K-ent Critics and K-netizens Finally Validate Nam Joo Hyuk Calling His Character and Performance in Twenty Five, Twenty One a Career Making Turn

Sometimes timing is everything and I would rather that his time came now than wonder why it isn’t earlier. K-ent is calling Nam Joo Hyuk‘s turn in Twenty Five, Twenty One a career defining one, in that despite his year in the industry with many male leads under his belt this is the role and performance that will afford him an additional measure of success. The role is so well received and his performance alongside it, in ways that didn’t both happen at the same time before. As a fan since his debut years it’s weird to see this happen for this drama and role since I think he always had this inside him but better now than never I guess.


K-ent Critics and K-netizens Finally Validate Nam Joo Hyuk Calling His Character and Performance in Twenty Five, Twenty One a Career Making Turn — 47 Comments

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  2. His acting is still awkward to me at times, but there’s no doubt this is his best role yet. The character is beautifully written with enough facets for him to shine and be memorable. He did it all while being devastatingly handsome at the same time. Happy for him really. Even Bona is really good here. 2521 looks set to become one of those nice dramas deserving rewatches. The writing has held up going past the midpoint and Im just hoping they will keep it strong to the end to tell a good story of first love.

    • Agree, there’s a few scenes in 2521 where his acting was pretty awkward, like when he was surprised and gasped. Doesn’t look like he was actually surprised. I think his acting was better in Start Up.

      • Very true. I loved 2521 but I felt his acting was awkward at times.
        like when he gasped at seeing Naa He Do in the restaurant and when he hugged her to apologize for being late to their cinema date. I’m watching Start Up too and his acting is quite awkward. He’s very handsome and I love him but watching Start Up made me realize I have to just admit it.

        Its as though he can’t fully immerse himself in the character. His Celebrity Bromance show with Ji Soo felt better and more natural

    • I Don’t think this roles is his best roles. It’s the light in your eyes roles for me when he shows a much emotion of sincerity. But This roles really increase his popularity.

  3. I don’t think NHJ’s acting skills magically improved so much as he landed on the perfect character to play. Baek Yijin just suits him and his acting style to a T.

    Some actors just need have the character fit for their acting to shine.

    • his acting skills didn’t magically improve, but they have been improving slowly but steadily for years now. the most staggering growth was in the light in your eyes, and he has been consistently delivering solid performances since then.

  4. he’s been trending like crazy in korea for his ‘first love’ visuals and matching his character. if his next drama does well, we’ll finally have a popular top actor in their 20s outside of park bogum and exo d.o.

    • Ahn hyoseop is also a good actor in 20s and Seo kanjoon,kim minjae and yeo jingok also you only know 2 names of actors in 20s? I guess you only watch famous dramas I watch dramas with these actors too they are also known for good acting

      • they’re talking about a TOP actor in their 20s. think the level of star power that the likes of hyun bin, song joong ki, lee min ho, yoo ah in, lee jong suk have. park bogum is the only one i can think of from the 20s line.

      • That person is obviously talking about STAR POWER. The kind of actor who brings in not only ratings but buzz, trends across all age groups, and is likely a CF star. Like Kim Soo Hyun, Gong Yoo, Park Seo Joon, Lee Min Ho level. Park Bo Gum is the only actor in his 20s that can be listed here.

      • D.O is a pretty decent actor but to me he doesn’t have that “it” factor yet. He’s more of the boy next door type like Park Hyun Shik or Choi Woo-Shik, but who knows in the future.

    • there shortcome when comes to actor in 20s compare to top actor in 30’s in term of acting skill n popularity. tbh i think Park Bogum is only actor in 20s when comes to skill n fames. D.O. is widely critical acclaim among idol actor and i think he need one more hit drama to be same level with Park Bogum.

  5. I can’t be objective with his acting because I find him so dreamy haha! I’ve been following him through all his dramas (the only one I didn’t watch is Habaek), and always felt like even though he’s awkward many times, he has a warmth that just gets to me. Maybe it’s his choice of characters, which are usually nice boys. I even rooted for him in School 2015, probably the only one doing so. Happy he’s getting some love after the Start Up clusterfuck.

  6. is do on the same level as bogum? this is news to me. i know he had a hit with 100 days, but isn’t bogum on a league of his own?

    as for njh, he’s probably going to enlist now, so his next project will be a couple of years from now. wish he could ride this momentum into a new project, but there will no doubt be a lot of anticipation for his return drama owing to the success of 2521.

    • I wouldn’t put him on the same level as PBG. D.O’s last drama was a hit in korea, but I think he’s closer to being the 90s Yoo Ah In
      as he’s more active in the film industry. PBG is on another level since he has more than 1 national hit, and he’s a hallyu actor too. The closest to PBG seems to be Nam Joo Hyuk actually as he already has quite a lot of dramas that generated buzz internationally too like Weightlifting Fairy, Startup, and now this drama. Maybe Song Kang too as long as he keeps on being the darling of Netflix.

      Honestly, it’s going to be really hard for the 90s actors as the 80s ones generate a lot of buzz by themselves and can headline a drama on their own while the likes of NJH and Song Kang rely on their co-stars. NJH has improved a lot (and has a great eye for dramas both in quality and in showcasing the best of his abilities) so maybe he can do it in future dramas. As of now I think of Yeo Jingoo and Lee Dohyun as having a lot of potential. But the former is not really a romantic actor while the latter has a long way to go in terms of popularity.

      • I think Lee Do Hyun has the greatest potential. He has talent, looks, height and is a stan attractor. NJH has potential too, but he needs another hit drama with a different image from his previous characters. Song Kang is a stan attractor but is not a good actor. Yeo Jin Goo is more on the critically-acclaimed side because he lacks the visual and it factor that popular top actors have.

      • @lai hmm does lee do hyun have the looks? he’s cute but in that boy next door kind of way. i think if he hits it big, it will be with his talent mostly.

        and i know what a stan attractor is in a group, but what does it mean for an actor to be a stan attractor?

  7. He actually oroved his acting in ‘ The light in Your Eyes’ . He really improved steadily and doesn’t disappoint people who roots for him as an actor

    Can’t say the same about AHS, Lee Sung Kyung, etc who seems to be at a standstill

  8. Oh Nam Joo Hyuk – in the beginning he kept getting lead roles and it was all criticised but this is one story of someone who was lucky to get the opportunities but also tried very hard each time. It took him a while but he got there. And if you wonder why, since there’s so many others with better acting chops but never got the limelight – i think for actors there’s always this x-factor, this likeability intangible where you just get a little more space for mistakes and somehow still audience give you chances and root for you – and he has that. And still kudos to him for never taking that for granted and challenging himself each time.

    • I’m a firm believer in the wow factor coming into play, but the dude is a good looking guy and that is also a big component of what kept getting him opportunities. I give him absolute credit for honing his craft and in his company and himself for picking some solid and diverse drama selections.

    • That’s very true. I was pretty critical of NJH’s acting in the past but there was something very endearing about him that made me root for him anyway.

    • Agree with you on the x-factor/likeability. It’s the same with idols. And even in Nsync – outing myself as a millenial here- Justin Timberlake got the audience attention when JC Chasez was just as hot – maybe even hotter- and could sing so much better than Justin. The majority of the vocals were split between the two. JC’s voice had a lot more emotion, soul, and range.

  9. So far this is the best kdrama lately. Hope the writers will continue to amaze us, hoping that in the middle we will not get bored. The leading male role is so good , I like his character here and together with all the cast. Twenty five twenty one, I will rate as 9/10 as of now.

  10. Personaly, I don’t find him specially attracting, his looks rest more on his body than his face for me. So the close-up on on his face don’t work on me :p

    But I think for once he suits his character well. I don’t feel his own natural shyness in this role.

  11. I love how all of the cast are having so much fun with their characters and making them apart of them. Some may say it’s awkward in some parts but I call it comedy. The best reactions to those moments and so humane ones. I think Nam JooHyuk really shines in this drama and he is playing his character so well! This team deserves everything! Fighting 25/21

  12. For me this is the NJH drama, I’ve never been a fan, he’s looks are fraet but I’ve never swooned. But Baek YIjin has got me swooning left and right, I’m legit getting lost in his eyes LOL

  13. I have followed NJH from a long time. Although his facial expressions were not top class, I felt he conveyed all his emotions in his eyes. Or perhaps I’m distracted by his good looks. I find him incredibly good looking but he has this warm likability that always comes through in is characters. I have never looked him up or watched his variety shows (so don’t know his personality in real life) but I always rooted for him to succeed and overcome the critics. 2521 is just swoony and he is hitting the right notes. I knew he could do it and was really enjoying his performance, but I’m glad that he is finally getting some credit.

  14. One of Korean acting coach, the most difficult to teach are models or started as models. They are naturally stiff and most of them have difficulty breaking the mold.

    That is Nam Joohyuk. I don’t think he is bad though. I actually like in Start Up & Habaek but I don’t think it’s easy for him to real actor. It may take awhile but he is continuously improving.

    Am I the only who thinks Kim Taeri lacks mass appeal?

      • Kim Taeri to me is a good actress. She is like the female version of Kang Hanuel. Both are good actors but lack charisma and mass appeal.

      • I don’t think Kim Tae Ri lack charisma. Kim Tae Ri showing ton of charisma and screen presence in 2521 alone. Her potrayal is strong and subtle. compare to KHN, for me Kim Tae Ri definitely above him in terms of talent based on KTR performances alone in 2521. KHN just bit lacking of sincerity despite has good technique.

  15. This role really is perfect for him. 2521 is Kim Tae-ri’s drama for me but NJH is holding his own and has made a very endearing character.

  16. I’m so glad he’s finally getting recognition! He’s been doing well acting-wise since Light In Your Eyes. It was just unfortunate that his character was overshadowed in Start-Up, which proves that second-lead roles are worth taking on sometimes. It all depends on the writing for those roles. He does suit the works-hard, understated, humble, and slightly awkward characters more and that’s not a bad thing. We’ve got lots of talented actors and actresses who have their strengths and weaknesses or go for certain character types.

    Casting doesn’t always rest solely on talent, but fit. Likeability also plays a role as someone mentioned above. It’s interesting listening to podcasts of American tv shows and hearing how people get cast in certain roles and how actors bring a part of themselves into the roles. I remember listening to a podcast episode about the Good Place and you need a likeable actress like Kristen Bell to play a female lead who is a self-centered, terrible human being who eventually evolves in a good one.

  17. I do like him but he isn’t a great actor yet , it’s just that his roles fits him . Not to mention that he has an endearing look that makes people fall for him .

  18. he actually managed to topple taeri off the top spot in the gooddata buzzworthy actors ranking this week. that’s pretty huge!

  19. This drama is such a PERFECT match for him! Just really enjoying how he’s brought this character to life and given him heart. Really, really enjoyable to watch.

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