Review: Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Genre: Romantic comedy
Written by: Yang Hee-seung
Directed by: Oh Hyun-jong
Starring: Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk
Number of episodes: 16
Average rating: 4.8% (TNmS)
Original network: MBC

(I’d love to apologise first for the low quality picture though, I will update it after I find a better one)

Hey guys! Before I start this really exciting review, I want to share a bit about how I was doing for these past 2 months. So I practically finished my first semester at college and my second semester will start in 2 weeks. I don’t know but I feel like I’m at the best state of life so far. I’m feeling really energised and I have several exciting plans I intend to accomplish. I can’t exactly say that everything in my life is going so well, in fact I have always been skeptical and cautious not to be swayed. But I really love this feeling and I hope it could last long and I wish the same for you guys as well. So now let’s get started with the review!

What’s it about?

This drama is all about the time of youth. The period of life when everything is new and fresh waiting for you to step into it one by one. Nothing is established, but you feel it’s just right to enjoy the moment. It’s about things like first love, dreams, and friendship. It’s so light yet beautiful that will touch everyone’s heart.

What to expect?

  • A light and bubbly plot
  • Real adorable OTPs
  • Touching small little moments
  • Cry and laugh at the same time
  • Body-shaming issue

What not to expect?

  • Serious and heavy story
  • Eye candies everywhere
  • Memorable soundtrack
  • Triangle love story
  • Being bored even at a single moment

My long review starts here.

Spoiler alert.

I’m really excited to review this drama because I enjoyed it so much. I think this is that one drama that everyone loves and talking about these days. I could say that I have average expectation for this one. I knew what I’m expecting as I’m not a big fan of romantic comedy but this just became one of my all time favourites!

The early episodes had been really cute and light as it basically introduced the characters with their lives and struggles. For the sake of not writing a thesis here, I will break this review into several parts focusing on 1 character each time.  I do need to be careful not making you guys bored but I seriously have so much to say about this drama!

The very first part surely has to be dedicated to our weightlifting fairy, Kim Bok-joo. I didn’t think I would love her this much at first. But then she started to grow into me as I find myself being relatable to her most of the time. Although never being mentioned in the show, I could see this girl as someone whose self-esteem being crushed at least once in her life. Not that she’s been bullied or anything as Joon-hyung said that Bok-joo always had many friends in the elementary. I think  she probably did it on her own. She mentioned that she was the only one in the class who could not play the piano when everyone else could and she probably had always been insecure about her weight although she is so much better now.  The part that has touched me the most is the competition which she won a gold medal. Just at the silent moment when she spotted the guy she liked (Jae-yi) watching her and smiling at her. We all could see it in her face, how her insecurity about her body is coming back. Now that it’s even larger and bulkier than before. I couldn’t help but tear up at that single moment she involuntary covered up her thighs with her palms. It gets me right there, how vulnerable and fragile that girl is at that particular moment. It’s so raw and honest at the same time. I’m not sure about everyone, but that is the kind of insecurity I always carry within myself. 

A woman who does weightlifting… may be impressive, but she isn’t exactly beautiful. Here’s the difference. The senior female weightlifters who have boyfriends don’t usually invite their boyfriends to competitions. We lift heavy lumps of metal. In that moment we can’t help but show our veins popping out, our faces getting red, our double or triple chins, and our belly fat sticking out from the bell. It’s so ugly. We say that our looks aren’t everything, being dedicated to achieving our dream is more important. However, it’s not something we want to show to the guy we like. So in some ways, choosing to be a weightlifter… might mean that I have to… give up living as a woman to a certain extent. That’s what I’ve been thinking. — Kim Bok-joo

Can anyone say it even better?

And how the wonderful first love will not always end the way you want it to, but rather left you something precious to remember and learn from. Everyone has been there before, with no exception of our strong little girl Bok-joo. It’s comforting and addicting to watch her growth and progress throughout this show, not only in love but also as someone who is soon stepping into adulthood. Coming to the end, the only thing I could say about this girl is I’m very proud of her. She had her lowest point where she felt like weightlifting as the most important part of her life was not as important anymore after the one-sided crush, her best friend (Joon-hyung) stepped away after their fight, and losing the coach whom she find the mother figure she never had. But she chose not to dwell in the depression to make herself worse than now. She chose not to give up of her life and led to a healthy recovering period which she faced with a positive attitude. As a weightlifter and as a beautiful woman, I’m proud of you Bok-joo ah.

I don’t really have much to say about Joon-hyung other than he is the boyfriend every girl in the world should have and wish to have. I see him as someone who loves Bok-joo so much but also respect her at the same time. He never directly went to solve her problems for her, but rather he supports her from aside believing that his girl is capable enough to stand on her own feet just like what he said to Shi-ho at the beginning. He probably found it to be the key to survive in his life. He did not spend his life resenting his mother who abandoned him. He chose to believe in his own strength to overcome anything life throws at him and we got the bright and lovable guy right there. I also love how he did not spend his time being confused after realising his true feelings for Bok-joo. He just came straight away with enthusiasm to tell her how he really felt. This guy is also deeply sensitive and empathetic toward others’ feeling. He is kind of short-tempered but you could always depend on him for your feelings. What I love the most from this couple is probably they make Bok-joo and Joon-hyung being best friends before being a couple. What’s greater than dating your very own best friend who has already seen all the bad and nasty sides of you, yet still love you with his/her all.

I also could relate to Joon-hyung so much in the sense of feeling like an outsider because everyone treats you so nicely.

Why can’t you see that… your consideration for others can hurt their feelings? You’ve always been like this. Ever since I moved into your house, you’ve been excessively considerate of me. Even when I broke your things, even when I drove your car without telling you and made a scratch, you didn’t even get angry at me. My friends would say I have such a great brother. But… it somehow made me sad. “I see.” “It’s because I’m not his real brother.” “I’m just.. a stranger being protected by this family.”. I know that’s not how you meant it. It must’ve been hard for you… to be understanding and considerate. But I hoped you would… get angry at me and sometimes beat me up like other brothers. That’s what I hoped for.

While it’s completely acceptable for Joon-hyung to feel that way, I kind of feel unfair for Jae-yi. I think he is a kind and considerate person at heart, just like his mother. He was not being considerate toward Joon-hyung alone but rather everyone around him. But there’s a bold line between consideration and love. Consideration is how you should treat everyone but love is something private only for your special ones.

If there is one thing I don’t like about this drama, it is the whole body stereotyping issue. At most times, skinny girls especially those in ballet, cheerleading, and now gymnastic are always being portrayed to have eating disorder. It’s true that they need to maintain their weight by counting calories in their meals or even to the extent of starving themselves during a competition. There are difficulties in every single sport, a weightlifter often has to go through the whole process of bulking and putting on weight like Bok-joo and it’s just as hard as losing weight. But the thing is, skinny girls are always those who have disorders while the others could do it healthily. Trying to lose weight for the sake of being skinny is not a sin. One could lose weight in a healthy way and be happy about it. I hate how Shi-ho is targeted as the stereotyping object here when her life has been that hard. I feel compassion toward her, how she does not even has anyone to talk to even when she basically does nothing wrong. She has no control over the problems in her life. I desperately wish her a happy ending more than anyone else in the drama. I wish to see her coming back as a girl who has once been a part of the national team and having the safe haven she could count on. But nothing of those happened though, I guess happy endings could not happen to everyone all at once?

Although I’m not a super big fan of the past few episodes. Not because it lacked of anything, but because of my personal wish to see more of Joon-hyung’s life. After everything he’s done for Bok-joo, it’s only right to give Bok-joo a chance to be there for Joon-hyung at the same way. But the execution of this part is rather rushed and too obvious. We knew that at some point Joon-hyung’s real mother would come out to add a new conflict. But it’s just too obvious that this is the only chance Bok-joo got to comfort Joon-hyung. I wished to see Joon-hyung’s training and competition. I wished to see more of his passion about swimming and how it’s the most important part of his life. And most importantly, while I love how Bok-joo and Joon-hyung are both striving together for their dreams. Bok-joo to become a world championship starting at Taereung and Joon-hyung to come to Taereung not only for Bok-joo but also for himself. I wish the show would give a longer time-slot to see their individual progress. But I would not complain too much because from this scene I learnt another side of why they are perfect for each other. Jong-hyun’s always uneasy of her adoptive family being too nice and considerate of him, but Bok-joo treats him just as it should have. She gets mad at him, she cursed at him, and scolded him when he’s walking the wrong path. She’s honest with him because she loves him just as  how Joon-hyung always treats her because he loves her. 

I just realised how much I’ve written already so I will just stop right here.


Objective: 9.5/10
Subjective: 9.7/10

Last but not least

This is my first drama in 2017 and it’s a really great drama that I can’t recommend enough to every single person out there. It has a light mood so it will suit everyone in my opinion. As someone who’s just exactly being at the same place, I learnt so much from them. And even if you have long past your youth period, this drama will definitely makes you smile at the nostalgia!


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