The 2019 JTBC drama The Light in Your Eyes (Eyes Are Dazzling/눈이 부시게 ) is a stunning viewing experience. In the span of its 12 episodes, you will laugh, you will cry, you will fall in love, you will be on the edge of the seat. But even more importantly, the series leaves us with a profound reminder of a few things.
The first is a common reminder that we should live our lives to the fullest and to live every day like it is our last. The other is perhaps the more important reminder. That is the dignity of human life and how far too often, senior citizens are robbed of that dignity in their twilight years.
The Light in Your Eyes begins with a supernatural bent. As a child, Kim Hye Ja finds a watch that allows her to rewind time. She uses this power for little things like learning to avoid her brother’s teasing or maneuvering a better score on school exams. The catch, however, is she ages faster with every turn back of time.
Now as 25-year-old woman (played by Han Ji Min), she uses the watch to repeatedly go back in time in order to prevent a tragedy. But after she is finally successful, she wakes up as a 70-year-old woman (now played by veteran and acclaimed actress Kim Hye Ja).
Hye Ja must now navigate this peculiar situation. She is now older than her parents. She can pass as grandmother to her older brother and two best friends.
There are many fun and amusing moments as Hye Ja struggles to adjust. But there are also many sad and poignant moments that reveal truths about our everyday lives and today’s harsh world.
The still-25-year-old Hye Ja meets and falls for the handsome Lee Joon Ha (Nam Joo Hyuk) who aspires to be a reporter. In addition to the extraordinary circumstance that befalls Hye Ja and Joon Ha’s relationship, Joon Ha’s relationship with his grandmother in the first third of the series gives a taste of the kind of emotional and heartbreaking stories we will see over the course of the series.
Things are not as they seem, however. And saying much more will ruin the experience.
But things take a breathtaking turn in Episode 10.
Everything leads up to this incredible episode that is equal parts fun, thrilling, action-packed, shocking, emotional and heartbreaking. It is arguably one of the most stunning episodes of television I’ve ever seen.
Everything converges in this episode and The Light in Your Eyes finishes up its last two episodes with several immense emotional punches that have everything coming together and falling into place.
The Light in Your Eyes focuses on many issues that the elderly face in today’s world. It also touches upon the effect those issues have on the elderly themselves as well as their loved ones. But the series also discusses life in general in interesting and unexpected ways.
The story is absolutely engaging and it rewards you with some stunning twists and performances as it reaches its climax.
The amazing ensemble cast brings this multi-layered and emotional story to vivid life.
Han Ji Min is able to balance the young Hye Ja with moments when she must be the older Hye Ja appearing as the younger version from time to time.
Nam Joo Hyuk shows off his versatility as Joon Ha. There are heavy moments where he truly shines in the series.
Ahn Nae Sang as Hye Ja’s father shares a nuanced portrayal of the character that pays off in the end.
Son Ho Joon as Hye Ja’s brother Yong Soo is absolutely hilarious, especially as he is often tasked with the most absurd and funny situations. But he too proves his versatility when he must shift to quieter, more dramatic moments. Still, his riotous performance helps lighten the mood when other parts of the series get much heavier.
Lee Jung Eun delivers an excellent, award winning performance as Hye Ja’s mother. Another nuanced portrayal has her navigating the conflicting emotions of her daughter now being older than her, but also the struggles of her own life and family.
But most certainly, the star of the series is veteran and acclaimed actress Kim Hye Ja as the older Hye Ja. Her fun and cute display at first turns into an absolutely commanding and tour de force performance later on, especially in the final arc. She leads the series and is the heart and soul of the story. An unforgettable performance by one of the best. And her 2019 Daesang for this role proves it.
The Light in Your Eyes is almost an essential viewing experience. The series presents some profound and thought-provoking reminders in a fun, but breathtaking and incredibly emotional way. The series’ depth and sincerity have you easily caring about these characters while keeping you guessing and fully engrossed in the twists and turns of the story.
A truly unforgettable and enlightening experience, The Light in Your Eyes is a must-see.