Ode To The Cast Of The Glory

The Glory Netflix, Netflix The Glory, The Glory Cast

I have made no secret about my love for The Glory. It's just that in the 20 years that I've been watching Korean dramas, this is truly one of the best shows ever that will be going into my personal hall of fame. And I'm not the only one since part 2 of the Netflix revenge thriller series has remained on top of the streamer's weekly global viewership chart for the third consecutive week following it's release. The reason for this is that The Glory is a high quality drama with a compelling story that is well executed and cinematically beautiful. I was particularly impressed with the entire cast because there are no holes at all in the acting even in minor roles which is incredibly rare. So I wanted to pay tribute to the main cast because they all pulled off their roles brilliantly.

Song Hye Kyo The Glory,  Song Hye Kyo Netflix, The Glory
Song Hye Kyo as Moon Dong Eun
Song Hye Kyo leads the cast as anti-heroine Moon Dong Eun who sets off an elaborate revenge scheme against the high school bullies. She leaves her comfort zone and delivers one of the best performances of her 20+ year career. She lost weight to appear emaciated and wore little to no makeup because her character isn't concerned about her appearance. Her acting style is nuanced in a way where she effectively conveys her character's emotions through her eyes, subtle facial expressions and physicality. This is something which many of her detractors don't seem to understand but she has received much praise for from many directors and her fellow actors. Viewers feel Dong Eun's steely resolve as well as the lingering pain that continues to drive her simmering beneath the calm demeanor she maintains especially when she encounters her former bullies. Director Ahn Gil Ho praised Hye Kyo as one of a few actors who can pull off being strong and fragile at the same time which is Dong Eun. And it's notable that many of her co-stars marveled at her acting skills and mentioned her generosity as a performer when they shared scenes with her as she had no problems with letting them shine which is rare from a star of her stature. Probably her finest performance since That Winter The Wind Blows.

Lee Do Hyun The Glory, Lee Do Hyun Netflix, The Glory
Lee Do Hyun as Joo Yeo Jeong
Joo Yeo Jeong starts off as a enigmatic character but as the drama rolls along, it's clear that he plays a pivotal role in Dong Eun's revenge. Do Hyun was an actor that I was more familiar with because I enjoyed his work in Youth of May, 18 Again, Hotel Del Luna, Youth of May.  Yeo Jeong has a duality in that while he may seem happy, trauma has  broken a part of him. He mentioned that this role was a challenge and I think Do Hyun did a really good job with showcasing the two sides of his character with a performance that was complex and emotionally resonant at the same time.And given the dynamics of Yeo Jeong and Dong Eun and what they've been through, it makes sense that he would help her. It's no surprise he's been continually praised for his acting skills. Based on a few chilling moments in this, I'd love to see him take on a dark role.

Lim Ji Yeon The Glory, Lim Ji Yeon Netflix, The Glory
Lim Ji Yeon as Park Yeon Jin
Park Yeon Jin is the leader of the group of bullies that Moon Dong Eun seeks revenge against. Shin Ye Eun plays the teenage version and Lim Ji Yeon is her adult counterpart Yeon Jin is rich and bullies people just because she can get away with it,. I wasn't that familiar with Ji Yeon's work aside from a supporting role in the film Luck-Key and a lackluster performance in High Society that she was panned for.  Her acting has definitely improved. Yeon Jin was an unflinching sociopath and every time she sneered, she looked so evil. I couldn't believe this was her first turn as a villain because she absolutely nailed it. The scenes between adult Yeon Jin and Dong Eun are some of the best and most satisfying in the series because of the contrast and tension between the two characters.

Park Sung Hoon The Glory, Park Sung Hoon Netflix, The Glory
Park Sung Hoon as Jeon Jae Joon
Jeon Jae Joon is one of the male perpetrators and like Yeon Jin he uses his money and privilege to get away with his nasty behavior. Park Sung Hoon is not an actor I was familiar with but he did a remarkable job with Jae Joon especially nailing how he hides his insecurity through his unhinged rage. He got his start in theater and apparently Jae Joon isn't even the worst character he's played since he was a murderer in another drama. 

Yeom Hye Ran The Glory, Yeom Hye Ran Netflix, The Glory
Yeom Hye Ran as Kang Hyun Nam
Kang Hyun Nam becomes an ally of Moon Dong Eun who helps her carry out her plan of revenge. I was as excited just as Song Hye Kyo was to hear that Yeom Hye Ran would be in this because she is a character actor who is amazing in just about everything she's been in and it's great to see her in more high profile projects. She was wonderful in Uncanny Counter and Chocolate and some may remember her as the repugnant aunt in Goblin. As Hyun Nam she delivers a most heartfelt performance and I found myself crying for her character as well as cheering her on. I loved the dynamic between Dong Eun and Hyun Nam and always looked forward to their scenes together.

Jung Sung Il The Glory, Jung Sung Il Netflix, The Glory
Jung Sung Il as Ha Do Young
Ha Do Young is the husband of Park Yeon Jin. He faces a dilemma when he finds out about his wife's bullying past from Moon Dong Eun who plans to use him in her revenge but not in a way you'd expect. Sung Il might be the biggest breakout star of The Glory but the veteran stage actor has been steadily working for a long time. He had a small but memorable role in Stranger 2 which prompted writer Kim Eun Sook to cast him as  Do Young. He was also really believably creepy as a villain in The Bad and Crazy. There is a viral Wong Kar Wai inspired scene with no words where Do Young encounters Dong Eun in the Go parlor that has everyone buzzing because of the crackling chemistry between Sung Il and Hye Kyo. I will say that it is intense and palpable and I hope we will see these two work together again. 

Cha Joo Young The Glory, Cha Joo Young Netflix, The Glory
Cha Joo Young as Choi Hye Jeong
Choi Hye Jeong hung out with the bully group and she could've been Moon Dong Eun if she didn't partake in the bullying and do Yeon Jin's bidding. I did not know Cha Joo Young as an actress at all before this and apparently she had to audition for her role many times over a span of two months which says something about the rigorous casting process of this drama. Joo Young hit all the right notes as a desperate social climber struggling to maintain her place.

Kim Gun Woo The Glory, Kim Gun Woo Netflix, The Glory
Kim Gun Woo as Son Myeong O
Son Myeong O is the other male perpetrator in the group. Like Hye Jeong he is also not rich so he follows Jae Joon and becomes his lackey. He is odious and feels like he is destined for better things. I've seen Gun Woo a few times before and he has always played characters who are not so nice in Fight My Way and Record Of Youth. In between the 2 parts of The Glory, I caught Gun Woo  in a romcom movie Ultimate Oppa where he was an adorable romantic lead that was like a total 360 from Myeong O so needless to say I was really impressed by his villain turn. 

Kim Hieora The Glory, Kim Hieora Netflix, The Glory
Kim Hieora as Lee Sa Ra
Rounding out the group of bullies is Lee Sa Ra, an artist with a drug addiction. I knew of Kim Hieora from her memorable recent roles in The Bad and The Crazy and Extraordinary Attorney Woo. She was chilling in the former and sympathetic in the latter. Though it seemed as if she came from nowhere, Hieora has roots in the theater. She really captured the essence and physicality of her character through her vacant gazes and intonation.

If you've heard about The Glory and are wondering if you should watch it, you should watch it. It's a record breaking international success for a good reason. The Glory is a highly satisfying emotional rollercoaster that is heart wrenching, suspenseful, and empowering at the same time. Amazingly there were even some moments that made me laugh. Everyone who I've recommended it to has enjoyed it.

Photos: Netflix


Hena Tayeb said...

I guess I'll be adding it to my watch list.

Emmylou said...

I am really so happy with the success of this show, chingu:) After evertyhing SHK has gone through with her personal life, it's awesome to read about her successes and the fact that she didn't let all the negative side of the business take her down.
Once I'm done with my anime phase, this is next on my list!!!!

Jackie Harrison said...

I need to watch this show love the characters thanks for sharing.

Ivana Split said...

Seems like this show has a great cast! I haven't seen it but I've noticed that it is trending. I like how it is starting a dialogue about bullying- a very important topic.