There is so much to say about My Liberation Notes, starring Lee El (Yeom Ki Jung), Lee Min Ki (Yeom Chang Hee), and Kim Ji Won (Yeom Mi Jung), as three siblings and a secretive stranger Son Seok Koo (Mr. Goo), working on their parents' Chun Ho Jin (Yeom Je Ho) and Lee Kyung Sung (Kwak Hye-Sook) farm, each with their own inner struggles but seamlessly connected in their apathy of living a monotonously dead-end life. From its opening, the My Liberation Notes is relatable in many ways of an ordinary family that seems to endure the test of life, and its many challenges one day at a time. It's not a family that communicates much, and when they do, it's about the necessity of keeping their lives moving.
I found myself unknowingly drawn to My Liberation Notes despite its sullenness, and I couldn't understand why until I realized the same screenwriter, Park Hae Young, also penned My Mister, one of the best dramas ever made. My Liberation Notes revolve around three siblings who couldn't be more different. Yeom Ki Jung (Lee EI), the eldest is the most vocal of her frustrations, outbursts, and complaints of her lonely, dead-end life. She seems desperate to find love, but not enough to change her ways. Yeom Chang Hee (Lee Min Ki) is the realist of the family. Despite being dedicated to his work, he is frustrated with himself for not being where he hoped, which has him wandering aimlessly through life. Yeom Mi Jung (Kim Ji Won), is the youngest, an introvert, who appears to have a good work life that offers a lot perks that aren't of interest to her though. She goes through life feeling unappreciated, whether at work, in her private life or even at home with her family. And, last but not least, there is the mysterious Mr. Goo, the farm hand, who spends his waking hours working on the field or the parent's workshop, and his nights drinking his gloom away.
I think what's appealing of this almost dreary family is that it depicts perfectly the pressures of young adult life and despite their fragmented relationship, I liked that the siblings hang out together, even if it's out of necessity. The scenes with the three siblings in a gliding cab were a great emphasis on their mindset and their fading lives, as they saw it -- hopelessly gliding through a purposeless life. Out of the three siblings, though, I admire most Mi Jung for her determination, unlike her siblings, to do something to change and liberate herself from her dull, monochrome life. Even if the action she decides to take is to make Mr. Goo worship her, hoping it's the change that may help her gain control over her. I hope her determination for change extends to her work life towards her passive aggressive boss and work colleagues.
My Liberation Notes is a quiet drama that doesn't need to fill the emptiness with unnecessary dialogue or scenes. Watching our leads and support cast in action, trying to find their way through the roads of life, as it challenges their courage, strengths, weaknesses, and faith, leaves a much bigger impression than any words could. As I watched, I could see the message it will try to impart through its journey is that we can either focus on the fact that things never go as we expect in life and let life pass us by, or we can make the best of the situation and know that these are only temporary setbacks and find the lessons to be learned. It's like the message is directed at me, to not forget that I have the power to change my life at any given moment. And the best part is having Lee Min Ki, Kim Ji Won, Lee El, and Son Seok Koo help me see it through. Watch episodes 1 & 2 here.