Jang Ok Jung, Lives in Love – Review

Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love Review

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First of all, I wanna say these things:

  1. NEVER judge a drama by its rating or what others say about it. Everybody has different taste that’s why you gotta watch it by yourself.
  2. The points of every drama /I believe/ are the story and the ability of the casts to capture your attention.
  3. Dramas are meant to entertain people only. That’s it. Don’t talk trash about a drama just because it’s not like what we want it to be or because it’s different from what has been written down as history /if it’s historical drama/.
  4. The drama is the scriptwriter(s)’s not yours.

This review is gonna be long but please read it until the end. I really need you all to understand.

So last month I’ve done watching one of the most beautiful and most touching kdramas I’ve ever watched ever since 2007 (or 2008?) /not kidding/!! It is Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love.

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At first I just wanted to review this drama just like my other drama reviews, plot, how the casts impress me and OSTs, but reading lots of hate comments on internet I felt like I got to do something.

Jang Ok Jung is a very recommended drama. The actors and actresses really capture your heart by their acting. Ok I gotta admit this. I watched this at first bcf Yoo Ah In but after watching ep 1, I seriously fell in love with all the casts and really couldn’t wait to watch the rest of the drama. Let’s start the review, shall we? ^^

CINEMATOGRAPHY (7 out of 10)

ep 1 (1) @

i personally think this is one of the most beautiful scenes

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ah i remember this scene, so beautiful!

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Lee Soon had nightmare, but the cinematography here was just too beautiful T_T

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Ah this scene

First few episodes were filled by beautiful cinematography then the rest of the eps were filled with beautiful hanbok for example, this golden and red dangui :

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There are still so many photos that shows the beauty of JOJ, LBL saved on my laptop but let’s stop here. I’ll make a special post about it later.

CASTS + IMPRESSION + ACTING (8 out of 10)
Yoo Ah In (King Sukjong or Lee Soon)

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HANDS DOWN! I wasn’t satisfied with Fashion King since I believe he couldn’t give his best on that drama. But with this drama, YAI proved once again that he’s one of the best actors in South Korea! Hands down!

Soft voice, controlled tone, perfect gaze, he was born for this role. He captured every emotion and delivered it in such a beautiful way. I think YAI shouldn’t act in period drama ever simply out of solidarity with his fellow actors. Just kidding~~

Kim Tae Hee (Jang Ok Jung or Jang Suk Won or Jang Hui Bin)

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She’s not just pretty but also a smart actress! She knows she’s still lacking so as the ep went on, you could see that her acting got better and better. You can compare her acting from her day one to her latest work, and she has improved. I don’t understand why people criticized KTH’s acting. I with all my heart believe her acting was great, realistic, wasn’t stiff, and it did look natural. Err unnatural at times… but I cried a bucket of tears because of her. The way she acted out the pure JOJ was clean and clever, when JOJ committed sins and joined hands with her uncle was great too. She delivered every scene nicely. Well done.

Hong Soo Hyun (Queen Inhyun)

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SHE PLAYED IN PRINCESS’ MAN AND HER ROLE WAS A PRINCESS TOO THERE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA She’s lovely!!!! She excelled her role. It’s sadding though that she in this drama was pictured as a unwanted, unloved Queen. Just like what she said to the King when she was dying /ep 23?/. She was just a Queen but Ok Jung was a woman for Lee Soon (The King). Completely, her acting was solid. I loved how she delivered such emotions in Princess’ Man and in JOJ she delivered her emotions in a more beautiful way.

Lee Sang Yeob (Prince Dongpyung)

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Ah I felt bad for him. First few eps he was all dorky and silly but from middle towards the end he suddenly transformed into a very gentleman (?). He did great. That last scene where he handed JOJ poison for her to drink really got me.

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It was really touching (his part ofc) and heartbreaking too. Seeing the one you love the most dying in front of you IN SOMEBODY’S ELSE ARMS DAMN I JUST WISH PD-NIM GAVE HIM A TIME TO SHINE IN THIS SCENE BY EXPRESSING THAT KIND OF PAIN OMG DAMN

Jae Hee (Chi Soo)

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What’s the point of his role again? Poor Jae Hee, he’s such an amazing actor but in this drama he couldn’t give his best. He had limited screen time and everytime he appeared I just felt bad for him.

Han Seunghyun (Choi Suk Won)
The drama suffered a drop in viewer ratings and netizen blamed her lol but I gotta agree with them. I noticed the viewer ratings slightly dropped after she was officially introduced on ep 19 or 18 I forget. Her pronunciation was weird. She looked like a little kid playing with adult, really was a miscast. She looked like a wanna be mean girl, her voice and her one-dimensional facial expression didn’t help. Next to KTH, HSH and YAI, it was painful to watch her. Her acting throughout the drama was completely awkward. All she did was… smirk???? IMO Ayoung even acted better than her. Choi Sookbin is a character who managed to overtake Jang Heebin in the second half… so the producers should’ve gone for an actress with a lot more charm.

OST (9.25 out of 10)
I actually wanted to give 9.5/9.75 out of 10 but then it’d be unfair for TWTWB ost lmao.

WHAT A LIST! JOJ has a total 41 tracks!
Lim Jae Bum – Sorrow Song (임재범 – 비가)
Rumble Fish – Season of Love (럼블 피쉬 -사랑의 계절)
Lee Jung – Voiceless/Dumbness/Mute (이정 –벙어리)
Zia – Even If It’s Only A Dream/In My Dream (지아 – 꿈에서라도)
Shin Cho Ah – Far Away (신초아 – 아스라이)
Lee Soo Young – Will It Reach You (이수영 – 닿을 수 있나요)
Page – Live For Love (페이지 – 사랑에 살다) and the rest 34 are instrumentals.

My faves are Sorrow Song and Voiceless. Sorrow Song is OST type of song.

PLOT/STORY LINE (8.5 out of 10)
As we know, Jang Ok Jung, Living by Love is a drama based off a novel /named Jang Ok Jung, Live For Love by Choi Jung Mi (published on Dec 5th, 2008)/ twisted what we know as “history”. And because of this, many people criticized this drama and happened to effect the rating too. People even up til now, keep on comparing JOJ to Dongyi. People loved Dongyi more just because Dongyi followed the written history and hated JOJ because it’s different from what’s been written down as history. Dongyi distorted history too much too… Just saying….

But let me voice this out, what makes you so sure JOJ was so unrealistic and Dongyi was realistic?

Like what I said at the beginning of this post, dramas are meant for entertainment purposes only, nothing to take seriously. So stop comparing.

By watching this I actually question the history. Did King Sukjong really love JOJ? Was JOJ his scapegoat? Did Choi Sukbin really influence him? And many more.

The storyline was interesting. The politic play was mmmm acceptable? Yes, it was pretty draggy at times but still acceptable. The first few episodes were totally the best of its entire run in cinematography aspect.

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Overall Rating : Can I make it 10 out of 10? 😦 okay okay it’s 9 out of 10 because of Seunghyun’s creepy acting I had to lower down the rating.

Will I watch it again? : YOU’RE KIDDING ME?! Even right now I’m re-watching this!!!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Am I The Only One Who Hasn’t Moved On? | Red watches TV
  2. Trackback: Mask [review] | Red watches TV

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