So here’s a little backstory of my relationship with Kang Ha Neul as an actor, I first saw him in 2013 when he came out in the drama Heirs, he didn’t catch my attention, his acting was quite forgettable, and I thought he was just some random new actor that I would never see again in another drama.
I then saw him again in Angel Eyes, but the drama was so awful I couldn’t finish watching it, and I honestly forgot he was even in the drama! (My sister had to remind me).
I later watched him once more in Scarlet Heart Ryeo, however, I completely detested his character, perhaps it was because I was more intrigued by bad boy with a mask Mr. Wang So. Regardless of the reason, he didn’t wow me with his acting or his looks. I told myself I would never watch another one of his dramas.
Back in 2019, I kept getting suggestions for the drama When The Camellia Blooms, I read the synopsis and it didn’t seem my style, I saw that Ha Neul was the lead and remembered how much I didn’t like him in Scarlet Heart, so I completely avoided the drama. That is, until my trip back from New York this March. I had just parted ways with Crash Landing On You and wanted to download a drama to watch on Netflix with my sister on the 6 hour flight back home to California.
After having seen clips on the drama on Instagram, I decided it didn’t look too bad and I would give it a chance.
MY BEST DECISION EVER, and it could also be YOUR best decision too.
If you haven’t seen that gem of a drama, I highly recommend you do and soon.
There’s a reason why Ha Neul won Best Actor at the 56th Baeksang Art Awards, there’s also a reason why When the Camellia Blooms won Best Screenplay and The Daesang Award.
You can only truly understand the reason if you watch the drama for yourself.
Kang Ha Neul plays the opposite of your stereotypical Kdrama male lead, so it can be hard to accept that type of male lead at first.
His character has an accent, he’s not very book smart, he’s not a chaebol, he’s not super pale skinned in a suit, with lip tint. Rather he’s presented to us as a normal dude from a small town called Ongsan who loves justice, can fight really well, and is just plain goofy but with a big heart.
His smile throughout the whole drama will leave you with heart eyes!
The way his character treats the female lead will leave you craving that kind of love and respect and care.
The script is really one of the best ones I’ve seen in Kdrama world.
It’s a very heartwarming story of a single mom, a woman who has been living independently almost her whole life, but lacks self-esteem and courage, but through the trials she faces in Ongsan and the friends she makes along the way including our charming male lead, she prevails and comes out as one the strongest most relatable female characters in Kdrama world.
As much as I LOVED Hyun Bin in Crash Landing On You, Kang Ha Neul just really showcased a new wonderful side of his acting abilities. He brought this wonderful character Yong Sik to life and changed the definition of “dreamy lead”. We learned that a dreamy Kdrama lead just simply needs to be a man with an extremely good heart and personality, no need for the money, extravagance, and extremely stylish looks or superhuman abilities.
Kang Ha Neul is now of my TOP favorite actors. I’ve watched his variety shows and have come to love his personality too. He’s definitely my kind of man now, my apologies to Ha Neul for judging him so harshly before!
Here’s a stupid edit I made of us during my spare time today after finding out he won best actor. I would CERTAINLY cast HIM as my male lead in the story of my life with ZERO HESITATION.
축하해요, 하늘 오빠!