Thank You ~ Review
“I am a mother,
That’s why i am so strong and so healthy and so lively.
No matter how hard life is, i won’t complain.
No matter how sad life is, i won’t cry.
Maybe you won’t believe this, but it’s true.
Isn’t it all too beautiful that it’s a little sickening?”
The time has arrived to break my silence and unveil my thoughts on the heartfelt miracle named Thank You. I have to admit that the cast was the reason why i started the drama in the first place, but the storyline itself was tempting enough if you want to set sail on an emotionally fortified journey without fear, but with passion. Thank You (2007) belongs in the post-2005 dramas and the changes in the cinematography factor are omnipresent since the dramas’ visual world had already started progressing at that point while still keeping the nostalgic and beauteous aura old school dramas used to possess.
Thank You unveils its wings in Blue Island where it depicts the struggles of a hardworking single mother, Lee Young Shin (Gong Hyo Jin). She takes care of her grandfather, Mr. Lee (Shin Goo), who suffers from senile dementia while at the same time she tries to hide the fact that her daughter, Lee Bom (Seo Shin Ae), got infected by HIV. Lee Bom has to learn how to live with it whereas doctor Cha Ji Min (Choi Gang Hee) tries to find her and her mother in order to apologize for Lee Bom’s unfortunate health condition. Under circumstances, doctor Min Gi Seo (Jang Hyuk) who is Ji Min’s boyfriend and his peculiar temperament travel to Blue Island in order to work on his mother’s project with Choi Seok Hyeon (Shin Sung Rok). However, the main reason for Gi Seo’s presence there is to apologize on Ji Min’s behalf and the journey begins.
Thank You embraces the essential nature of familial love, but also the way families affect one’s life as a peripheral aspect of the drama’s main core and the way it’s being reflected through our main figures. It emphasizes on unconditional love and caring, but also on the never-ceasing acceptance of hardships no matter how grandiose the obstacles may appear.
Setting insuperable love aside, the art of motherhood is being presented through maintaining an absent father’s amiable image for the child’s sake, but also by creating a partial and innocent unawareness of the child’s condition through a protective and articulate approach for the child and everyone else. It’s responsibility’s heartwarming approach which turns the drama’s fragile nature into an emotionally eloquent world.
Thank You depicts the struggles of a single mother in a soulful splendor of ever-expanding emotion. Even nowadays, many societies haven’t fully accepted the fact that a woman can raise a child on her own and it’s still being considered a societal taboo. Thank You takes it to a wider extent and multiplies the impact it leaves upon society’s ignorance and hypocrisy through the drama’s fragile characteristics.
It’s a world where a kindhearted and hardworking mother will never be enough and every time she turns her back some mouths are always ready to start talking. People are people and they prefer to talk about others instead of taking the time to stare in their own mirror and find out where it gets blurry and the reasons why. Instead of sincerely approaching one’s problems in order to offer a devoid of pity helping hand, people will always prefer to create outcasts in order to preserve the deceptive peace of mind of a stagnant, ignorant and eventually pathetic and ludicrous normality.
Being a single mother in charge of a family consisting of a demented grandfather and a child infected by HIV while living in the countryside takes courage, tons of courage, heart and soul and Thank You presents everything which derives from it in a masterful and multifaceted way. The real problem surfaces the moment the child’s condition gets revealed and a modern form of ostracism traumatizes an already wounded family to a wider and immoral extent.
Thank You also presents people’s cruelty through the eyes of an innocent child who was forced to conceive what isolation, ignorance and discrimination mean and the way they affected her life when it comes to socializing, schooling and even existing. It vividly presents how the world of adults can poison childhood’s dreamlike essence, but it also reflects how knowledge and information can awaken through a sincere and moving approach under difficult circumstances.
Plato said that ignorance is the root and stem of all evil and Thank You preserves it to the fullest. However, under circumstances ignorance may be bliss and it was presented through the eyes of the grandfather who was yet another child embracing reality through his own prism. It was proven to be a great defense mechanism keeping him safe from emotional harm, but it was sporadically surrendering to the heavy rain of dreadful events.
Thank You shows how affection and humane experiences can change one’s life, but it also depicts how the harsh face of reality can forge a sacrificial state of mind and heart where one takes everyone else into consideration except for herself. It also presents the sense of loss through one’s mourning while being unable to bid farewell the deceased, but there’s also the ongoing healing process as the circumstances and human relations soothe the heart and make it pound anew with meaning and emotion. Thank You ardently nurtures the redefinition of one’s self, step by step and with emotional intelligence.
One would probably expect Thank You to be a desolate journey, a blight in motion, but this isn’t true. As much as heartrending it was, it was equally heartfelt, but there were tremendous amounts of laughter when you least expected it simply because Thank You flows naturally through shades of reality without feeling tedious or forced. Becoming pretentious would be one of the drama’s most severe pitfalls, but it never happened as it masterfully weaved its web in order to collect and exhibit emotions and not entrap them.
Director Lee Jae Dong (I Miss You, The Spring Day of My Life) honored his lenses by maintaining a natural ambiance through angles and perspectives throughout the drama when it comes to the surrounding environment and indoors shooting. There was a certain warmth in the use of lighting during nighttime. Minimal but spreading out at the same time, it always managed to adorn the characters’ feelings along with the closeups which were making their internal world more vibrant.
Writer Lee Kyung Hee (I’m Sorry, I Love You, Will It Snow for Christmas?, The Innocent Man, Wonderful Days) gave life to a concrete scenario where everything and everyone possessed their own dynamics. Thank You appeared thoughtful, sincere, realistic, moving, emotional and humorous as a natural counterweight to the sentimental burden. The soundtrack and especially the instrumental acoustic compositions were enriching to a wider extent a scene’s emotional foreground and eventually completing it.
Thank You was a soulful testimony on Gong Hyo Jin‘s behalf who was breathing endlessly as Lee Young Shin and everything the character preserved. Her smile was brighter than a thousand suns and it could conceal reality’s gloom, but it was also a means to strengthen and encourage her loved ones. Her shattered internal world was being reflected through her ductile facial expressions which were often being held back by the sense of responsibility. Every time her emotional devastation was inevitable the lakes within her eyes were always paving the way in an upright torrent of emotion.
Jang Hyuk poured heart and soul in Min Gi Seo’s darkened horizon while in search for the light at the end of the tunnel. After all, Jang Hyuk is an actor who can break apart in a noble way since he can handle perfectly well his facial expressions. He can overly exaggerate any time he wants to and in an exceptional way, but he knows when he has to and when he must present a minimal yet meaningful approach and that’s what he mainly does in Thank You. He’s not only renowned for the moments when he’s being overran by emotion, he can dance on both edges even at the same time and his humorous lines and the way he interpreted them were one of the drama’s main laughter explosions and i will never forget his love-hate relationship with the dog!
Shin Sung Rok shone through his character’s twofold nature and Choi Seok Hyeon’s ongoing internal conflict was always present even when it was trying to remain hidden. It was an expanding collision between one’s restrained emotions and actual decisions accompanied by the impact they left upon himself and others. There was chemistry floating all over the place and the acting was exceptional in Thank You‘s world, after all it’s Gong Hyo Jin, Jang Hyuk and Shin Sung Rok we’re talking about, but maybe, just maybe, Seo Shin Ae and Shin Goo as Lee Bom and Mr. Lee were stealing the impressions with their purity and emotionally penetrating presentations. Humorous and heartfelt and with an excessive sense of chemistry both between themselves and everyone else they were the salt and pepper of the drama.
The secondary figures were distinctive as well! Who can forget the emotionally indigestible but humane deep within love to hate but eventually hate to love figure presented by Kang Boo Ja as Seo Hyeon’s mother and who would ever set aside Mrs Song’s one-sided love the way it was filtered through Jeon Won Ju‘s interpretation? There were also the naive, exaggerating and kind of grotesque Park Taek Dong (Kim Ha Kyun), the hilarious, humble and emotional Park So Ran presented by Jo Mi Ryung whom we’ve witnessed in different roles lately in Secret and Mr. Back and the considerate and quirky doctor figure of Oh Jong Soo (Ryu Seung Soo). And i shouldn’t forget to mention Mrs. Song’s quirky son, Song Doo Sup (Kim Ki Bang), the limited but spot on presence of child actors and actresses, the distinctive parental approach of both Kil Yong Woo and Hong Yeo Jin in the roles of Min Gi Seo’s father and mother and the impact they left upon him and Choi Gang Hee and Kim Sung Eun as Gi Seo’s girlfriend, Cha Ji Min, and Seok Hyeon’s fiancee, Seo Eun Hee, respectively.
Thank You is a miniature of society, broken but valuable, sincere but also deceiving, raw but also dreamlike and hopeful. After the drama is over, you can only say Thank You.