Review. My Lovely Sam Soon (aka My Name is Kim Sam-Soon) is a 16 episode 2005 Korean drama whose lead is a brassy pastry chef named Kim Sam Soon. Sam Soon starts the series being cheated on then dumped in public by her boyfriend. Her emotional reaction is watched by the spoiled cool President of Bon Appetit restaurant named Hyun Jin Heon. Sam Soon ends up working for and involved with Hyun Jin Heon. Their courtship ups and downs and her pursuit of her life’s goals are the basis for this appealing show.
What I liked about the show:
* Kim Sam Soon played with gusto by Kim Sun Ah is a bit raw and willing to take risks for her career, family and love. She is the star of the show and the actress portrays Kim Sam Soon with appeal. Even when yelling, you see Kim Sam Soon cares through her passion.
* Male lead Hyun Jin Heon played by Hyun Bin is one cool customer and the fact he is drawn Kim Sam Soon takes a while for him to accept. Once he is “all in” the relationship, he has his own quiet charm. Hyun Bin later played the lead male Kim Joo Won in the 2011 Secret Garden, currently my favorite role for this actor.
* Kim Sam Soon’s mother (Na Moon Hee) and sister (Lee Ah Hyun) are embodied with similar zest and the ensemble family works. Hyun Jin Heon’s devotion and respect (and some terror) for Kim Sam Soon’s mother is wonderful to see. I want to karaoke with that family.
* Refreshingly the obstacles to their relationship didn’t annoy me (unlike many kdramas). His mother (Na Hyun Sook), his ex-girlfriend (Jung Ryeo Won), her ex-boyfriend (Lee Kyu Han), etc. were written so that they impeded but mattered to the evolution of their relationship. Jung Ryeo Won would later play writer Lee Go-eun in the 2012 King of Dramas. Lee Kyu Han later played Joon Hyuk in 2007 Que Sera Sera.
* No subtitles needed when character Dr. Henry Kim was on screen (played by American born Korean actor Daniel Henney). I’d love to know how accurate the subtitles were for the English dialog.
* Episode 6’s first kiss sizzles and in a nutshell reflects the characters. Sam Soon looses her balance and Jin Heon grabs her. Sam Soon tries to get loose but Jin Heon interlocks his fingers at the small of her back and closes in for a kiss. Sam Soon boldly kisses Jin Heon! He is surprised but does not back away. Sam Soon then kisses him again with passion and he responds.
* The open-ended ending worked for me. They are a couple, but no guarantees they’ll marry. She’s living life and choosing to love him without knowing that marriage is the outcome. That is her personal evolution because marriage was an initial goal for her. At the end living a happy life is her goal. Sam Soon’s series ending voiceover “Sometimes, the thought comes to me that we might one day break up, since that’s part of being in love. But I won’t be afraid of the future. I understand the things that I have to do now: do my best to make my cakes and do my best at love, just as if today is my last day, just as if I’ve never been hurt, and to love myself, Kim Sam Soon, more.”
What I did not like about the show
* Fat? Kim Sam Soon is supposed to be fat in this series. She may be a couple of dress sizes larger than the other actresses, but she is in no way fat. The actress reportedly gained 15 pounds for the role. The references to size only heightened my awareness how thin all the other actors were.
* The “I hate my name” storyline never resonated with me.
The 14 track OST has several tracks that I enjoy.
* Be My Love by Clazziquai
* She Is by Clazziquai
* Inside My Heart by Kim Jung Eun
* Can’t Let You Go by Just, my favorite dreamy, heartfelt song from the soundtrack
Favorite Songs from the OST in my YouTube Playlist (link or embedded below)