Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo (2017) by Kim Eun-hee

"Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" is a must watch drama due to its praiseworthy cast and its interesting plot line



"Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" is just the first tv drama that Kim Eun-hee pens after she co-written the award-winning "The Queen's Classroom." Writer Kim Eun-hee follows successfully the pattern of blending different genres and makes a part-historical and part-modern romantic comedy that is also a fantasy time-travel medical drama with elements of melodrama and suspense. This odd genre combination is partially the main reason that makes this drama compelling to watch.

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The story of "Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" revolves around Heo Im (Kim Nam-gil), a skillful acupuncture doctor who during the day works at Haeminseo treating low-class citizens and secretly at night he treats high-ranking officials in order to gain money. Due to his exceptional skills, he is proud to treat the King of Joseon, despite his low-class background. As this day arrives, he finds a needle case that catches his eyes and decides to treat the King with that. His hands start to shake and he fails to fullfil his mission. Being then chased by the King’s guards he falls in the Han River and he finds himself in the modern Seoul. Here in modern Seoul, he crosses roads with the surgeon Choi Yeon-kyung (Kim Ah-joong) who works at Shinhae Hospital who she also despises oriental medicine.

"Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" has an utterly interesting and solid plot with very few exceptions and some questions left answered. Moreover, the scriptwriter adopts a refreshing way to implement the time-travel element make the drama plot-wise to stand out from other similar time-travel dramas. This is non-other than the fact that both leads find themselves to an entirely new world for them and forced to get accustomed to it, delivering genuine laughs to the viewer. Furthermore, with this new aspect of their life, it comes to their growth as human beings and the discovery what is truly important to them.


Additional, the acting by the cast is noteworthy and especially Kim Nam-gil as Heo Im is remarkably exceptional. Everyone that has watched his previous projects won’t be surprised by his immense acting. Easily, he can be considered one of the best actors of his generation as he has a great scene presence and charisma. This approves is also in this drama, as he pulls off excellently well all scenes, from the comical ones to the heart-whelming ones without making his character seem like a caricature. Furthermore, he is an actor who acts also with his eyes and these clearly show his character’s dilemma and his torn apart heart as he has to choose between helping people of Joseon as a doctor and staying at modern Seoul by the side of his love Choi Yeon-kyung. Regarding the role of Choi Yeon-kyung was a great choice to be given to Kim Ah-joong, as she portrays the strong-willed and determined surgeon in utterly convincing and natural way.

What is more, the chemistry between the two leads is remarkable. Not only do they demonstrate an authentic connection of their characters in intimidate scenes but also in funny ones. The duo never fails to impress with their scenes together. One of the most outstanding scenes that stay engraved in the viewer’s mind is the one that the two protagonists transferred back to Joseon and Heo Im figures out the connection between the transfers. Then, Choi Yeon-kyung tries all the means to get herself back in modern Seoul, causing genuine laughs to the viewer.


Director Hong Jong-chan pays attention in the action scenes also. These scenes are impressively well-made and give the vibe of the values of cinema. Even though these scenes are genuinely rare, never less they are technically articulate and quite brutal. Especially, fascinating is the sword fighting scenes with the artificial blood having a great resemblance to true blood. The only drawback regarding the technical execution is during one scene evolving accident in the final episode.

Speaking of the final episode, "Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" also fails a little in the delivery of its ending which could be more powerful and show a greater will by the characters regarding their choices. Regardless, "Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" is a must watch drama due to its praiseworthy cast and its interesting plot line – two skillful doctors from different timelines despite their obvious initial differences, endeavor to save the lives of their patients and at the same time to save their love.


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Asian Film Vault: Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo (2017) by Kim Eun-hee
Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo (2017) by Kim Eun-hee
"Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo" is a must watch drama due to its praiseworthy cast and its interesting plot line
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