See You in My 19th Life season 1 review: Korean romance drama is a mixed bag

See You in My 19th Life follows Ji-eum, a woman who remembers all her past lives and wishes to reunite with the boy she loved in her 18th life. All episodes are now streaming on Netflix.

Story

At the age of nine, Ban Ji-eum suddenly remembers all her past lives. This happens to Ji-eum in every life; this is her 19th life. This time, when Ji-eum remembers everything, her first thought is to find out if a boy named Seo-ha is still alive.

In her 18th life, Ji-eum fell in love with Seo-ha, but their love story never got a happy ending, as she died at a young age when the two of them got into an accident. Ji-eum finds out that Seo-ha survived the accident and is in high school now.

Ji-eum intends to reunite with Seo-ha, and to do that, she runs away from home to live with Ae-gyeong, the woman who was her niece in her 17th life. Ji-eum grows up dreaming of being with Seo-ha once again. 

Eventually, she gets the chance to meet Seo-ha when he returns to South Korea to renovate his mother’s hotel. Will Ji-eum be able to rekindle their romance when the ghosts of the past still haunt Seo-ha?

Performances

Shin Hye-sun is the star of the show without a doubt. She is just as charming as she is entertaining. She plays the part of the quirky character to perfection; it is hard to tell where the actor ends and the character begins. 

On the other hand, Ahn Bo Hyun fails to impress. His portrayal of Seo-ha does not bring out the character’s emotions, especially his sorrow. Due to this, it often seems like Seo-ha’s character lacks depth.

Ha Yoon-kyung and Ahn Dong-Goo give adequate performances as Cho-won and Do-yun. Cho-won’s childlike personality is likable, and Do-yun is convincingly calm and collected.

Positives

Apart from Shin Hye-sun’s performance, Ji-eum’s character is so easy to like because of the writing. The character’s portrayal gives the audience plenty of amusing scenes that deliver the entertainment that the show promises.

There are some beautifully shot scenes that enhance the experience of the audience. Additionally, the eye-catching sets will make them not want to miss anything onscreen.

Ji-eum has lived 18 lives before this one. The show does not just tell the audience this but also gives them glimpses of these lives in every episode. The sets, the costumes, and the attention to detail in the depiction of those past lives are praiseworthy.

Rebirth is not a unique theme in romantic dramas. However, this show’s take on it is nuanced. Remembering one’s past lives also means remembering everything that they have learned in their previous lives. 

This makes the person wise and supremely talented at a young age. Despite that, remembering one’s past lives is depicted as a burden, as one accumulates pain worth several lifetimes along with wisdom.

Negatives

Ji-eum and Seo-ha’s love story is a bit underwhelming. There is nothing that makes the audience believe that Ji-eum, who has lived many lives, fell so deeply in love with a boy that she dedicated her next life to meeting him, and Seo-ha cannot forget the love that he felt at the age of eight.

Furthermore, if the chemistry between the two actors had been good, the show could have managed to convince the audience of their unforgettable love. However, that is not the case.

Initially, the subplot regarding the accident creates intrigue, but its ending is anticlimactic. Similarly, the show wraps up the other subplots, like Cho-won and Do-yun’s story as well as Chairman Mun and Seo-ha’s differences, in a hurry to give everyone a convenient happy ending.

Verdict

See You in My 19th Life is a drama that is full of highs and lows. It is surprising, entertaining, and amusing at some times and underwhelming at others. 

See You in My 19th Life season 1
See You in My 19th Life season 1 review: Korean romance drama is a mixed bag 1

Director: Lee Na-jung

Date Created: 2023-07-24 11:57

Editor's Rating:
3.5

Also Read: See You in My 19th Life season 1 finale recap, review & ending explained

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