I had this mini-drama (13 episodes, 20 minutes each) on my list to watch since it appeared, but somehow I ended up forgetting about it. The whole story wasn’t as dark as I expected, but it was quite surprising at times.
What is this drama about?
Koo Ae Jin, a high school student, is bullied at school because of her appearance, which does not fit society’s expectations. Every day she tries to live in the shadow and not get in anyone’s way. She has only one friend, with whom she eats lunch on the roof of the school. But Koo Ae Jin also has a secret that no one knows about. Strong makeup, fashionable clothes and computer photo retouching are the tools that transform her into Genie, a famous social media influencer. One day, someone starts threatening her with revealing her secret.
This was a really good mini drama. Such a school thriller. The many twists in the story kept me entertained and my brain tired. All the characters (maybe apart from one) were very interestingly created. I kept changing my mind about them. First I hated them, then I despised them, then I pitied them, and so on. A total rollercoaster of feelings. I didn’t know what to think about these characters anymore. There was a moment when I suspected everyone of having serious mental disorders.
I’m glad that the main character, despite her traumas and complexes, was quite normal, especially compared to her classmates. Although, I must admit, I doubted it several times. Like the entire Korean society, she saw herself and valued herself through the prism of beauty. She allowed herself to be forced into the role of victim and believed that she deserved nothing more. I guess it was a form of penance for herself for a situation that happened in her family when she was little. I like the fact that over time she was able to like herself without turning into a beautiful swan. The scene at the photographer’s was wonderfully normal and unique at the same time. This was the moment when she accepted herself with such incredible calm.
Nowadays, people are addicted to showing their idealized lives on social media and collecting hearts and likes on their posts. They judge all their friends based on what they see on smartphone screens, they have no need to really get to know other people. Of course, not all people function this way, but I have the impression that most teenagers do. Life is fast now and first impressions count. And the better your appearance, the greater your social success. I feel lucky to have grown up in a time without the Internet. It must be a nightmare these days.
I recommend the drama “Shadow Beauty” to anyone who wants a quick story, likes surprising plot twists and non-obvious characters. The acting was ok. The ending was surprisingly positive considering the initial atmosphere of the drama. Everything has been explained and the threads of each character have been closed.