Drama Review: Page Turner

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Page Turner, describes a person who sits on the side of a pianist, and assists in turning the pages of the piano sheets. We get swept away by the performances of the pianist, and never notice the importance of a page turner, or even acknowledge the importance of its existence. Thus in the context of this drama, I believe the page turner refers to the people around our 3 main leads—the parents or friends etc.

If you enjoy listening to classical music, and happens to love Kim So HyunJi Soo or new rising actor, Shin Jae Ha, then this inspirational show is not to be missed.

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PLOT

Page Turner is the coming of age story of 2 boys and a girl. Yoon Yoo Seul and Seo Jin Mok are from the same school, and have been arc enemies since young. Yoo Seul is always number 1 in her academic studies and piano playing, and Jin Mok is the bitter second best.

Their distaste for one another stemmed from little arrogant Jin Mok humiliating Yoo Seul’s mother (Ye Ji Won) when she was his piano teacher. Since Yoo Seul’s mother found out Yoo Seul has talent in piano, she quits teaching Jin Mok and pours all her life and attention on Yoo Seul.

In the most recent examination, not only Jin Mok loses to Yoo Seul again, she insults him. In rage and feeling hurt, he prays and asks God to punish Yoo Seul. He is then shocked to find out later Yoo Seul and her mother had a car accident, and Yoo Seul lost her eyesight. Around that very same time, Jang Cha Sik is told by the doctor the injuries to his spine means he can never play sports again.

Hurt by her mother’s words, Yoo Seul tries to sneak out of the hospital, in an attempt to end her life. Her suicidal attempt failed thanks to Cha Sik. She then begins living her life normally as a blind person. Whereas Cha Sik gets told by his mother (Hwang Young Hee) he is the son of a famous pianist. This new revelation helps him get over the devastating, shattered sportsman dream. He decides to learn piano, believing he has the talent and it is in his genes.

Yoo Seul faces difficulty (with everything) at first, and by chance, Cha Sik volunteers to be her assistant in school. In return so that he can attend classes and learn piano.

YOON YOO SEUL

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Yoon Yoo Seul, plays by Kim So Hyun (School 2015: Who Are You), is an extremely talented young pianist. However, for her whole life, she has been playing piano for her mother rather than for herself; and she is banned from doing activities normal teenage girl would. This makes her unhappy. She has the good intention of wanting to make her mother happy, but it weighs heavily on her heart, and against her desire to experience life normally.

Due to her upbringing, Yoo Seul secretly resents piano and hates Jin Mok, blaming him for the one who changes her life. She forgets playing piano is not all about being the best, beating Jin Mok, or the technique, but it is also about loving the music and enjoy playing it. It is a pity that only after losing her eyesight she then found happiness from playing. However, it is not impossible to still play without being able to see, so all hope is not lost.

SEO JIN MOK
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Seo Jin Mok, plays by Shin Jae Ha (Pinocchio), is first portrayed to be bitter, prideful and arrogant. However, we soon learn that is not the case. He only behaves this way in front of prickly Yoo Seul. And after Yoo Seul’s accident, he blames himself thinking God made his wish come true (Hahaha), and tries in every which way to make amends to Yoo Seul.

He is actually a cute character, not at all annoying. To me, he has difficulty lowering himself to say what he truly feels in front of Yoo Seul. Funnily, Yoo Seul behaves the same way in front of Jae Ha.

Jae Ha is also a good pianist except he is the type where people described as having the technique, but lacks the heart or emotions. Jae Ha knows his shortcoming, and is standing at a cross-road, questioning himself if he really doesn’t have the talent like Yoo Seul’s. He’s a bit of a tortured soul, and dying to be acknowledged, especially by Yoo Seul.

JANG CHA SIK
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Jang Cha Sik, plays by Ji Soo (Sassy Go Go), is a straight forward, happy-go-lucky sort of person. He is as tough as a diamond, a mentality strong and sweet boy. His best strength is his optimism, and his willingness to believe anything is possible if ones put in hard work. Although this optimism is also considered as naïve, but it is because of this naïveness, 3 characters in the show were encouraged, made peace with their self-conflicted feelings by gaining acknowledgements and/or encouragement. Cha Sik is like the angel sent by God to assist the 3 characters untied the invisible knots that got entangled between them many years ago.

Even though Cha Sik looks like an outsider in the relationships of the other characters and the piano world, he plays the role of mediator and that someone who knocks some sense into Yoo Seul’s and/or Jin Mok’s heads.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

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What can I say?—Kim So Hyun impresses me one drama after another. I can only hope she keeps impress for the rest of my K-drama watching years. There are still many types of characters and roles in future for her to challenge as she grows older. However, with Korean scripts that mainly focuses on the male, I hope she will forever find meaty scripts, so that she can show off her acting skills.

She is definitely one rising young actress that the current 20-something actresses should be scared of. Why? Because she really has the acting talent, the onscreen charm and presence that cannot be simply ignored or covered up.

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On the other hand, we have Shin Jae Ha, whom I reckon we must keep our eyes out from now on. A 1993-er as well, although considered a late bloomer in comparison to actors of the same age e.g. Park Bo Gum, Seo Kang Joon, Yoo Seung Ho and Lee Hyun Woo since they have now garner lots of media attention and have kicked started their careers with a bang recently. Based on his filmography, Shin Jae Ha is considered new to the audiences, having only debuted in 2014. He hasn’t had the success like other 1993-ers or Ryu Jun Yeol, but he has left quite an impression in Pinocchio, as the younger version of Ki Jae Myung; and I Remember You, guest-starring as a murderer. I believe Jae Ha has proved himself to be a potential male lead with his performances in Page Turner. Looking forward to see more of him in upcoming dramas, and pray that he gets noticed in Page Turner, and received offers with meatier roles and an increase in screen-time.

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Ji Soo to me, did all right as Cha Sik, but he pales in comparison to So Hyun and Jae Ha acting-wise. His performance lacks something, but then I cannot pin-point if it is his acting or the character set-up at the moment. He plays Cha Sik wonderfully and cutely, but then I find myself wishing there was more, and wanting to feel a little bit more for his emotional scenes, but could not. Sigh.

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I thoroughly enjoy the dynamic between the 3 leads, particularly watch them argue with one another, and seeing how Jin Mok gets flustered by both Yoo Seul and Cha Sik, LOLLL. They are such cute frenemies, I truly adore them.

With only 3-episodes, it is definitely impossible to cover everything and ends satisfyingly. However, I personally, am happy with how it ends i.e. on a high note. Yes, it ends with an open ending, but isn’t this expected? They are only teenagers, trying to find themselves and solidify their dreams. There are still so much more that can happen in future; thus, it is only fair that the show ends with a new beginning, and them starting a new chapter in their lives.

I am glad that the competition ended with Yoo Seul and Jin Mok playing it because it is a realistic outcome for Cha Sik, since it is impossible for a person who has never touched a piano to be able to collaborate with someone else, and plays a two piano piece, let alone wins a piano competition.

This development also smoothly resolves the issue between Yoo Seul’s mother and Jin Mok; as well as complete the story of Yoo Seul’s mother as the Page Turner. It hit a heartstrings in me when Yoo Seul’s mother tells Cha Sik he can do it before the competition, and he finally addresses her as ‘Teacher’ again. That whole scene hinted right at viewers that even though they were not in good terms, but as an ex-teacher, she has been paying attention to all his performances, and does acknowledge Cha Sik’s ability, but only now Cha Sik finds out because she is a strict teacher who does not give out compliments easily—to which Cha Sik desperately needed to hear since young.

Needless to say, the last performance took my breath away, and I was completely moved. It was perfect performances from all 3 of our main characters. Bravo.

As for whether or not Yoo Seul ever finds out Jin Mok is the one who plays the two pianos with her, I would say of course she did. We have to use our imaginations, to the disappointment of some viewers, but then is it not obvious that she will pull out all of Cha Sik’s hair, and Cha Sik will have to grovel for, I don’t know, maybe one whole week? What is more important is both Yoo Seul and Jin Mok find the confident in themselves, and the love for piano again to continue on. Yoo Seul would be embarrassed and angry being lied to at first, but she isn’t an unreasonable person, so she will come around and listen to Cha Sik’s explanation. I also believe by then it would have been easier for Jin Mok to reach out to her without getting attacked verbally (ha!).

With an open ending, perhaps in near future, this drama can comeback with a second season with all the original 3 characters in college, majoring in music. I would totally welcome addition of new actors such as Seo Kang Joon and Park Bo Gum too, who in real life, can play pianos. Tee hee. Wishingful thinking, I know, but hey, we can dream and dream big in our dreams. 😀

– 8/10

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One thought on “Drama Review: Page Turner

Add yours

  1. Must keep eyes on Shin JaeHa… Actors that play baddie and nice characters are really have good acting skill in my opinion. Just like Park Bogum.. I like his character Min in IRY and also as Taekie~

    Liked by 1 person

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