Uncontrollably Fond Review
Uncontrollably Fond is about a man, Joon Young, who learns he only has 3 months to live. With his remaining time he decides to reconnect with “the girl that got away” (No Eul). But she’s reluctant. Undeterred, his pursuit of her begins. But secrets from their shared past hinder their connection.
Strong story in the second half of the series. Many kdramas start out strong and limp to the finish with unsatisfying results. Uncontrollably Fond was the opposite of this. The first half of the series was weaker than the second half. The first half focused on Joon Young trying to win No Eul back. Her adamant resistance got tiresome, even if she felt it was appropriate based on their past history. Joon Young’s half-brother, Ji Tae, also liked No Eul and was an impediment. No Eul’s rejection of one brother for the other only to be rejected by the other brother was standard fare. At the halfway point in the series the writer, Lee Kyoung Hee, stopped the” who likes who” story and delved into their shared past, then the series became engaging. No Eul’s father was killed by a hit and run driver. Both brothers knew of the cover up to protect the rich perpetrator. In essence they betrayed No Eul by omission. Both brothers decided to right the past wrongs and free No Eul from the past’s pervasive pain, though they chose different paths to accomplish this. Add into the mix rich and powerful adults that did not want their cover up of the crime to be revealed, and the brothers and No Eul were pushed to their limits as they sought justice.
Our couple spent most of the series apart with only brief moments of happiness. Out of the 16 episodes our couple could only cobble together maybe half an episode of happiness. You know how most kdramas flash back to happy memories during times of separation? Uncontrollably Fond had to utilize the leads’ fantasy interactions with each other because there was a shortage of happy memories to reference. This weakened the strength and “root-ability” of this couple. When the couple got together at the mid-point, the rug was immediately pulled out from them, so that blip of happiness was short lived.
Plus and Minus
Leading man’s illness largely ignored unless to create a dramatic moment. Joon Young’s life threatening illness was a key to the story. But the writer only used Joon Young’s illness when he needed to amp the story tension. For the majority of the series, Joon Young was hale and hearty. His illness was like an ignored elephant in the room. And guess what, I preferred this! I didn’t want to see Joon Young decline and weaken before my eyes. I wanted him strong and fighting for the woman he loved.
Characters That Mattered
Joon Young (Kim Woo Bin). Let’s face facts; Woo Bin is tall, handsome and watchable. I felt a bit cheated that there was limited romance between our leads. Instead the writer focused on Joon Young’s plan for righting the past, and what an intriguing path he took. In the end, I respected Joon Young’s determination and loyalty to the prickly women in his life – his mother and No Eul. He chose to save the woman he loved, even if he destroyed their relationship.
No Eul (Bae Suzy). I’ve never seen Bae Suzy act. She’s not great but she’s not the worst I’ve seen either. Because there was limited romance, No Eul’s prickly demeanor worked for most of the series. The writer also saddled clichéd characteristics on No Eul which did not help the character’s appeal. In the end, I respected this character’s loyalty and understanding.
Ji Tae (Lim Ju Hwan). Typically second leading men make their play for the leading lady then recede into oblivion once rejected. But not so with Ji Tae. Once No Eul made her choice, Ji Tae’s relationship with No Eul evolved to a friendship. Then Ji Tae pursued justice for No Eul. Ji Tae reversed the negative relationship with Joon Young. In the end, I respected Ji Tae’s willingness to fight against the parents he’d previously protected risking his life, status, and future happiness.
Our young couple, No Jik (Lee Seo Won)and Ha Roo (Ryu Won). No Jik was No Eul’s brother and Ji Ha Roo was Ji Tae’s sister. They made a darling couple. These two actors sparkled in their too brief scenes each episode. Their romance was impacted by the drama surrounding the older adults.
Characters That Annoyed
Joon Young’s mother was a selfish mess. She cut Joon Young out of her life when he rejected following in his father’s career path. She prioritized preserving her vision of the life Joon Young should live and the past perception of Joon Young’s father over reality. She refused to accept the man Joon Young evolved to be, and Joon Young was a great guy!
Joon Young’s management team. The CEO of the Entertainment Company and Joon Young’s manager were selfish men that ignored Joon Young’s wishes to persevere their vision of the Joon Young they wanted the public to see. When they literally locked Joon Young in his house so he could not help No Eul, who was stuck in jail waiting for Joon Young, I was appalled.
Do I recommend Uncontrollably Fond?
Yes. The first half of the drama was okay but laid the foundation for the engaging second half of the drama. The final episode was especially good, a rare treat.
The OST has 42 songs released in two volumes. There were 15 primary vocal songs released in 15 parts over the series. I appreciated that the show took advantage of the preproduction and provided an extensive OST. Suzy and Woo Bin both contributed two songs to the OST. See dramawiki for details. My favorite is song is “I Love You” by Kim Bum Soo with “When Good” by Suzy a close second. The playlist is embedded below or check it out via the link.
1. Picture In My Head Kim Woo Bin
2. Find A Wrong Picture Kisum feat. Im Seul Ong
3. The Heart is Talking Kim Na Young
4. Only U Jung Gi Go
5. I Miss You Hyo Rin
6. Don’t Push Me Wendy & Seulgi of Red Velvet
7. From When and Until When Tei
8. Do You Know Kim Woo Bin
1. Ring My Bell Suzy
2. Love Hurts Hwan Hee
3. I Love You Kim Bum Soo
4. My Love Honey G
5. Shower Eric Nam
6. I Could Live Kim Yun Joon
7. Don’t Push Me (Ballad Version) Wendy & Seulgi of Red Velvet
8. I Miss You (Drama Version) Hyo Rin
9. When Good Suzy