Social media might be maligned as the source of a lot of fake news, but it’s also where some of us get our daily dose of trivia and sometimes even general-knowledge, each time we scroll through our feed. For example, I didn’t know that 11th October is celebrated as ‘National Coming Out Day’ across the world and it’s the 31st edition in 2021! It’s simply a co-incidence that I was planning on reviewing a Korean series that’s about two young men falling in love.
According to MyDramaList the 2020 Korean show “Mr Heart” is a follow-up project to the popular drama “Where Your Eyes Linger”, which explored similar themes. However, “Mr Heart” directed by Park Seon Jay is a lot less serious and has a chirpy college charm to it.
When athlete Jin Won (Cheon Seung Ho), a record-breaking track runner begins to have sleep issues, which in turn affects his performance, his coach appoints a junior to become his pacemaker. Enter Lee Se Jin, who plays the adorably optimistic Sangha, ready to help out the star athlete, but Ji Won doesn’t share his enthusiasm at all. The rest of the show is about how the two get close due to their training.
The best bit about this mini-series (it’s only 8 episodes, each one just 10 minutes long) is the fact that there is minimal drama and our protagonist wears his heart on his sleeves. Sangha doesn’t bat an eyelid before declaring his feelings for Jin Won. While the latter is not very comfortable with the confession, he doesn’t say or do anything negative either. From there on, their awkward friendship blooms, after a few hiccups of-course.
Since it’s a south-Korean show, the makers obviously try put in a sentimental sub-plot, which comes in the form of Sangha’s financial woes. Sometimes, the emotions get excessive and exaggerated. For example, in episode 4, Sangha breaks into harrowing tears while explaining why Jin Won makes him smile. The scene was almost cringe-worthy.
Except for a few needless emotional scenes, “Mr Heart” can easily capture the viewer’s love with it cute romance. The lead actors are fantastic and it’s hard to believe that this is Cheon Seung Ho’s debut show. He nails the “serious but soft” hero role perfectly. Lee Se Jin, just like his character Sangha, brightens up the screen with his presence.
The cinematography is done very artfully, especially the bits where the boys go out running. Not sure if this was shot during the pandemic, but the marathon scene had very few onlookers, which struck as odd, but doesn’t matter. The background score is not striking but helps to heighten the comic factor in some sequences.
As far as the support cast is concerned, they don’t have much to do, but they are all believable in their little roles. The coach was caricature-like and seemed straight out of a manga. Like a lot of K-drama, there is no villain and it works just fine for the show. Sure, we do have a bunch of bad guys, but it’s not like they are baying for anyone’s blood or scheming nasty things. The story pans out like a regular romantic tale, with a sweet ending.
Only 8 episodes long, each one lasting about 10 minutes, this show is totally binge-worthy for those looking for some cute light college rom-com. It’s great to see that South-Korean creatives are finally attempting to come out with more mainstream LGBT content. Pun intended.