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Navillera is such a unique experience. It’s centered around the atypical friendship between two people who inspire each other to follow their dreams. Inspiring, touching and heartwarming, the show takes you through a roller coaster of emotions. An unmissable ride!

SYNOPSIS:

The drama is about a 70 year old retired mailman who always dreamed of doing ballet. There is a 20 something ballet dancer who is going through a slump and has zero motivation to dance. Circumstances make them work with each other, thus taking them on the path of friendship, motivation, affection and all the while, inspiring others as well along this journey.

OVERVIEW, CHARACTERS AND THEMES:

Navillera has the power to make each and every scene so poignant and beautiful. Every scene is steeped with emotions and feels. The cinematography is gorgeous. The main theme of pursuing your passion regardless of age, as seen through the character of Duk Chul, is effectively portrayed. I loved Duk Chul! He is such a sweet, understanding, thoughtful person who influences everyone who comes in contact with him and that too in an understated manner. We see his journey tracing from the earliest days when he was a child who fell in love with ballet but couldn’t do anything about it, first due to his father’s pressure and later due to him getting busy with life struggles, trying to make a living and keeping his family life on track. The parents continuously make sacrifices, small and big, to take care of the happiness and success of their children. An important part of the show is to convey the parent-children relationship.

Then there is Chae Rok, who is constantly brooding and in a bad mood when we first meet him. Eventually we see that he has had a not-so-affectionate relationship with his father and he is also suffering from lack of motivation for the dance. Layer by layer, we see his sweet and caring side as he starts working as a teacher to Duk Chul. We witness him finding his passion again in company of Dok Chul who is full of energy and excitement and love for learning ballet.

I simply loved the special relationship between Duk Chul and Chae Rok. They care for each other, support each other, are not hesitant to point out each other’s mistakes and continuously inspire each other. You have to see the drama itself to see how beautiful their dance sequences are at multiple times — simply breathtaking!

Another of my favourite character was Ki Seung Joo, the ballet academy owner/instructor. He is subtle, warm in a subdued way. Kim Tae Hoon plays him so naturally and understatedly. I also loved his relationship with ex-wife So Ri — they give off such organic chemistry and you can see these are two people who have known each other from a long time.

We also meet other characters and each one imprints their unique identity in our minds even if they have smaller roles. Be it Duk Chul’s family members or Chae Rok’s friend Se Jong, or his frenemy Yang Ho Bum, or the orthopedic surgeon, or Jo Sung Ha as Chae Rok’s father. I found the brief interactions between Chae Rok and Eun Ho cute. I also liked that there was no unnecessary romance angle.

Navillera inspires us to believe that it’s never too late to start pursuing or doing what you love, to follow your heart. You can start over from anywhere. This is resounded not only from the two main characters but also from the side characters who are at different phases of their lives and aspirations. Even the tragic arc introduced in the show doesn’t make it a sad melodrama. At the end of this road called Navillera, we are left with a message of always finding and keeping hope. It’s really difficult to stop your tears while watching the drama, sometimes happy tears and sometimes sad tears.

PERFORMANCES:

Park In Hwan is the soul of the drama with his magnificent performance as Duk Chul, radiating so much warmth. Song Kang delivers a great performance himself, bringing the gravitas. Their camaraderie is all heart and amazing! The supporting cast is also brilliant.

BOTTOM LINE:

Navillera is a warm and touching portrait, showing us that it’s never too late to follow your heart and find and do the things that make your soul happy.

MY RATING: 9.5 out of 10