Set up to be a standout K-drama, Little Women thrives in its dedication to storytelling depth
This review of the K-Drama Netflix series Little Women (2022) season 1 does not contain spoilers or any major plot points.
There’s a lot to like about tvN/Netflix’s Little Women. Its detailed, understatedly cynical storytelling is consistently engaging, while the show’s characters are full-bodied and intricately developed. Even with just two episodes released so far, plenty has unraveled, with adequate room for future twists and turns thrown in for good measure. Clocking in at just 12 installments overall, this K-Drama could go down as one of the year’s more enticingly succinct offerings should it continue its hefty momentum.
At the core of proceedings are three sisters who have grown up without money, limited by their working-class lives, yet somewhat hopeful for brighter futures. They’re all distinguishably individual when it comes to their respective personalities, yet so seamlessly fit together as a family unit.
However, such individualism causes all three sisters to become entangled in their own ordeals, ones that will undoubtedly become intertwined as time goes on, though leaves the trio facing their respective problems alone for now. In-joo, the eldest, is a sidelined office worker who is thrust into an investigation into 70 billion won’s worth of slush fund money that has disappeared after the death of Hwa-young. Middle child In-kyung has been suspended as a reporter for drinking on the job, but refuses to waver in her pursuit of the truth behind elite attorney Jae-sang’s actions in an old case that led to four suicides. In-hye, the youngest of the family, is a talented artist, which proves to be her downfall when the rich kid Hyo-rin uses such skills for personal gain.
At the moment, these narratives are set aside from each other, afforded their own time to breathe as the characters within them grow. Most fascinating has been the escalation of In-joo’s personal circumstances as she navigates life from being a worker isolated from the core group, to a person who lost her one companion due to the death of the enigmatic Hwa-young (a hefty windfall was afforded to the eldest of the Oh family here, however), to someone prodding into what could be a labyrinthine murder case.
The stakes are constantly being raised, the information we’re told switched around and repackaged depending on who tells it, all helping us feel just as confused-yet-determined as the protagonist we’re watching solve things on our behalf. Jung Seo-kyoung has always had a knack for depth in her scripts, this is no different.
Complementing the so far first-rate writing has been some impressive acting performances, particularly from the leads. Kim Go-eun is excellent as the aforementioned In-joo, a woman unsure of her place in a life only becoming more complex. Kim injects her performance with a spirited insecurity, which works alongside a bubbling curiosity in the office worker’s bid to find the truth about Hwa-young’s death. Similarly strong is the young Park Ji-hu, who is continuing her rise in stock following a breakout role in All of Us Are Dead, while Nam Ji-hyun proves herself as a solid choice for the middle child In-kyung courtesy of a depiction syringed with underlying vehemence.
Add to that some impressive cinematography which highlights the class differences between the poorer citizens and the one-percenters, emphasised by the show’s changing colour palette, and Little Women has all the tools to be a memorable show. Given that director Kim Hee-won and writer Jung Seo-kyung already have noteworthy respective careers, trusting that these tools will be used to craft something truly brilliant is certainly not a far fetched idea.
What do you think of the K-Drama Netflix series Little Women (2022) season 1? Comment below.