Enemies To Lovers: “Love To Hate You” Drama Review (Netflix)
A hot-headed feminist crosses paths with a misunderstood gentleman in Netflix’s new feel-good romantic comedy Love To Hate You. The 2023 drama spans 10 episodes, with a generous balance of wit and charm between the main characters. Director Kim Jeong-kwon, whose filmography consists mostly of romance works, took the risk of making an unusual pairing of characters who ended up having wonderful chemistry.
Yeo Mi-ran, played by Kim Ok-vin (The Villainess), is a feisty lawyer and martial arts hobbyist who, after dating over 100 men, has come to the conclusion that it’s warranted to doubt all men’s sincerity. Meanwhile, Nam Kang-ho is a top actor (Teo Yoo: Vertigo, Leto) who has never had any dating scandals and is viewed in the public eye as a respectable man. But after Mi-ran has an unlikely encounter with Kang-ho, she misinterprets his intentions and sets on a path to bring him down.
The drama felt a bit shaky in its introductory episodes, but started to formulate its premise and become more engaging after the first couple of episodes. Even so, the actors’ performances were solid and well-executed throughout.
Initially, the key romantic pairing was following the enemies-to-lovers route, with Mi-ran signing a contract to pose as Kang-ho’s girlfriend in order to counter rumours about his sexuality. This storyline quickly melted into a simple romantic plot as Mi-ran and Kang-ho catch genuine feelings for eachother. The pacing was a bit rushed but smoothed out in the latter end of the series, and the two main actors’ on-screen chemistry was undeniably stellar.
A likeable and perhaps rare quality about Teo Yoo’s character is his scepticism towards his ex’s attempts to win him over. With the exception of Mi-ran, he is not swayed by anyone. This parallels nicely with Kim Ok-vin’s character, who is headstrong and refuses to be looked down on by any man. The characters’ personalities both oppose members of the opposite sex because of their complicated pasts, until their figurative closed doors end up opening again solely for the other. It’s rather cliché, but believable.
The final major conflict begins at the end of the penultimate episode, and is followed by a few small unexpected turns, but is eventually wrapped up with a pleasant but predictable ending.
There were a few glossy moments on the cinematography side of things, including some close-up shots of Kang-ho’s face pressed against the glass to project a perspective from the floor beneath him. A shot of Ko Won-hee’s character Shin Na-eun inside a hand dryer, and face close-up shots in high-tension scenes. The cinematography, alongside the jazzy scoring in the opening credits, sets the attitude for this slightly mischievous drama.
Overall, Love To Hate You has a decent grip on the audience by the end, and plays with themes like women’s equality in a way that isn’t too in-your-face. The drama contains some satisfying wins for feminism and puts to shame the oh-so-real situations women face on a daily basis. Many of these moments are tied in with the series’ witty humour – often subtle – and as a result, it is a comforting but realistic watch.
Written by Maddie Armstrong
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