By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)
Unlike Lee Da Yeol, I am not going to let Jo Tae Hyun’s beauty blind my senses while I try to write this review. Singer-actor Kim Jae Han plays ace archer Da Yeol, who almost loses his scholarship when the gorgeous Jo Tae (Shin Ye Chan) falsely accuses him of molestation in the Korean mini-series “A Shoulder to Cry On”. Their first interaction sets the stage for a classic “enemies to lovers” tale to unravel.
The seven episode long high-school romance is based on a Korean webtoon with the same name. However, the writers of the show made a few tweaks that make the live-action adaptation slightly more sensible and believable than the comic version. Nevertheless, just like the comics, both lead characters are underdeveloped, and things keep escalating at a rapid pace. Lee Da Yeol suddenly develops a passion for a new field, and his motivations aren’t explained. Jo Tae’s character flits between an arrogant bully, who doesn’t think twice before falsely accusing someone of harassment, and a weird teen who comes from a broken home. So, why does a hardworking athlete fall for a guy who clearly has a few screws loose? The answer is simple: he is beautiful. At least it’s something the creators don’t shy away from emphasizing. A lot of us are suckers for good-looking “bad boys” after all.
“A Shoulder to Cry On” marks the acting debut for both Kim Jae Han and Shin Ye Chan, who are both K-pop idols from the same group. Kim Jae Han plays the serious yet naïve athlete Da Yeol with enough charm, while Shin Ye Chan is shiny as the playful Jo Tae who is capable of being extremely mean. Ye Chan however can’t shoulder a crying scene in one of the later episodes and his acting skills need more work. Actor Shi Si Ye plays Jo Tae’s friend Se Yeong and is adorable in the cameo, her character develops a huge crush on De Yeol and she serves as some comic relief. The archery sub-plot was an interesting visual break from all the school shenanigans that unfold through the runtime.
Navigating through romance as a teenager can obviously be very challenging, so the story captures the confusion of first love quite well. However, things get random in the last episode, which serves as a sort of epilogue and takes place four years after the boys finish high school. Strangely, both the leads behave more like strangers, asking each other about their likes and dislikes, and you are left confused about what were they talking about for all the months they knew each other? The writers should’ve just avoided the time-leap or treated the characters like adults instead of teen boys in fan fiction. But otherwise, “Shoulder to Cry One” is a decent enough one-time watch.
It’s a 6 on 10 from me.
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