Audiences Of tvN’s “Under The Queen’s Umbrella” Criticize The Supporting Cast’s Acting

“It feels like Kim Hye Soo is carrying the whole cast on her back.”

Audiences are saying the supporting actors for tvN’s Under The Queen’s Umbrella aren’t pulling their own weight.

Kim Hye Soo | tvN

 Under The Queen’s Umbrella has become an instant success, pulling in high ratings for its inaugural two episodes.

Ratings per episode | Naver

Despite the fast start, according to news reports, audiences are noticing a drop-off in the quality of acting from the drama’s supporting cast.

Kim Hye Soo plays Joseon’s Queen Lim Hwa Ryung, who is the mother of five sons, her eldest being the Crowned Prince and anointed future inheritor of his father’s crown.

Kim Hye Soo as Queen Lim Hwa Ryung |
Bae In Hyuk as the Crowned Prince |

Queen Lim Hwa Ryung’s world falls apart when her eldest son falls under a mysterious illness, and she soon finds out that the illness may not be due to ill fortune but an orchestrated attack from none other than her mother-in-law and mother of the King, who supports one of the King’s concubines and her son to be the country’s next ruler.

The Queen realizes that if none of her children rises to become King, then all of her children’s lives are in danger. Therefore, she must play a delicate role between a doting mother and a literal King-maker.

Queen Hwa Ryung (Kim Hye Soo) with her son Prince Kae Sung (Yoo Sun Ho) |

Kim Hye Soo masterfully acts out the Queen’s many emotions. At times portraying a powerful force in the royal court and a Queen in charge of disciplining her Princes while at other times playing a desperate mother at the whim of her children.

True to her reputation as one of Korea’s best actors, Kim Hye Soo puts on a masterclass in acting, weaving her character’s complexities into a fabric of believability, one of both vulnerability and strength.

Unfortunately, it is this bar set by Kim Hye Soo, one of Korea’s most respected and revered actors, that, according to news reports, her princes falter in comparison. The princes are played by actors who are relatively fresh faces and whose portrayals seem one-dimensional.

The drama, to its detriment, plays out as a tale of two struggles, one between the Queen and her mother-in-law (Kim Hae Sook) and the other between Prince Seong Nam (Moon Sang Min) and his rival, Prince Ui Sang (Kang Chan Hee), who is the son of a concubine. The interactions between Kim Hye Soo and Kim Hae Sook (King’s mother) provide the greatest sparks, while scenes with Moon Sang Min and Kang Chan Hee (also known as Chani) fail to encapsulate the same tension and gravitas.

From left to right: Ok Ja Yeon (King’s concubine) and Kim Hae Sook (Queen’s mother) |
From left to right: Moon Sang Min and Kang Chan Hee |

According to news reports, audiences commented that “It feels like Kim Hye Soo is carrying the whole cast on her back” and “Prince Ui Sang’s acting needs serious help,” among others.

As the drama is only in its infancy, it is way too early to make any predictions, and despite its blemishes, Kim Hye Soo’s acting, on its own merits, deserves a watch. With this said, however, audiences will be watching for dynamics unique to a mother-and-son. Whether one of Kim Hye Soo’s Princes can arise to the occasion is yet to be seen.

Source: Insight

Under The Queen's Umbrella

Scroll to top