Love to Hate You review: Mediocre love story aggravated by half-baked commentary

Love to Hate You, a Korean drama-cum-romcom, primarily follows the story of Mi-ran, an attorney, and Kang-ho, an actor, who fall in love despite their differences. It is currently streaming on Netflix.


Mi-ran, a lawyer, is convinced that she cannot trust men, and Kang-jo, an actor, is sure he will never be able to feel comfortable with women.

When she overhears his sexist statements in a parking lot and then finds herself in a position to work with him, she is determined to expose him and he is convinced that she caused an embarrassing fall. 

Instead, they grow closer in a cat-and-cat chase despite themselves and eventually fall in love.

Mi-ran’s roommate Na-eun and Kang-jo’s manager Won-jun also gain feelings for each other in the process of trying to protect their friends.

In the midst of unwanted rumors, media attention, and the mess of trying to keep it together, the four etch out a happy ending for themselves.


Teo Yoo’s performance as Kang-jo is nuanced enough; Teo’s stoic face and yet increasingly fretful movements capture the changes his character undergoes in a way that feels natural.

While details like these aren’t as apparent in Kim Ok-bin’s performance as Mi-ran, she deftly handles the difference between Mi-ran’s more playful moments and her role as a skilled professional.

Ko Won-hee’s portrayal of Na-eun, on the other hand, felt forced and exaggerated in parts and failed to leave as much of a mark. Kim Ji-Hoon’s performance as Won-jun similarly fell flat, and often it was the dialogue alone that drove any intepretation of his character.


The series had a few interesting visual parallels, such as the beginning scene where Mi-ran is laughingly running on the street compared to her apprehensively searching for jobs shot in a similar frame. They aid the fast pace of the series which adequately complements the slow burn of the relationships.


The storytelling is weak – at several points in the series, we get an insight into the characters exclusively in their narratorial voiceovers and by assuming that they will eventually end up together. It heavily relies on popular tropes and does not do much to innovate with them.

Furthermore, the show as a whole is weighed down by its extremely feeble attempts to portray gender politics. The causes of the characters’ negative attitudes towards other genders are only touched upon in short, intensely packed increments such as Mi-ran’s suspicion of Kang-jo being a pedophile and Kang-jo’s ultimately untouched attitude towards most women. They are never further explored.

Mi-ran is especially depicted as a supposed touter of feminine power and strength. She ends up coming across as a tokenistic symbol of a flawed idea of feminism: being “perfect” and achieving the respect of men, including her lover, by either being physically strong enough to beat them up or essentially living up to their own standards.

The dialogue, though lost in translation, was often abrupt and confusing at the most climactic moments. The post-production did not help the case of this series either. There is one surprising moment where Mi-ran publicly refuses Kang-jo’s proposal of marriage in the last episode, but it is resolved so quickly that the brief respite of intrigue is soon lost.

From artificially editing in a blush to playing animal noises during some conversations, it sends any ability to even simply appreciate the romance at first watch flying out the window.


Love to Hate You is perhaps fit for a mindless comfort re-watch, but the point of ten hours of repetitive and confusing advances towards an extremely predictable ending is likely to be lost in those still looking for a re-watchable show in 2023.

Love to Hate You
Love to Hate You review: Mediocre love story aggravated by half-baked commentary 1

Director: Kim Jung-kwon

Date Created: 2023-02-10 13:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Love to Hate You ending explained: Do Yeo Mi-ran and Nam Kang-ho end up together?

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