Thoughts on Episodes 11/12
1) Gong Yoo's emotional scenes with YEH for me, reiterated that, among the romantic leads in K-drama TV, he's maybe the most generous. Really, the difference of the "Gong Yoo style" is that he's just so in the moment with you, just so hanging on your every word and look, that his own readings are totally and believably about the other person.
So, if he plays somebody who's in anguish, he doesn't try to show the actress (i.e. the camera) that he's in anguish. Instead, he just lazers in on the actress, through his character, searching and searching until there's such a uncomfortable, piercing intimacy between him and his costar. THAT is how he conveys his anguish, just as a real lover would. It's not about him, it's about the other person . . . and therefore it becomes about him. Just wonderful acting on his part.
2) Apparently, Lee Sun Gyun (Han Sung ) is known as "The Voice" in Korean dramas. And, for his part, you can absolutely see it used in wonderful effect in his pivotal scene between Han Sung and Yoo Joo. His sonorous, gentle readings, which convincingly beguiles and soothes Go Eun Chan into a friendship, here crackle into this intense, scary roar. His eyes almost change too -- very warm and gentle into this piercing black rage. Sun Gyun's such a wonderful counterpoint to Gong Yoo, revealing in his character, somebody who like Otis Redding would say, has been loving her too long. And it's one beautiful thing about Coffee Prince, watching a contrast of acting styles and relationships to show how lovers deal with the issues of trust and forgiveness.
3) Very powerful, emotionally charged acting all around. I almost can't believe this was based on a comic, or that this was originally hyped up as a romantic comedy. This is as much a romantic comedy as, say, Alone in Love, and as this show progresses, it's moving closer and closer into that sublime Alone in Love territory, where humor is created from hightened sensitivity, and emotions are delivered levels upon levels. The story outline may be "trendy drama", but the execution is way, way, way above the outlines of this story.
4) Wonderful use of tone and unlit, moonlight spaces to show loneliness and private reflection. Again, very reminiscent of Alone in Love.
5) The use of pop songs is about the level of what you see in Korean romantic movies. It's probably not, but the soundtrack and song selections seems like something Kang Hyun Min (of Loveholic) would put together for one of his film projects. I bring that up, because one of the instrumentals sounded a bit like a version of a Loveholic tune.
6) It may be just me, but I think this series is taking a physical toll on YEH. She's starting to look really tired and emotionally spent, which ups the emotional ante of the story, but you can sense from her that she's cried a lot for this part. It could be the hours
i was more surprised with yun eun hae though... her acting has really matured!!
i mean the way she can pump out tears its crazy!!!!!!
From Goong, you could tell that Yoon Eun-hye has strong talents as a comic actress, particularly with physical comedy. In terms of facial expressions, hand gestures, and quirks with her walk, she will do 4 things where other actresses may do one or two. Also, her comic timing is about as good as a J-drama actress, knowing when to react to a line and kinda deliver the punchline. At times, in Goong, she gets near Jun Da Bin level in balancing adorability and comic wackiness.
The difference here is that, she's really, really connected the physical gestures and mannerisms into bringing out the internal life of her character. Most Korean actors do representational acting, which is that they access things in their lives and recreate a naturalistic, realistic appraoch to their roles. But YEH seems instinctively acting through observations and gestures, more of a presentational style not unlike what you see with many good J-drama and British acting leads. In that way, having to play a "boy" has forced her to build her character from the inside-out, Go Eun Chan's joy of life (through her stomach), her pragmatic approach to her own emotions, and her unresolved insecurities over being a woman. When Go Eun Chan cries, YEH cries like she imagined Go Eun Chan would. And deeply. Watch how her breathing goes heavy and erratic as Go Eun Chan can't handle what her love is saying. Watch how her eyes glaze over as if she can't get herself to think of anything else but the stinging pain of his words. Above all, watch how she looks at him, both when she's happy or sad, it's unlike anything she's done before or of any of her previous characters have conveyed. Go Eun Chan loves this man, and so does her conscience.
In that respect, episode 8-12, kind of show how much YEH has given herself into this role. She became this person, lived the emotional and physical life of this person, and she's depicting the anguish, joy and sexual awakening of her character, not a version of herself or her plucky Goong heroine. In terms of character acting, this is my pick for performance of the year in Asian drama. Goes beyond a stone-cold impression of a dude into an inspired commitment toward living as somebody else and expressing the emotional experience of somebody who wants to be truly loved and accepted on their own terms.