Page Turner Kdrama is the exciting coming-of-age story among three teens. Two are awesome pianists and the other an equally awesome sports athlete. It seems like a mismatch but it’s a heart-tugging and surprisingly funny story of tragedy and redemption.
Page Turner Kdrama Rating: 4.5 stars
You know it’s good when kdrama fans are a-wailing that the Page Turner kdrama is only 3 episodes. And after finishing all 3 episodes, I can now rate it at 4.5 stars.
I took off half a point because I had certain expectations of the ending that weren’t met. (See below for details.)
Page Turner Kdrama Trailer
Here is a trailer to whet your appetite.
You can imagine the anticipation I suffered through before it finally aired and got subbed! And before you think it’s a sobfest, think again! I’m still laughing at this trailer. That hair flip!
Daebak, right?! Daebak! OMG, is Ji Soo finally going to get the girl???!
Page Turner Kdrama Summary
Yoo-Seul (Kim So-Hyun) is a genius pianist who is number 1 in her world of piano. Coming second is Jin-Mok (Shin Jae-Ha) who burns to overtake his haughty rival. While the two are engrossed in their music, Cha-Sik (Ji-Soo) is making waves as an equally talented sportsman.
However, Fate takes a turn and Yoo-Seul loses her eyesight, Cha-Sik is barred from sports of any kind, and Jin Mok wrestles with a guilty conscience. All seems lost for Yoo-Seul who gives up her piano until Ji Soo announces that he will become a pianist.
Page Turner Kdrama Trivia
The writer for this drama is Park Hye-Ryun. Her name might not ring a bell but her works definitely will. She’s penned Pinocchio, I Can Hear Your Voice, and Dream High. I uber love these dramas so I’m doubly excited.
At the same time, who can’t be excited with a pairing by Ji Soo and Kim So Hyun?
Ji-Soo totally brings on teen angst and surprised the kdrama world with his amazing characterization of Bok-Dongie in Angry Mom. Bok-Dong stole our ahjumma hearts! And then he was Ha-Joon in Cheer Up where he broke our hearts once again with his perfect portrayal of an abused teen.
Ji-Soo was always broken and abused in his roles so drama fans are hoping he becomes happy and get the girl in his next dramas.
Next, I’m really glad that the main female lead part went to Kim So Hyun (and not her other contemporary child actress). *Cough* Kim You-Jung *Cough*
After liking both young female actresses and watching their dramas, I’d have to say that So Hyun is shoulders above in delivering a layered and complex performance. Under her belt are I Can Hear Your Voice, The Moon Embracing the Sun, and School 2015 to name a few.
Which suddenly makes me realize that So Hyun and Writer-Nim are reunited in the Page Turner kdrama. Huzzah!
Page Turner Kdrama Drama Review and Final Verdict
After watching all three episodes, I’d say Page Turner is one lucky show to have an amazing trifecta.
1. The writing was solid. It was pretty darn good, actually.
Writer-Nim delivered as usual. In this day and age where we drama fans keep getting disappointed over great dramas going awry, this is a huge huge deal. I am now a fan of Writer Park Hye-Ryun.
2. The directing/editing/cinematography was on point up till the end.
Everything was perfect for me. I did not perceive any breaks, awkwardness, or dragging moments. This is the mark of a great director who manages everything well. You know it’s good directing when everything flows smoothly together and you are not jarred even once from the dramaverse you are immersing yourself in.
3. The performances were awesome.
And best of all, the cast was simply awesome. The permances of the entire cast, in particular, Kim So-Hyun, Ji-Soo, and Shin Jae-Ha were superb. I loved loved loved them. I can watch them over and over and over. (Sorry about all the repeats. I just love this show to pieces!)
Yoo-Seul was a prickly hedgehog biatch who still inspired our love and sympathy. Ji-Soo’s character might have appeared like a dumb jock but he was actually insanely persevering, intellectually capable, and surprisingly discerning of other people’s feelings (especially Jin-Mok’s and Yoo-Seul’s mom’s). Jin-Mok played a flawed and conflicted villain whom we later came to cheer for.
(I cried when Yoo-Seul acknowledged him.)
These three delivered complex and layered performances. I love them!
Still, I protest the lack of Yoo-Seul and Cha-Sik cute moments in the end portion of Show. I demand justice! I demand Page Turner 2 or a Page Turner Special. Drama Gods, hear my plea!!!
And while you’re on it, please get a 16-episode full drama for Ji-Soo and Kim So-Hyun please. Pronto!
So for my final verdict, this is one of my favorite mini-series of the year. Heck, let’s make that all time. It’s lined up there with Splash Splash Love which I also absolutely adored.
Page Turner kdrama will make you cry AND laugh.
And laugh some more.
Below are my running commentaries from when Show was airing. 🙂
Page Turner Kdrama Commentaries
There are only 3 episodes to Page Turner so of course I’m doing commentaries!
Note: Keep away if you don’t want spoilers! If you want recaps, my fave blog Dramabeans has them.
I was so stoked for Page Turner kdrama that when I finally watched it, I felt underwhelmed. I think I set my sights too high and expected something like Heirs the ideal version. Something super eye candy and super shiny.
This feeling of being underwhelmed didn’t last long though. Long after I watched Show, I kept remembering key moments. I went through a slow realization that the writing and acting was very very good.
I’m in danger of writing a recap so I’ll just highlight the scenes that made an impact on me.
Here are the THREE THINGS I loved about Show right off the bat.
First off, I love So Hyun’s character.
On the surface, Yoo-Seul seems like a bitchy, entitled princess. It’s a result of her special title as number 1 of her class and her unique status as a piano prodigy. Still, as the story unfolds, we see that she’s just a regular teen after all. She loves her pink lip gloss, listens to Red Velvet’s Dumb Dumb on the radio, hates her finger strength exercises, and doesn’t want to cheat on her rival (even if her Mom orders her to do so).
I say these two together because I thought it was masterful editing. While other Shows would just show the past with a set-up episode (Goodbye Mr. Black) or put flashbacks on repeat (Kill Me, Heal Me), Page Turner used flashbacks as a tool to move the story forward and to reveal the motivations of the key players.
For example, during the piano blind test, as Jin-Mok performs with page turner Yoo-Seul by his side, we see “the” flashback from his childhood wherein a young Jin-Mok is resentful of Yoo-Seul’s mother’s critique of his piano playing.
In this context, we get to guess at the feelings that are going through Jin-Mok back in the present especially when he finishes his piece perfectly with huge hand fluorishes and a self-satisfied smirk.
But the flashback continues and we see how Yoo-Seul is discovered a prodigy thanks to events precipitated by Jin-Mok’s rudeness to Yoo-Seul’s mother.
We are brought back to the present again and we see Jin-Mok seething at Yoo-Seul’s playing. How ironic that the girl he belittled so long ago now held the top rank above him.
Watching Yoo-Seul in both past and present, I realized something. Bitchy Yoo-Seul activates always in defense of her mother. It’s funny how love and hate are separated by a thin line.
Third, Page Turner kdrama makes you laugh when you think you’re gonna cry
I really thought Show was gonna be a sobfest. Well, the events are still sad and heartbreaking, especially for the teen involved but I was so amazed when I found myself guffawing like a hippopotamus every time Show delivered the heartbreak.
For example, while Jin-Mok prayed to God to smite his bitchy rival, both Yoo-Seul and Cha-Sik suffered their own respective accidents. I should have been crying buckets when Yoo-Seul got hit by the car but MAN O MAN! Who wouldn’t die laughing at Cha-Sik’s nuts and balls getting hit by his pole? OMGGGGGG. I was dying. With laughter!!! I’m so mean, right???!!!
(And I also snorted at Jin-Mok looking askance when he got the call in the church that Yoo-Seul met an accident. He thought he had precipitated it!)
Later, blind Yoo-Seul meets Cha-Sik in the hospital corridors and has him bring her to the rooftop. (What?!!! Why are you bringing her there?!!) Unsurprisingly, she wants to off herself.
She cries, “Why are you concerned? I’m fine with it. It’s great that my eyes are like this now. I don’t need to see your disgusting face and I don’t need to see the sheet music that seem like cockroaches have been poured on it. I feel great. It’s almost a relief that my eyes are like this. But.. she still wants me to play. My mom says to play anyway. Even if my eyes are like this, she still wants me to play. She wants me to play twice, three times harder than I’ve ever had. What kind of mom is like that? This is all your fault. After you looked down on my mom 10 years ago, she changed from that day. If only it weren’t for you… Now I’m tired of it all. I’m tired of pretending to like the piano and I’m tired of hating you. The world with me in it must be terrible for you. It’s the same for me. So I want to stop everything now. Stay well, Seo Jin-Mok.”
With the sun gloriously shining on her countenance, she releases her hold on the railing and she free falls…. all of 5 feet into Cha-Sik’s waiting arms! Hahahahahahahahaha! He brought her to the parking lot instead of the roof! HAHAHAHAHA.
Seriously, I didn’t know how Show was gonna save her. I mean, she was FALLING. I thought maybe an airbag? A rope? Omggg. I laughed so hard!
There are other notable stuffs from the Page Turner kdrama like Cha-Sik’s laugh/cry breakdown in the street with his Mom (when his sadness finally overtook him), Yoo-Seul’s mother’s veteran acting performance, and there’s also Jin-Mok the character. I love the actor playing him. He’s great! I love that we don’t get a caricature of a villain.
And with Yoo-Seul proclaiming that she’s done with piano and Cha-Sik announcing that he’s starting on the piano, I am SO looking forward to the last two episodes. Bring it on, Show!!
Goodness! I finally got time to weigh in on the 2nd episode of the Page Turner kdrama. I actually watched it early when it was only partially subbed and OMG. As usual, I was guffawing and gasping and shouting with laughter. (I’m sorry, neighbors!)
I know it’s SOOOOO good because OnigiriJr. (who never watches my dramas) even actually joined in! Boy, did we laugh at Cha-Sik. So yeah. If I liked Episode 1, I can say with certainty that I LOVED Episode 2. Like, love love love LOVE LOOOVVE IT! I wanna watch it over and over again.
The problem with an awesome episode is you don’t know where to start. Man. I’ll have to pick 2 things.
Number one, I love Cha-Sik.
It’s so easy to write him off as a dumb jock but what dumb jock can learn all the composers, the music terms, and actually play Beethoven’s 9th in that amount of time??!
Only Cha-Sik! Now I realize that maybe he was a super jock not because he was simply a talented athlete but because his perseverance and determination are off the charts. (I’ve actually thought of Cha-Sik every time I feel like slacking at work. He’s my new inspiration!)
And did you see how Cha-Sik reacted to Yoo-Seul’s mom saying all those horrible things? He didn’t deny that he heard. He simply tried his best. (Another reason to make Cha-Sik my role model!)
And omo omo omo! Yoo-Seul’s mom called him a gangster. It was all that hair gel haha!
Number two, Yoo-Seul is starting to bloom like a flower.
I love the look and smile on Yoo-Seul’s face that is starting to creep up on her in Cha-Sik’s honest, unpretentious, and positive presence. Did you give a gasp too when Yoo-Seul suddenly clutched Cha-Sik’s hand in that scene with the vicious dog and master? I feel that that was the start of Yoo-Seul’s armor cracking around Cha-Sik.
I love their walks home with Yoo-Seul’s hand in Cha-Sik’s pocket. I loved the looks of bliss and joy when they’re together.
Best of all, I loved Yoo-Seul’s expression when she heard the boy playing Ode to Joy in his clumsy way. Disbelief turns to a glowing smile when boy tells her to play at the concourse with him.
Similar to my ending review of Cheese in the Trap, I’d have to say that I loved AND hated the Page Turner kdrama ending episode. But for different reasons! I loved the entirety of it. I loved watching every second of drama. But I hated that it’s over!
I’m picking three things to say out of a gazillion thoughts.
Number 1, our three leads ended up helping each other
I thought Page Turner kdrama was about who would get the girl and who would win a competition. But it was deeper than that.
In this drama, everybody (including the moms) grew and were helped along. Yoo-Seul found her smile thanks to Cha-Sik. Cha-Sik found inspiration and solace in Yoo-Seul. Jin-Mok found friendship and affirmation from Yoo-Seul.
Number 2, Cha-Sik eventually gets his much-needed insult/boost (like an earthworm being stepped on) from a surprising source
Cha-Sik kept asking Jin-Mok to insult him so that he would get angry enough and do an impossible feat — like what happened when he broke a sports record. However, nothing Jin-Mok said could rile him enough. That is, until Mom said frustratingly that she was a nothing Mom and couldn’t possibly inspire her son and that’s why he came up with the idea of Fake Celebrity Dad.
Cha-Sik says it’s the first time he’s ever gotten so angry. He was so angry that he was able to play his piano piece with Yoo-Seul at 135 BPM in front of his Mom (and the tunnel ahjussi).
On a side note, watching Cha-Sik get so angry made me realize…. Ji-Soo can do different roles well but his BEST performance is always as hurt puppy. My heart shatters in a dozen million pieces whenever he’s hurting and lashing out. Ji Soo is definitely one of the biggest breakthrough new stars of this year.
Lastly, the ending left me hugely unsatisfied. I want a Yoo-Seul and Jin-Mok ending scene!
I can appreciate the Page Turner kdrama in being realistic. It was already a miracle that Cha-Sik could play as well as he could so in keeping with what is realistically possible to achieve, it makes more sense (and resolves Jin-Mok’s issues) that Jin-Mok do the concourse in place of Cha-Sik.
Still! Realism be damned! I wanted our OTP to play. I wanted to see them get together as a couple.
The show hints at such a future. That someday, our OTP WILL get to play together again. That they WILL get together. But please! I wanted to see that with my own eyes. This is tantamount to Jung and Seul finding their happy ever after off-screen in Cheese in the Trap!!
Please, producers and Writer-Nim, give us a Page Turner kdrama Special at the least!! Kdrama friends, don’t you think we deserve one?!
May you have a Jin-Mok or Cha-Sik to support you in the sidelines,