Title: While You Were Sleeping (당신이 잠든 사이에 or Dangshini Jamdeun Saie) (2017)
Written by: Park Hye-Ryun
Starring: Lee Jong-Suk, Bae Suzy, Lee Sang-Yeob, Jung Hae-In, Ko Sung-Hee, Shin Jae-Ha, Hwang Young-Hee, Kim Won-Hae, Min Sung-Wook, Bae Hae-Sun, Lee Ki-Young, Park Jin-Joo, Son San, Lee Bong-Ryeon, Nam Da-Reum, Shin Yi-Joon, Yeo Hoe-Hyun, and Kim So-Hyun
Country of Origin: South Korea
Original Language(s): Korean
No. of Series: 1
No. of Episodes: 32
Genres: Fantasy, Legal Drama, Romance, Thriller
Running Time: 35 minutes
Original Network: Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)
Hong-Joo (Bae Suzy) lives with her mother and helps her run a pork restaurant. Hong-Joo is haunted by seeing the future deaths of others in her dreams. What’s worse is that she does not know when the deaths will happen, but she tries to stop her dreams from becoming reality.
Meanwhile, Jae-Chan (Lee Jong-Suk) is a rookie prosecutor. He meets Yoo-Bum (Lee Sang-Yeob) at the prosecutors’ office. Yoo-Bum was Jae-Chan’s private tutor when Jae-chan was in his adolescence, but an unfortunate incident caused Jae-Chan to dislike him. Yoo-bum was a prosecutor, but he now works as a lawyer. He takes on any case that brings him money.
Jae-Chan and his younger brother move to a new house and they become neighbours with Hong-Joo. One night, Jae-Chan dreams that Yoo-Bum drives Hong-Joo’s car and this leads to a chain of events including the death of Hong-Joo’s mother and then Hong-Joo. When Jae-Chan senses that his dream is about to become real, he takes extreme action to stop it. Yoo-Bum becomes furious at Jae-Chan, but Hong-Joo hugs him and thanks him. The aftermath of the incident, Jae-Chan and Hong-Joo crossed paths and work together to solve other cases.
After the long wait, I finally was able to watch While You Were Sleeping. I always prefer to watch Korean dramas in a marathon rather than waiting for next episodes next week. Therefore, despite the dramas has ended last month, I just got the chance to watch it now. So let’s get down to business.
The main female character was played by Bae Suzy. She’s originally a singer from a Korean girl band named Miss A, who then turned into an actress, much like many Korean singers before. Despite having played several Korean dramas and films before, this is my first time watching one of her dramas. She portrayed the character of Hoong-Joo really well. She is a good actress, I’ll give her that. She is good in acting crying. I know it’s not fair for me to compare but if I have to compare Suzy and Im Yoon-Ah, I am still going to prefer Yoon-Ah. Not that I’ve seen many of Yoon-Ah’s dramas, but after all, she graduated from theatre studies major, so it’s not surprising if her acting skill is better. As for Suzy, from the beginning, she is a singer so of course, her acting skill is still not perfect. But I believe, through time she will nail it because she’s already doing very well in While You Were Sleeping. I admire her when she decided to cut her own hair in the drama. I know it’s not the first time actresses did extreme things to their hair. But it’s not every day they did it on camera, so I praise her for doing that.
As for Lee Jong-Suk, it’s no doubt that he can execute his job perfectly. Looking ridiculous is not something new to him either. I’ve seen his dramas before, like I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Pinocchio (2014), and even his debut drama, Prosecutor Princess (2010). He did well in those dramas and still did well in While You Were Sleeping. He managed to portray his character with good facial expression. Lee Jong-Suk played the character of Jung Jae-Chan, a rookie prosecutor. Jae-Chan might look silly at times but when he has to be serious, he just nailed it. Lee Jong-Suk did give a good charismatic aura for his character. What I also like about him is the fact he is always able to make good chemistry with his opponent. In this drama too, Lee Jong-Suk and Suzy have shown us a very good chemistry even from the beginning. They are very sweet together.
I believe the most talk-about character from While You Were Sleeping is Han Woo-Tak, played by Jung Hae-In. I’ve heard so many people that said they’re having second male lead syndrome because of Jung Hae-In. Perhaps I myself, am one of them. Jung Hae-In did play a very sweet character. As a police officer, his character managed to steal people’s heart whether when he’s wearing his daily police officer uniform or his formal uniform. Jung Hae-In is able to give the sense of sweet and charismatic aura to his character. Not to mention his sweet smile will make your heart flutter. Jung Hae-In’s facial expressions throughout the drama were great. Either happy, serious, sad, or even jealous, he nailed every expression. The emotion, the behaviour, and the acting of Jung Hae-In were just spot on. I like how the scriptwriters gave a little bit of mysteriousness to Han Woo-Tak. Han Woo-Tak may not get the girl, but his character really has won people’s heart. Even Woo-Tak’s cute corgi dog, Robin, managed to attract the attention of the audience.
Jung Hae-In made a very good chemistry with the other cast. I like the friendship between Han Woo-Tak, Jung Jae-Chan, and Nam Hong-Joo. Their relationship was entwined because of the connection they shared. The three of them have the same ability where they can see the future from their dreams. The chemistry between them is great and at times, very funny too, especially between Woo-Tak and Jae-Chan. Their love triangle is unlike other love triangle stories. Usually, the two men would fight and try to win the girl’s heart. But it’s not the case in While You Were Sleeping. I am not going to describe what happened because I fear it would spoil the story. However, let me tell you that I really like the relationship between Han Woo-Tak, Jung Jae-Chan, and Nam Hong-Joo, who eventually became good friends. Jung Hae-In also made good chemistry with Lee Yoo-Joon, who played the character of Oh Kyung-Han, Han Woo-Tak’s colleague. Whenever Oh Kyung-Han was on screen, he always cheers the light up. His character can lighten the mood, that’s why his presence is always a good idea.
Lee Sang-Yeob portrayed the character of Lee Yoo-Bum really well. For an antagonist, his facial expression is so annoying that you would hate his character right away. It’s the kind of face that you would want to punch him in the face. It’s not as annoying as Bae Soo-Bin in Secret Love (2013), but it’s still annoying. I think when actors can make the audiences hate their characters, means that they have done their job really well, especially when there’s nothing good or likeable or pitiable about the characters. And Lee Yoo-Bum is none of the above. So yeah, his character definitely won’t make the audience sympathise him.
It’s interesting to see Shin Jae-Ha playing Jung Seung-Won, Jung Jae-Chan’s younger brother. In Pinocchio, Shin Jae-Ha played the younger version of Lee Jong-Suk’s older brother, Ki Jae-Myung. This time, the role has switched because this time Lee Jong-Suk’s character is the older brother. What’s more interesting is that Nam Da-Reum has once again played the younger version of Lee Jong-Suk’s character. Nam Da-Reum has done it before in Pinocchio. While You Were Sleeping seemed to be a place where Pinocchio’s cast reunion because Yoon Kyun-Sang also made an appearance as a cameo in this drama. Yoon Kyun-Sang himself is the older version of Ki Jae-Myung in Pinocchio. Anyway, Shin Je-Ha portrayed his character as the younger brother really well. His chemistry with Lee Jong-suk is just great and perfect. It’s like seeing to brothers that like to tease each other a lot but at the same time, care about each other. They really made a good sibling.
Kim So-Hyun also made an appearance in While You Were Sleeping. Although she only played a small part, she never fails to do her best. She really nailed her role. She also made a good chemistry with Shin Je-Ha’s character.
“Don’t beat yourself up for too long. But never forget what happened. Only then, you can fully repay him. Regrets are pointless. There’s no use in crying over spilled milk. All you can do is slowly fill the glass up again. Time won’t flow backward for you, you know.” – Jung Jae-Chan
The other actors and actresses have portrayed their characters really well. Those characters have supported and made While You Were Sleeping a very enjoyable drama. With serious plot line, we will always need a good laugh from time to time. The other characters can be ridiculous, but it’s a good ridiculous that will make you laugh. Not the kind of laugh that will make your stomach hurt, but just the kind of laugh that’s enough to lighten up the mood.
Now, let’s talk about the story of While You Were Sleeping. It’s pretty unrealistic that you can see the future from your dreams, though I happened to have heard there are some people out in the world that can actually do that. However, I doubt it’s something like Nam Hong-Joo did because Hoong-Joo’s dreams are too clear and real. At some points, the storyline gets more and more interesting and intense. The crime case got better and better. I was hoping more case in the court because of the main character, Jae-Chan is a prosecutor. However, since While You Were Sleeping is more about dreams that can predict the future, so let’s not mind about this too much.
Overall, While You Were Sleeping is a very good drama. It is very enjoyable to watch. With all the fuss surrounding this Korean drama, I expected that While You Were Sleeping was going to be really awesome. However, it’s not the case. Although it’s not that great, this Korean drama still delivered a very good script. At any rate, While You Were Sleeping is not disappointing at all. One thing you can learn from this film is that you can change your future. No future is certain. Your future is defined by the decision you make, so be wise. Good job to all the cast and the production team of While You Were Sleeping!
I give While You Were Sleeping 8 out of 10 stars.