Genre: Romance, Melodrama
Originally Aired on: Cable JTBC (From Mar 17, 2014 to May 13, 2014)
Number of episodes: 16
Starring: Kim Hee-Ae, Yoo Ah-In
Written by: Jung Sung Joo
*Winner of 3rd APAN Star Awards: Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries, Best Supporting Actor, Best Writer
*9th Seoul International Drama Awards: Best Actress
Secret Love Affair portrays an engrossing and complex love story between a 20-something piano protegé and 40-something art foundation director who is married and also his teacher. Upon first glance, it's difficult to understand their love affair with such a huge age and culture gap. The two are from complete different worlds: Oh Hye-Won (Kim Hee-Ae) surrounded by a group of wealthy, upper-class elites while Lee Sun-Jae (Yoo Ah In) works as a delivery man and can barely afford a decent education despite his musical talents.
Yet there's something beautiful and enticing about their chemistry that the viewers can't quite grasp. As the story progresses, they can no longer fight off the attraction and end up falling in love despite the stigma and consequences that come with their relationship.
This masterfully written story depicts the ways in which an illicit affair can become beautiful, as the two characters's connection transcends a mere physical connection to that of a soulful one through their love for classical music. A not-so-classic tale about the power of love...and how music connects souls across boundaries.
Oh Hye-Won (Kim Hee-Ae)
She is a 40-something art foundation director who on the outside, has it all. She is successful, lives in a beautiful home and is married to a well-established music professor of a distinguished arts school. Yet viewers soon find out that the wealth is not really hers, as she is frequently humiliated and abused by her superiors to maintain her position. She has sold her integrity, dignity and self-love for money and power, and in it, she drowns in loneliness and sorrow.
In her loveless marriage and less-than-fulfilling career, she meets Lee Sun-Jae (Yoo Ah In) who is assigned to be her apprentice. Through him, she rediscovers a deeper part of love and womanhood that has been lost for too long, and eventually falls in love with her student in an illicit and secret love affair.
Lee Sun-Jae (Yoo Ah-In)
At the beginning of the story, he is a 20-something year old delivery boy who lives a seemingly average life. Despite his genius musical talents, he can't afford a formal education or find a position that will allow his true talents to shine.
His life changes when he, while working as a delivery boy, comes across a piano in middle of an empty auditorium. He masterfully plays a soulful tune on the piano and almost gets in trouble for trespassing...except, this serendipitous moment leads him to be "discovered" by Oh Hye-Won's professor husband.
Their secret love affair blossoms slowly until both fall for each other deep and hard, and are eventually forced to face the consequence of their love.
I've never been so emotionally involved in a drama like this one. Secret Love Affair marks the epitome of Korean melodrama full of unspoken emotions, implied love scenes and powerful chemistry between two amazing actors.
Kim Hee-Ae has always been known for her superb acting since the 80's and Yoo Ah-In has established himself as a veteran actor who is much more than a pretty boyish face. I was very curious of the two renowned actors' chemistry (and huge age gap) and their presence and chemistry blew me away as a viewer. I originally thought this match was an odd one, yet they proved me wrong and exceeded my expectations.
It's difficult to feel so emotionally connected to such a tabooed relationship- or so I thought- but it wasn't long until I secretly wished for them to be together forever. Seeing how lonely she was, how selfish her husband was, how fake her "friends" were and how much they truly loved each other-- I wanted nothing more than for her to leave her husband behind and run away with her much-younger lover.
And the fact that this story made me feel this way so strongly regardless of my moral standards points to the superb acting and masterful writing of this drama.
Above all, the highlight of this drama is Yoo Ah-In's excellent acting. He mastered even the most complex and intricate piano playing scenes and every expression, hand motion and body language carries the innocence and passion of his soul. His acting is no less than brilliant, and that combined with Kim Hee-Ae's maturity, beautiful classic music and the overall dark, secretive and gloomy cinematography, makes this drama distinct and timeless.
My Rating: 9/10
For superb acting, excellent screenplay and subtle yet emotionally powerful scenes. A Korean melodrama at its best.