I've seen a lot of Korean dramas (have been watching since 2005) and I must say that Secret Love Affair is so far, the best. I actually put off watching it for several months because the title kinda turned me off and I didn't really care much for stories involving affairs. But I finally gave in when I read the many positive reviews and the raves from people who have seen the drama. When I finished episode 16 last week, I nearly slapped myself for not watching it sooner. Now I'm watching it for the second time.
I love everything about Secret Love Affair. I actually tried hard to find some fault but couldn't find any. It might not be some people's cup of tea but for me it's perfect. I took up piano lessons when I was in grade school until sophomore year in highschool so I have a big appreciation for classical music. Listening to Schubert, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Liszt etc. is pure listening heaven. The directing, writing, cinematography, musical scoring, and acting are excellent.
Secret Love Affair stars Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae. I saw Yoo in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and instantly knew that he's a good and charismatic actor. He's such a revelation in this drama and in my opinion he's the best among his contemporaries such as Lee Seungi, Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Jung Sook etc. His portrayal of the 20-year old genius pianist Lee Sun Jae who falls in love with his 40-year old teacher is so believable that after this role I might find it hard to see him play another character. That's how amazing he was. This is the first time I've heard and seen Kim Hee Ae but after SLA I'm now a fan and I want to see all her past dramas and movies. She plays Sun Jae's mentor and love interest Oh Hye Won. Kim is so beautiful, charismatic, and such a talected actress. Younger and more popular actresses will pale in comparison to her.
Another reason why I didn't want to watch SLA at first was because I thought that the age gap between the leads was too big (20 years). But surprisingly, it's the least you'd think of as you're watching it. Again, I would have to say that among all the Kdrama couples I've seen, Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae has the most amazing chemistry. They complemented each other. It was really a great match that you totally forgot about the age difference. I love this couple so much and would be surprised if they didn't win a best couple award.
Secret Love Affair isn't just an intense, dramatic love story. It's really more than that (you should watch it to see what I mean). The drama gets better as it progresses. Everything flows and there's never a dull moment. It's the type of drama that you should intently watch because you might miss something when you don't get to see or hear even a single scene and/or dialogue. SLA has a lot of memorable moments. I especially like all the scenes where Sun Jae and Hye Won are together. The scene where they were riding a motorcycle for the first time was not a particularly sad scene but it kinda made me want to cry. That's because of the hauntingly beautiful but sad background music and the couple's impossible situation that you can clearly see in their faces even if they weren't saying anything. I can't stress enough how great Yoo Ah In and Kim Hee Ae were in this drama and I'm expecting them to win awards. I also wish for them to do another drama or maybe a movie.
If you haven't watched Secret Love Affair, go ahead and do so. You're missing a lot if you don't because it really is a masterpiece.