Origin and release year: South Korea (2023 – Happiness Battle/Battle for Happiness)
Korean title: 행복배틀
Starring: Lee El, Jin Seo Yun, Cha Ye Ryun, Park Hyo Joo, Woo Jeong Won, Son Woo Hyeon, Noh Ha Yeon, Heo Yul, Kim Seo A, Kim Young Hoon, Lee Je Yeon, Lee Kyu Han, Park Na Eun, Seo Byuk Joon
Director: Kim Yoon Cheol
Synopsis: A suspense drama depicting mothers engaged in a fierce social media battle to destroy each others’ happiness for their own, to free themselves from oppression, hurt, and secrets, and regain their true selves. (Han Cinema)
Another female-centric drama about rich people who have way too much time and money on their hands, spending it all on the supposed development of their perfect children. Add in a murder plot and this drama mixes the right amount of thrill and eye rolls at the lifestyles of the rich.
The casting in the drama was phenomenal. Each female character has her own innate power that they discover throughout the story, making for well-written character arcs.
Lee El as Jang Mi Ho was as impressive as ever. Her acting has always been excellent in an understated way that captivates the viewer. She’s inherently intriguing in every role and this one was no different.
One of the support roles that really stood out to this writer was the character Kim Na Young (played by Cha Ye Ryun). She had one of the most satisfying character arcs and one of the most satisfying storylines. She almost stole the show. Not quite. But almost.
Son Woo Hyeon also showed a sweet appeal in this drama. As one of the rising actors that’s on everyone’s lips this day – he lived up to the hype. This writer really hopes to see him as the lead in a rom-com K-Drama soon.
Of course, the other other actors were also on their A game. These were just some select choices.
Aside from the excellent acting, this drama did a good job with character dynamics and the overall rollout of the narrative was very well-balanced. The end left a little bit to be desired but other than that – this writer doesn’t have much to complain about.
Battle for Happiness was definitely reminiscent of the drama Green Mother’s Club and in that regard, if you’ve seen the other drama, it wasn’t phenomenal or mind blowing. It was just an entertaining and good watch. Each episode had you intrigued as you went on a Clue (or Cluedo – depending on which part of the world you’re from) style quest to figure out who murdered who in which room with which weapon.
There were a lot of politics between the wives in the beginning of the drama, which was lost towards the end. It would’ve been nice to see more of that being tied into the ending regardless of the shift in focus; however this wasn’t an overly huge problem regardless.
Overall the drama was pretty good and decent enough to recommend to anyone who likes this sub-genre of K-Drama.
What did you think of Happiness Battle? Let us know in the comments!