In this first episode of Beyond The Romance for 2022, I was joined by my friend Stitch, to discuss the pretty and not so pretty traits of the Korean youth drama True Beauty. Released in 2020, the drama became quite popular with fans of the genre and cast which featured actor and K-pop artist Cha Eun-woo, Mun Ka-young, and Hwang In-yeop.
High school student Im Ju-kyung (Mun Ka-young) has always been shy. Growing up as the middle child in a family of 5, she found comfort in reading, as a teenager in a school and society where a person’s appearance is used to judge their importance, Im Ju-kyung found it difficult to fit in as her severe acne, bad eyesight and quiet demeanor made her a target for bullying.
After her father loses his job and savings, the family moves back to their old home, and a new school for her and her younger brother Im Ju-young (Kim Min-ki), where with a fresh start and new make-up skills Im Ju-kyung does her best to fit in an be accepted. She finds new friends, not one but two handsome love interests in Lee Su-ho (Cha Eun-woo) the school’s most popular male student, and Han Seo-joon (Hwang In-yeop), his former best friend who harbors animosity towards Lee Su-ho for past events.
Though both Stitch and I enjoyed the True Beauty mainly for the acting and the subversion of some tropes, we did have issues with how subjects like bullying, self-esteem and parenting weren’t handled as well as they could’ve been considering they were the main subjects of the drama itself.
Listen here as we shared our pros and cons, and if you’d like to watch the video version, you can find this episode of Beyond The Romance and others, on my YouTube channel. True Beauty is available for streaming on Viki.com.
Carolyn is a Freelance Film Critic, Journalist, and Podcaster – and avid live tweeter. Member of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), her published work can be found on But Why Tho, The Beat, Observer, and many other sites. As a critic, she believes her personal experiences and outlook on life, give readers and listeners a different perspective they can appreciate.