Hello fellow drama fan, and welcome [back] to another K-drama review. Today’s post features the 2012 drama “A Gentleman’s Dignity”.
The story follows four 40-year-old man as they figure out life, love, and the inevitable complications that come along with these.
Although it might be classified as a romantic comedy, it definitely emphasizes just as much on the comedy part as on the romantic scenes.
- Jang Dong-Gun as Kim Do-Jin
- Kim Ha-Neul as Seo Yi-Soo
- Kim Min-Jong as Choi Yoon
- Yoon Jin-Yi as Im Meari
- Lee Jong-Hye as Lee Jung-Rok
- Kim Jung-Nan as Park Min-Sook
- Kim Su-Ro as Im Tae-San
- Yoon Se-Ah as Hong Se-Ra
A gentleman’s dignity
Kim Do-Jin, Choi Yoon, Lee Jung-Rok and Im Tae-San have been friends since high school. Between the four of them, they share a bond closer than brothers.
Whether this is despite their different personalities, or because of them, could be debated. There is, however, no doubt that these friends are aware of and appreciate the value of a friendship such as theirs.
Kim Do-Jin (Jang Dong-Gun) runs an architectural firm known for its unique designs with nature as the overall inspiration.
Do-Jin refuses to take any cheap shortcuts and follows his principle of doing things the right way. Even if this results in disagreements with clients or loss of a contract.
Although this may make him sound like a dreamer, nothing could be further from the truth. Do-Jin has faced enough failure in his professional past to know that acting according to one’s conviction comes at a price.
Outside of work he is a ever charming bachelor with a long list of past girlfriends. He makes no secret of the fact that he is not interested in a serious relationship.
One day, however, he finds himself in a rare situation: He meets someone immune to his charm.
While sitting at a cafe and looking out the window, he spots a young woman standing outside. Their eyes meet but a moment later she is gone.
Soon after he has another encounter with a woman on the street on one of his photography expeditions around the city. He helps her out of a embarrassing situation but then looses track of her before he can obtain her name.
It is therefor with great delight that he discovers this mysterious woman to be a longtime acquaintance of two of his best friends.
Unfortunately for him, this happy feeling is short-lived. On its heel comes the realization that this woman is in love with one of his friends.
On the other hand, her feelings towards Do-Jin can be summed up as annoyance.
Initially in denial about the actual depth of his feelings towards her, Do-Jin nonetheless starts pursuing her.
Im Tae-San (Kim Su-Ro) is co-owner of an architectural firm with his friend Do-Jin. While his partner handles the designs, Tae-San prefers to be on location and oversee the construction itself.
Overall a fan of outdoors activities, in his free time he also enjoys being part of a baseball team.
Recently there is something else – or better said someone else – that has his undivided attention: A young professional golfer. Tae-San got introduced to her by a female acquaintance of his and was immediately smitten.
Choi Yoon (Kim Min-Jong) is the most serious and mature of the four. This could be equally attributed to his profession as a lawyer, as well as to the loss of a close loved one in the past.
Always acting as the legal advisor and representative to his friends, he has gotten them out of trouble on more than one occasion. Especially one of his friends seems to excel in getting himself in trouble of the marital variation.
On the other hand, when Choi Yoon gets together with his friends, he is involved in their little schemes and shenanigans just the same.
Lee Jung-Rok (Lee Jong-Hye) spends his days looking after several buildings owned by his wife. This includes a little cafe which has, over time, turned into the daytime meeting place for him and his friends.
The cafe is conveniently located on the ground floor of a high-rise office building. Said building houses both Choi Yoon’s law firm, and the office space of Do-Jin and Tae-San’s architectural company.
At night the four of them like to meet up at a nearby bar. The bar is owned by Jung-Rok, which he is intent to keep a secret from his wife.
Ever the womanizer, Jung-Rok keeps them all on their toes trying to avoid being discovered by his wife.
Although recently, his friends are becoming less enthused about his failure of staying on the straight and narrow.
A Gentleman’s Love
With the recent arrival of new faces and the return of old acquaintances, our four gentleman experience a definite shift in their friendship.
Could this be the start of another, more mature season in the life of these gentleman?
Seo Yi-Soo (Kim Ha-Neul) works as a ethics teacher at a high school and is very passionate about her chosen profession.
Known to be strict but kind, she has earned the respect of her class, including its troublemakers. Rather than just doling out random punishments, Yi-Soo aims to teach her students a life lesson.
Not surprisingly, a common background for these lessons is the baseball field, since she is a avid baseball fan.
On weekends, Yi-Soo often works as umpire at baseball games. This allows her to meet up with Im Tae-San and Choi Yoon, who she has become extremely close with over the years.
Moreover, Tae-San has been the object of her affection for a long time. But since he is obviously more interested in her roommate/friend, she is determined to keep her feelings a secret.
To make matters worse, Tae-San’s friend and business partner Kim Do-Jin has recently been making appearances at the most inopportune of times.
Much to her grief, and despite efforts to the contrary, she keeps running into him.
The Fashion Designer
Im Meari (Yoon Jin-Yi) is Tae-San’s much younger sister and an aspiring fashion designer. She especially focuses on designing and making bags.
Growing up, her life was always intertwined with those of her brother’s best friends. They in turn, treat her as their little sister, and feel extremely protective of her.
Meari is fine with their sentiment towards her, except for one of them: Choi Yoon. For years now she has been in love with him, and hopes he will in time return her feelings.
In accordance with Meari’s cheeky yet direct personality, she has not kept her crush a secret, much to the chagrin of her brother.
Though luck for him tough, because she also does not approve of his choice of romantic interest. She would much rather he date her favourite teacher from back in high school, Seo Yi-Soo.
Despite their age difference, the two have kept in contact over the years and become friends, rather than just student and teacher.
Hong Se-Ra (Yoon Se-Ah) is a professional golf player with a determined mind both in her athletic career and her personal life.
Treated by some within the industry as a has-been, Se-Ra trains hard to make it back to the top. She also takes great pride in getting their on her athletic merits. Although some people constantly accuse her of using her good looks to further her career.
This may in part be due to Se-Ra’s preference for the finer things in life, including expensive clothes, shoes, and other accessories.
Through an introduction by her roommate/friend Yi-Soo, she was able to meet Im Tae-San.
He is everything she hopes for in a potential boyfriend. His confident manner is a perfect match to her own personality.
The only downside is his occasional overprotective demeanour born out of jealousy over the attention Se-Ra receives from other man.
Park Min-Sook (Kim Jung-Nan) is a confident business woman and force to be reckoned with. Something her husband Lee Jung-Rok knows all too well.
But despite first impressions to the contrary, Min-Sook is a fair person with a big heart. With a matter-of-fact attitude, she is quickly on hand to help right any injustice.
Her husbands escapades are a repeat cause of emotional suffering for her. Because even after spending years in a rocky marriage, she continues to love him.
On the other hand, this does not prevent her from frequently threatening him with divorce. So far her lawyer, Choi Yoon, has managed to dissuade her from actually going through with these threats.
Unbeknownst to Min-Sook, her husband’s friends feel increasingly torn between loyalty to their friend, and admiration as well as pity for his wife.
I’ll try and keep this part short. Emphasis on “try”. 😉
“A Gentleman’s Dignity” had me taking turns laughing, swooning (you’ll understand once you see Jang Dong-Gun’s smouldering eyes), and even wiping away some tears.
The story is such a adequate mixture of comedy, romance, heartfelt moments, and above all, true friendship. Plus, Jang Dong-Gun and Kim Ha-Neul’s chemistry is perfection.
In addition, “A Gentleman’s Dignity” has one of the most cringe-worthy yet adorable proposal scenes in K-Drama history. Featuring Lee Seung-Gi’s famous song “Will you marry me?”, and the drama’s cast, it is definitely a memorable drama moment.
Furthermore, we get to enjoy cameos by Jung Yong-Hwa (CN Blue), Sooyoung (Girls Generation) and Juniel. And last but not least the presence of Kim Woo-Bin as one of the cast.
In conclusion, I hope to have interested you in “A Gentleman’s Dignity”.
Until we drama again,