when he smiles, there isn’t any genuine emotion behind it as if he’s thinking so much about what his lines are that he forgot he was supposed to emote and not just blurt out words.

When the script delves in his childhood to explain why he seems to act as coldly and as emotionless as he does, Kim Hyun Joong barely registers any sort of genuine feelings. In episode 19, where he sees his grandfather, the script asks for a range of emotions from Ji Hoo that mixes anger, fear, and remorse at the same time. However, Kim Hyun Joong never makes those connections. Everything about his performance has a heightened sense of acting; it seems like most of the time, he is basically thinking “act sad” or “act mad” or “act happy” instead of genuinely being sad, mad, and happy. It’s no wonder that I wasn’t able to connect to his storyline throughout the story; there’s no real emotion behind all his pouts, lonely glances, and cold glares.
I honestly think that Ji Hoo is a very interesting character that had great potential to be incredibly moving had a better actor played him. However, Kim Hyun Joong’s one-note expression never shades the character’s dimensions, making him the most tedious character to watch or listen to in all of Boys over Flowers.

by Clarence

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3 Responses to “Thespian Review: Kim Hyun Joong – Boys over Flowers”

  1. Alice August 24, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    Dud you see playful kiss? Slightly better acting, but still VERY stone-faced. 😛

    • dramapop August 24, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      Actually the first episode was too painful to watch. I really don’t enjoy those “fantasy” scenes. Eek. It was terrible. And He was AWFUL in that episode. Since he was the only reason I watched it, I didn’t bother going to the 2nd episode.

      • Alice September 1, 2011 at 4:25 am #

        Lmao. Us poor dramawatchers with our frail hopes and dreams. “Maybe he/she/the plot will get better,” we think. Sure as heck didn’t happen in this case.

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