CAST: Bae Suzy, Yang Se-Jong,

DIRECTOR: Lee Jung-hyo

“Doona” (also, Lee Doona!) marks the newest Naver webtoon adaptation produced for Netflix Korea and Studio Dragon. Under the direction of Lee Jung-hyo and inspired by the beloved webtoon created by Min Song-Ah, this series comprises nine episodes. It delves into a heartwarming coming-of-age romance, unraveling profound self-discoveries for two individuals in their twenties.

Doona!' Netflix K-Drama: October Release Date and What We Know So Far -  What's on Netflix

This Korean drama (K-drama), centered on themes of love, introduces us to the captivating character Lee Doo-na, portrayed by Bae Suzy, who also goes by the stage name Doona. In the series, the stunning former celebrity, Doona, once a beloved idol, made a bold decision to terminate her contract with the Dream Sweet group after a heartbreaking stage collapse. Now, her daily struggle is simply to rouse herself in the morning, having endured a mental breakdown triggered by the intense pressures of performing, a tumultuous relationship with her mother, and an unreciprocated affection manipulated by her manager.

Haunted by depression and burdened by self-loathing, Doona suffers in silence, her pain unnoticed and unacknowledged by those around her. To the outside world, she’s just the enigmatic girl living downstairs, inhabiting a sharehouse out of convenience, yet not rescuing herself from the depths of her self-loathing.

Is Doona! good? TV Show Review - A Good Movie to Watch

And then, into her life steps Won-joon (portrayed by Yang Se-Jong). As Won-joon makes the transition from rural life to the bustling city of Seoul for his inaugural day at college, his decision to reside in a sharehouse close to school exposes him to a world of fresh faces and novel perspectives on life that he had never encountered previously. In this unique setting, his new abode is a room within a capacious house teeming with an assortment of quirky individuals.

Amidst this diverse mix of personalities, Lee Doona plays a pivotal role. She becomes the catalyst for pushing him beyond the confines of his comfort zone, helping him shed the baggage of a past crush on a mutual friend.

Through their shared experiences, both Won-joon and Doona embark on a journey of learning and personal growth, with their lives becoming intertwined in the process. “Doona!” as a series revels in its chaotic and tumultuous melodrama, delivering precisely what you’d expect in that regard. While melodramatic moments do surface, they aren’t the driving force behind the narrative. Instead, it’s the intricate and tangled histories and futures of each character that breathe life into the series’ romance and storytelling.

Suzy, Yang Se-jong's 'Doona' premieres October on Netflix | ABS-CBN News

Lee Doona, once an idol, is a woman shattered by her past experiences. Her self-esteem lies in tatters, and she hungers for attention, although the reasons behind this desire remain elusive. Engulfed by self-destructive habits, from chain-smoking to neglecting her well-being, the audience is left pondering whether she’s content with wasting away.

In contrast, Won-joon’s innocence and naivety become a stumbling block. His views on morality and human responses lack the subtlety that life has taught Doona. His introverted nature clashes head-on with the essence of who Doona is as a person. The magic truly unfolds at the point where their lives converge. In this juncture, both Doona and Won-joon undergo a significant transformation. Their initial hardened responses to each other soften, and they embark on a mutual journey of learning and growth. The supportive circle of friends within the sharehouse plays a crucial role in shaping this evolution.

However, there are moments where this aspect can become somewhat bothersome. A defining characteristic of webtoons often includes the development of secondary couples and leads. Consequently, certain characters are relegated to serving primarily for romantic progression rather than their own character development. This tendency is especially pronounced in the context of love triangles within the series. While Won-joon undergoes personal growth as he lets go of his childhood crush, Lee Doona’s identity remains tightly entwined with her past manager, who occasionally intervenes in ways that may not always resonate effectively.

In “Doona!”, the series’ central character is far from self-assured; she grapples with vulnerability and conceals her anxiety and fear beneath an apathetic demeanor.

Doona: Here's Why Bae Suzy's Upcoming K-drama Could be More Than Just a  Regular Romance | Leisurebyte

The audience witnesses her journey as she navigates the complex web of emotions resulting from her experiences within the demanding Korean idol industry. In many respects, her relationship with Won-joon becomes a pivotal exploration of self-identity and a reflection on whether she wishes to be with him. Within the series, Lee Doona’s path is one of resilience, permitting her to stumble and yet continue her pursuit of dreams, whether they involve her affection for Won-joon or a return to the stage she once graced. The series’ gentle and heartwarming approach to nurturing her personal growth and self-discovery is both thrilling and deeply moving. Bae Suzy’s background as a former idol adds a distinctive perspective to the series, casting a sharp spotlight on its commentary regarding the intricacies of the idol-making industry.

As for Won-joon, Yang’s portrayal allows him to embrace vulnerability, shed tears, grapple with jealousy, and strive to become the person Lee Doona desires in her life. Initially perplexed, Won-joon is apprehensive and somewhat put off by Doona’s unique eccentricities and emotional instability. However, with time, he begins to view her as someone worthy of his affection, giving rise to those proverbial “butterflies” in his heart.

The underlying message of “Doona!” is a poignant one – you cannot rescue others. You can love them deeply, care for them, and make earnest efforts to help them break free from self-loathing. Nevertheless, until they learn to stand on their own, the fragility of their fear will continue to undermine any foundation. While the series adheres to traditional tropes and narrative developments in its first eight episodes, its finale delivers a powerful emotional punch. It underscores that a love story can indeed be about individuals discovering their desire for each other rather than an absolute need, a subtle yet profound distinction.

Occasionally, a happy ending doesn’t conform to conventional expectations. Sometimes, it’s about thriving independently and cherishing your love for someone in the depths of your heart, akin to a treasured scrapbook. “Doona!” intimately grasps this concept, with Lee Doona emerging as a heroine who ultimately rescues herself. Doona ! Streams on Netflix

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