Fancy an app that helps you to discover your true love? Well, the new Netflix original K-drama Love Alarm revolves around such an app: When there’s a possible love interest within a 10m radius, Love Alarm will alert you of that special someone’s romantic notions.
But can an app – no matter how complex the programming is – determine a person’s feelings when anything and everything becomes a variable in the matters of the heart?
During a press conference in Singapore last year, director Lee Na-jeong (Fight For My Way, Oh My Venus) explained why she wanted to be part of the project.
“When we are in love, we are consumed by happiness. But sometimes, too, we are overwhelmed by feelings of sadness from being apart, as well as jealousy, which then bring out the ugly side of love.
“The opportunity to explore the many layers of love is what attracted me to Love Alarm.”
The eight-episode series is based on a popular 2014 Korean webtoon by Chon Kye-young (Unplugged Boy, Audition) and stars Kim So-hyun (Who Are You: School 2015, Hey Ghost, Radio Romance) as the main protagonist, Kim Jo-jo.
Audiences first meet Jo-jo when she is an 18-year-old student, leading a tough life living with her aunt after the deaths of her parents.
Despite the daily struggle, she exudes a positive vibe at school. Her exuberance soon attracts the attention of best friends Hwang Sun-oh (Song Kang) and Lee Hye-yeong (Jung Ga-ram).
While Sun-oh and Hye-yeong are competing for her love, Jo-jo is oblivious except for the fact that the app notifies her that two people are interested in her. However, she is not told who they are.
Actress Kim shared during the same press conference: “When I read the webtoon about people finding love through an app, I felt kind of sad as I thought there’s a bit of disconnection in a relationship found through technology.”
At the same time, the 20-year-old Australian-born South Korean admitted that she could relate to Jo-jo.
She explained: “My character is experiencing the emotion of love for the first time, and it reminded me of how I felt. I decided to tap into those feelings as I want to portray a living and breathing character with Jo-jo.”
Director Lee agreed with her star: “The app is fictional but the emotions showcased in the series are all real.
“When the Love Alarm rings, you see the app user experiencing emotions like getting butterflies in their stomachs, their hearts racing, etc.”
However, what both Lee and Kim want to showcase with Love Alarm is that technology should not be the most essential element when establishing a relationship. Kim elaborated: “Exploring a feeling through an app might be a starting point … But meeting face to face is absolutely important; and this is something I hope the audience will realise when watching the show.”