When South Korean star Son Ye-Jin picks a script, it is said that the project will become a hit. However, if you’re not an avid fan and are just getting acquainted with her work, this is the best time to do so, as the actor celebrates her birthday on 11 January 2023. Be it the 2019 hit Crash Landing On You (CLOY), the critically acclaimed movie The Negotiation (2018), or the contemporary love story April Snow (2005), Son Ye-Jin movies and TV shows are a treat to the eyes and the soul.
Deftly covering romance, action, thriller and historical genres, Son has delivered some of the best movies and K-dramas in the last few years. Not only has she earned high ratings with the TV show Something in the Rain (2018) — even after a five-year hiatus — and won six Blue Dragon Film Awards, but two of her films, Be With You (2018) and The Last Princess (2016), have also been screened at the 2020 Korean Film Festival. Such is her charm that, Son Ye-Jin along with the movies and TV shows she has starred in have become global household names.
Of late, Son has also been choosing unconventional scripts. The CLOY actor recently starred in the 2022 Netflix original series Thirty-Nine — a poignant portrayal of the life of three friends working towards finding happiness in their 40s. Recalling her decision to take up Thirty-Nine, Son had told Soompi in a 2022 interview that she “liked the script that sufficiently expressed life, existence, death, love, and the joys and sorrows of life.”
The South Korean actor, who is supposedly the nation’s first love, married actor Hyun Bin and became a mother to a baby boy in 2022. As she continues to entertain audiences with an array of characters, we think that now is the best time to revisit some of her best on-screen works.
Check our complete list on K-dramas to watch!
(Hero and featured image: Courtesy CJnDrama/Twitter)
Directed by: Lee Jung-Hyo
Other cast members: Hyun Bin, Seo Ji-Hye, Kim Jung-Hyun
Release date: 14 December 2019
Synopsis: The story starts with Heiress Yoon Se-Ri (Son) of South Korea crash landing in a quaint North Korean hamlet after a paragliding mishap. She is rescued by soldier Ri Jeong-Hyeok (Hyun Bin), and the two fall for each other as the story progresses. Even though they aspire to be with each other, several circumstances pose a threat to their blooming love. The intriguing plot, cross-border scenarios and family drama make Crash Landing On You an interesting rom-com.
(Image: Courtesy NetflixANZ/Twitter)
Directed by: Ahn Pan-Seok
Other cast members: Jung Hae-In, Jang So-Yeon, Jung Eugene, Joo Min-Kyung
Release date: 30 March 2018
Synopsis: This JTBC original revolves around the story of Yoon Jin-A (Son), who unexpectedly gets a chance to reconnect with her friend’s younger brother Seo Joon-Hee (Jung Hae-In) after many years. The two soon fall in love. However, the road to togetherness becomes tough, as a society that stigmatises older women dating younger men comes into the picture.
(Image: Courtesy Something in the Rain/IMDb)
Directed by: Lee Jang-Hoon
Other cast members: So Ji-Sub, Kim Ji-Hwan
Release date: 14 March 2018
Synopsis: The story follows a dying woman named Soo-A (Son) who promises to return to her husband Woo-Jin (So Ji-Sub) and son Ji-Ho (Kim Ji-Hwan). Miraculously, she is able to keep her promise made to her family and returns after a year on a rainy day only to find out that she is unable to identify them.
(Image: Courtesy Be With You/Viki)
Directed by: John H. Lee
Other cast members: Jung Woo-Sung, Baek Jong-Hak, Lee Sun-Jin
Release date: 5 November 2004
Synopsis: The story revolves around the blissful marriage of the 27-year-old fashion designer Soo-Jin (Son) and her doting husband Chul-Seo (Jung Woo-Sung). However, Soo starts suffering from forgetfulness and later becomes a patient with Alzheimer’s. This is one of the rare Korean movies that portray characters in all their tenderness and might.
(Image: Courtesy A Moment to Remember/IMDb)
Directed by: Kim Sang-Ho
Other cast members: Jeon Mi-Do, Kim Ji-Hyun
Release date: 16 February 2022
Synopsis: This slice-of-life TV drama tells the story of three best friends Cha Mi-Jo (Son), Jeong Chan-Young (Jeon Mi-Do) and Jang Joo-Hee (Kim Ji-Hyun) who stick by each other through thick and thin. A perfect pick to watch with your favourite girlfriends, the plot further thickens as the protagonists try to live their best life while being on the brink of turning 40.
(Image: Courtesy lim_hyoseon/Instagram)
Directed by: Lee Jong-Suk
Other cast members: Hyun Bin, Kim Sang-Ho, Jang Young-Nam
Release date: 19 September 2018
Synopsis: This action-drama follows the story of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s promising crisis negotiator Ha Chae-Yoon (Son) who is tasked with finding the real agenda of kidnapper Min Tae-Gu (Hyun Bin) within 12 hours. However, the plot takes a turn when the negotiator realises that the kidnapping has been done to protect the people from a supposed conspiracy.
(Image: Courtesy The Negotiation/IMDb)
Directed by: Lee Suk-Hoon
Others in the cast: Kim Nam-Gil, Yu Hae-Jin, Lee Kyoung-Young
Release date: 6 August 2014
Synopsis: This Korean movie follows the story of a group of pirates led by Yeo-Wol (Son) and is based in the Joseon Dynasty. When bandit Jang Sa-Jung (Kim Nam-Gil) and his group run into Yeo and her pirate mates, the fight to catch a humongous whale that had swallowed the Emperor’s royal stamp becomes inevitable.
About the movie: During the 2014 Cannes Film Festival’s Film Market, The Pirates was sold to 15 countries, including the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Japan.
(Image: Courtesy The Pirates/Viki)
Directed by: Son Hyeong-Seok and No Jong-Chan
Others in the cast: Lee Min-Ho, Kim Ji-Suk, Wang Ji-Hye
Release date: 31 March 2010
Synopsis: The story follows the hilarious banter between an inquisitive Jin-ho Jeon (Lee Min-Ho) who pretends to be gay in order to experience the way of living with a woman. In a quick turn of events, Gae-in Park (Son), a woman unlucky in love, becomes his room partner.
About the show: The MBC drama is based on the 2007 novel Gaeinui Chwihyang by Lee Sae-In.
(Image: Courtesy Personal Taste/Viki)
Directed by: Park Chan-Hong, Cha Young-Hoon
Other cast members: Kim Nam-Gil, Ha Seok-Jin, Lee Ha-Nee
Release date: 27 May 2013
Synopsis: Also known as Shark, Don’t Look Back, the show follows Jo Hae-Woo (Son), a reluctant heiress turned prosecutor. While she tries to manage this new journey in the field of law, Han Yi-Soo (Kim Nam-Gil) enters the scene. Motivated to take revenge after losing his father because of Jo Hae-Woo’s family, he ends up falling for her.
(Image: Courtesy Don’t Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus/IMDb)
Directed by: Hur Jin-Ho
Other cast members: Bae Yong-Joon, Jeon Kuk-Hwan, Lim Sang-Hyo
Release date: 9 September 2005
Synopsis: This Korean drama series follows the story of In-Soo (Bae Yong-Joon) and Seo-Young (Son) who deal with their partners’ illicit affairs. Being cheated in their respective relationships, both Soo and Young try to heal their broken selves together.
(Image: Courtesy April Snow/Viki)
Directed by: Hur Jin-Ho
Other cast members: Park Hae-Il, Yoon Je-Moon, Ra Mi-Ran
Release date: 3 August 2016
Synopsis: This period Korean film starts with the last princess of the Korean Empire, Princess Deokhye (Son). While on her way back from Japan, where she had been pursuing higher studies, she was captured and held hostage. The princess fights tooth and nail to get back to Korea with the help of her military friend Kim Jang-Han (Park Hae-Il).
About the movie: It is based on Kwon Bi-Young’s celebrated novel Deokhyeongjoo (2009).
(Image: Courtesy The Last Princess/IMDb)
A PhD research scholar, Sushmita is a full-time writer and a part time poet. Clashing and colliding with words since childhood, there was nothing better than writing she could do to make a living. Notepads are Sushmita’s one true love — the unbothered victims drowned in the ink of her pen. An avid fan of K-pop and K-dramas, she mostly writes about Korean culture and entertainment. When not writing, Sushmita is dancing, reading, collecting books, learning about fashion, art, motion pictures, and appreciating BTS.
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