Right out of the gate, a title like Forecasting Love And Weather is bound to inspire doubt. The actual (sensible) connection between the unpredictability of love and weather and the charm of office rom-coms aside, who would be interested in a drama built around a meteorological service? Most don’t even stick around for the weather forecast at prime time (no offense to the people who work there).
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And true enough, the first few minutes of the drama are drab. A young Lee Si-woo’s (Song Kang) enthusiasm about the weather makes you wonder how one person can be this interested in air-flow patterns and sea fogs. Meanwhile, imminent bride Jin Ha-kyung’s (Park Min-young) overly cautious, by-the-book, restrained nature sparks an annoyance about whether she ever will remove the stick lodged somewhere deep inside her.
Then, unexpected rain – both literal and figurative – leaves behind the petrichor of what, at least from the first two episodes, is shaping up to be a truly refreshing, emotive and sublime drama. Jin Ha-kyung’s world comes crashing down when she finds her fiance Han Ki-jun (Yoon Park) cheating, and Si-woo’s world turns when his girlfriend Chae Yoo-jin (Girl’s Day’s Yura) breaks up with him after months of disinterested dates.
It’s in these two developments – built up steadily, beautifully and contextually over the episode – that one realizes that director Cha Young-hoon and writer Kang Eun-kyung may have struck gold in their sublime connections between weather and love.
Take, for example, the second episode, aptly titled “Sensible Temperature” – a term that takes into account the actual air temperature and other factors, best known as the “Feels like” section of our weather app. As the country battles an unexpected cold wave in the month of May, Ha-kyung’s life “feels” similarly icy.
The presence of a senior employee assigned to her team indirectly challenges her authority as director, all while she comes to terms with having to share a workplace with Ki-jun, who is now married to Yoo-jin (yep, Si-woo’s ex). The unfazed Ha-kyung powers through, until she doesn’t, blowing up at Ki-jun for his infidelity and scheming ways in the middle of work. That’s the breaking point, followed by a spell of warmth and a shared drink with Si-woo.
Call it a plot device, but there is something poetic about witnessing how changes in the weather are equally as cosmic in pockets of everyday life. It becomes even more genius when one realizes that the story uses the weather as not just an inspiration, but also as a character that seems to live, breathe, change and warn the other characters. Better yet, Forecasting Love and Weather does this without ever getting preachy or taking itself too seriously, although credit for that also goes to its wonderful cast.
At this point, Park Min-young has become somewhat of a staple in office rom-coms, thanks to her brilliant work in Her Private Life and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. Yet, the prickly, proper, somewhat lonely Ha-kyung seems more nuanced than her other roles. Maybe it’s the fact that Park starts at a milestone that her previous characters would have considered the finish line – getting married – and struggles to find and challenge herself once again. The gravitas Park brings to Ha-kyung – first in her annoyance, then in her devastation – is delightful to watch.
Ha-kyung is given an endearing contrast by Song Kang’s Lee Si-woo, whose youth and naivete make you love and pity him at the same time. Song has been a Netflix mainstay for some time now, yet manages to set himself apart in every role – whether it was the gritty Cha Hyun-soo in Sweet Home, the serial flirt in Nevertheless or the passionate Lee Chae-rok in Navillera. Si-woo seems much lighter than his previous ventures, but Song’s little gestures and quiet moments provide a depth that’s immediately arresting.
In their second lead roles, Yoon Park and Yura provide great contrast – Yoon with the completely self-absorbed and money-minded Ki-jun and Yura with Yoo-jin’s misplaced self-righteousness and self-importance. By the end of the first two episodes, you know these two deserve each other – perhaps a marker of their acting chops. But we’re hoping there is more to them and their relationship than a unidimensional villainous arc.
With much of the story yet to unfold, it certainly will be interesting to see how Ha-kyung and Si-woo’s opposing forces – “two air currents that shouldn’t have met,” as she puts it – fuse together. Whether they sink or swim is anyone’s guess, but as the show puts it: “Both people and weather need time for you to get to know them better. The weather isn’t always bad. There are sunny days, as well as windy and rainy days. There’s always a reason for everything.”
‘Forecasting Love And Weather’ is available to stream on Netflix.