K-Drama Review: 5 Reasons to Watch Netflix’s ‘The Glory’

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Netflix’s new vengeance k-drama, ‘The Glory’ starring Song Hye Kyo, Lee Do Hyun, Lim Ji Hyeon, Yum Hye Ran, Park Sung Hoon, and Jung Sung Il, showcases how bullying is a mainstay in Korean society, and how apathetic and corrupt individuals perpetuate and milk the same system. It doesn’t just talk about school bullies or the literal act of bullying, but it goes deeper into how the rich and powerful step into the poor.

The art piece that is ‘The Glory’ has intensified its meaning and commentary with each detail, starting with the script, crucial elements like cinematography, music, and of course, the actors and how each of them portrayed their characters. Here are five reasons why you should watch ‘The Glory:.’

1. See Song Hye-Kyo in a different light

Among all Song Hye Kyo’s dramas and movies, this is where you’ll see her significantly different–she’s grim and almost deadpan, and that’s because she was a victim of bullying. After getting away from her bullies, she sets out a plot to avenge herself and others who the same bullies also targeted.

In the press conference of ‘The Glory,’ Song Hye Kyo said that she has been waiting to play a character like Moon Dong-eun in her entire career, and now she has manifested it. “It was a very challenging role for me, I had a lot of difficulty in studying how I should portray Dong-eun, but then I realized that when I become loyal to the script, and when I’m doing so genuinely and authentically, it became easier.”

Song Hye Kyo on ‘The Glory’ press conference. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

When asked why ‘The Glory’ director Ahn Gil-ho chose Song Hye Kyo for the role, he said, “I couldn’t think of any other actor who can be strong and fragile at the same time. It was only Song Hye-Kyo.”

Song Hye Kyo fans and Korean drama fans, in general, should definitely watch ‘The Glory’ because aside from the fact that it will be a celebrated drama, it’s a drama that’s one of a kind and probably a monumental one.

“Everything was new for my portrayal of Moon Dong-eun. It was the first time in my career that I was uttering her kind of lines in the script, and I enjoyed it a lot. I believe I was able to deliver my task of portraying the character well,” Hye Kyo added.

Song Hye Kyo was indeed able to deliver the intrinsic qualities of Dong-eun. Her contrivance of being a seasoned actress culminates in ‘The Glory.’ She’s both apathetic and compassionate, beautiful and ruined, and at times vengeful and benevolent, all at the same time.

From L-R: Park Sung Hoon, Lim Ji Yeon, Lee Do Hyun, Song Hye Kyo, Yum Hye Ran, and Jung Sung Il. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

2. The actors had to prepare at least four versions of their script.

During the press conference of ‘The Glory,’ two actors revealed that they had to create at least four versions of their script so that director Ahn and their fellow actors could choose the best version of their character. Park Sung Hoon prepared four versions, and Lee Do Hyun prepared five.

Everything was a challenge for the cast and even the writer (more of this later), so it would be impossible for this drama to be a bad one.

Truthfully, the cast members–from the lead to the supporting characters–each had their own deep persona. Like Lim Ji Yeon said, they analyzed and studied their characters well that they were able to build them up and ultimately own their characters, which they and no one else could play.

Writer Kim Eun Sook and Director Ahn Gil Ho. Image courtesy of Netflix

3. It was written by Kim Eun-sook (Descendants of the Sun, Goblin, Mr. Sunshine, Lovers in Paris, The Heirs)

Kim Eun-sook is an insightful and well-researched writer. She said that she mostly writes rom-com (albeit embedded in some history, social commentary, and even Science), but it’s the first time that she has written a vengeance plot, and a disturbing one at that. According to her, the challenge of writing ‘The Glory’ made her grow as a writer, despite being in the industry for 20 years. She believes that she was able to write the script well and make the drama powerful and touching to audiences.

Apart from the social commentary of writer Kim Eun Sook’s art piece, I applaud how she wrote each character. The mean popular girl, the addict, the rich fuccboi, the puppet, the social climber, the incomprehensible husband and CEO, the abused but kookish mother, the poor and hardworking vengeful princess, and her handsome, successful, and devoted swordsman. I was fascinated by each of the characters. While some of the characters are pretty typical, the actors themselves have uniquely portrayed each character and given them a new light.

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4. It might make real-life bullies think twice about their actions

I don’t exaggerate when I say that the bullying in ‘The Glory’ was intense, that I consider it a crime. I have always wondered, “Can some kids actually do that?” But writer Kim Eun-sook said that she researched a lot for ‘The Glory’ script and interviewed a lot of people who were bullied during their teenage years.

The whole cast with the writer and director of ‘The Glory.’ Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Bullying in South Korea is commonplace and is a grave issue in Korean society that I believe their government and adult leaders, like educators and managers, have to focus on. Whether the bullies inflict physical and emotional pain or both on their victims, it says a lot about Korean society and the collective mindset of the people there.

What I see are only snippets of bullying of some Korean netizens online, but it already says that they could be judgmental and even criticize Korean celebrities a lot–even for the most minor things like if a celebrity has gained or lost little weight, or if a starlet got involved with their favorite popular actor, they seem not to run out of harsh things to say. That’s why many foreign netizens come to rescue poor Korean celebrities. Even though being a celebrity comes with the expense of being seen anmany by a lot of people, I don’t think they deserve to be bullied.

READ MORE: Twenty-Five, Twenty-One is a Profound K-Drama about Navigating Life Through a Crisis

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Korean Cravings: Shop K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Fashion, K-Culture.

In 2019, K-Pop idol Sulli took her own life because she couldn’t take her bullies anymore, whom she didn’t even know personally. I think killing herself was both recluse and revenge. That says a lot about the Korean society which needs a lot of change.

5. It’s a revenge plot with a twist.

‘The Glory’ was introduced as a straight vengeance drama, because of intense bullying. At first, I thought that it might be untinteresting, unpredictable, and just rely on its stellar cast for the drama and its plot to work, and be enjoyed by viewers. However, upon watching the advanced screening of the drama, I was surprised with its plot twist, which viewers should look forward.

“Let’s Wilt and Die Together” The Glory streams on Netflix on Dec. 30.

The drama was mostly set in winter, so it showed how cold life is, especially for a bully victim. Each of the elements they used in the drama–the music, cinematography, metaphors, were used intentionally to emancipate the true meaning of the drama.

Lastly, as a vengeance drama, you’ll learn how the David in Dong-eun will defeat the Goliath that are her rich, apathetic bullies, or if she will succeed in doing so (‘coz this we don’t know). You’ll cry and root for her, and perhaps change your perception about the inequality of real life.

‘The Glory’ will start streaming on Netflix by December 30.

Korean Cravings: Shop K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Fashion, K-Culture.
Korean Cravings: Shop K-Pop, K-Drama, K-Fashion, K-Culture.

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