After enduring vicious bullying, orphaned student, Mind, attempts to take her life in hopes of escaping her problems. Miraculously, she survives with the loss of all memory and wakes up with a new life as she takes on the identity of Meen. Mind and Meen couldn’t be more different, of course, besides the fact that they are identical twins. Living as Meen, Mind is granted the opportunity to meet Natee, a young swimming athlete who is Meen's close friend, and Gunkan, a mischievous handsome boy at the school who later comes to help her recover her lost memories. But, as time passes, unveiling the truth causes her to feel more pain than she had ever experienced. (source: GMMTV ) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
- Namtan Tipnaree WeerawatnodomMeennara (Meen) / Manita (Mind)Main Role
- Krist Perawat SangpotiratNatee / NaMain Role
- Kay LertsittichaiGunkan (Gun)Main Role
- Jan Ployshompoo SupasapTidaSupport Role
- Jamie Juthapich IndrajundraArisara / Kat [Meen's friend]Support Role
- Ciize Apichaya SaejungLyla [Meen's Friend]Support Role
Great job, Kanittha Kwanyu!A Korean original (which I have not seen) and Kanittha Kwanyu as the director – these were two pretty good reasons for me to watch the show. And I certainly didn’t regret it.
First the things I wasn’t so happy about:
- The length. The original has 16 episodes of about 45 minutes, the remake has 18 episodes of about an hour. I really can’t think of a good reason why they had to stretch it like this. Cutting it down to maybe 15 episodes would have helped to avoid getting repetitive (some dialogue was repeated several times with only slight variations) and to keep up the high tension (the “revelations” were mostly announced way too early). I really can’t say that it got boring, but the storytelling would definitely work better in a shorter format.
- The antagonist. I’m sorry, but Tida was just too evil. Especially if the overall message was that at the age of 17 nothing is as serious as it seems etc., you can’t just put in such a psycho. She was not a victim of domestic violence herself (as far as we know) and she didn’t experience any peer pressure, so where ist the key to understanding her behaviour? Although her final moments were very strong, with everything that she did I feel like she needed to be cured in a psychiatric clinic. I refuse to believe that such cruelty could just be a simple character trait.
- In my opinion, they unnecessarily idealised high school as an institution, I really cannot relate with such a depiction of it. Especially when they were wishing goodbye to Mr. Q, it got pretty awkward. Maybe this is in fact the experience students in Thailand (or Korea) have, to me it seems unrealistic.
However, I really enjoyed everything else:
- The production value. It is pretty obvious that the budget for this was above-average, resulting in more episodes, a great ensemble of actors and amazing work in the technical departments. If it results in this, I am certainly able to forgive the annoying product placement!
- The soundtrack. Getsunova stands for quality when you need emotional songs, and they did not disappoint. Also the general soundtrack was really on point, a lot of effort must have been put into it. In some scenes it however went a little over the top and felt more suitable for an epic Hollywood movie than for a high-school TV series; less is more, I would say.
- The cinematography. As a fan of cinema, I do pay attention to the camera work. And generally speaking, (Thai?) TV series most of the time are pretty average in this regard, also because it is mostly not an essential element of the storytelling (after all, movies and series are pretty different formats). In recent years, “Theory of Love” really stood out with regards to cinematography, followed by the great “A Gift to the People You Hate” and now “Who Are You”. It wasn't that outstanding in this case, sure, but the frequent use of inclined camera angles was a memorable and impactful effect. Colours and lighting were also well-harmonised.
- The story. The first episode already played a nice game of confusion with the viewers, showing Meen'a and Mind's parallel, but very different lives, setting up everything that was to come. Afterwards, there were lots of “hints” dropped throughout the series, making it a really exciting experience that (almost) never got boring. I would criticise that after that much buildup, the “revelations” about Meen and June were not so surprising and fell a bit flat, mainly because of the length of the series. However, the series luckily didn't just focus on the stories of Meen and Mind. The side-stories, above all Gun's, but also Pete's, and even Lyla's, really added something relevant and were masterfully interwoven with the rest. Much of what happened in the series felt in one way or another relatable and realistic and there is certainly important messages to learn about friendship and family relations.
- The characters and their actors. I had already seen Namtan in several roles and she is definitely a strong actress. She delivered her role(s) very well, whether she was crying, being fierce or caring for her friends. Distinguishing between Meen and Mind wasn’t always easy though. Krist was definitely better than what I had seen of him before, playing a seemingly indestructible nice guy with a certain underlying sadness. Sing was very convincing as well, I felt his struggles a lot; he seemed so lost sometimes that it really hurt. The adults all delivered great performances (which isn’t always the case in GMMTV productions), except for maybe the mother, she seemed a bit unnatural to me in some moments. Mr. Q was a really interesting character, his initial shadiness soon made space for a striking idealism.
- Kay. The best performance however, and I think many will agree with me on this, was clearly Kay’s. Isn’t it incredible that this is his first role? I haven’t felt that much for a fictional character in a long time (Jaylerr’s performance in “Angel Beside Me” probably came close), in these last episodes he really wrecked me emotionally. Gun’s messed-up relationship with his father, his social isolation and his determination when it came to Mind, it was all delivered perfectly; his character had definitely the most nuanced story arch and the strongest personal development and I heavily doubt that many other young actors could have done such an amazing job.
Long story short, I loved this series! It had an interesting story from the beginning, was technically well-made, could rely on an amazing cast (seriously, Kay alone was better here than the entire cast of “Blacklist” combined!), had a great variety of fascinating characters and managed to convey strong emotions through all of its main elements (story, cinematography, music, acting). I am happy to see that my enthusiasm about Kanittha Kwanyu is justified! Additionally, this series gave me more Getsunova music to get emotional to and a new YouTuber to follow (Kayavine).
At first I was not sold on the cast. I loved Namtan as Mind, but could not get into her acting as Mean. Luckily I got on board in later episodes. I also felt like Krist is a bit too old to play high schooler, but again, got used to him as I watched more episodes. They both did amazing job in conveying all the emotions and bringing these characters to life. For sure I liked Kay and his portrayal of Gun more than Sungjae’s performance. Jan did stunning job as Tida, I hated her quite a lot, but still felt slightly bad when things started going against her wishes.
I think, the only problem I had in this version was: I did not care about the romance at all. I much rather watch the friendship blooming and skip any romance altogether. While the guys looked truly in love with Mind, I could not feel the same emotions from her. I saw she liked them and felt a lot of gratitude towards them, but the romantic feeling was not there for me.
The plot is for sure intriguing, but not exactly on the realistic side. Did it bother me? No. It was cohesive and exciting. I can imagine how nerve wracking it must be for someone who has not seen the Korean version. The anxiety that keeps one on the edge of the sit every time Mind almost gets caught. I almost wished I have never seen the Korean version to appreciate this one more.
The leading premise of the show is clearly: bullying is wrong. That said, I appreciate how many times the “kids/teenagers” made exactly the same mistakes, judged each other before even trying to find out the truth, called each other names and blame each other without proof. It made the message more realistic. Many young people claims they would never partake in bullying, but they are… they just think their reasons for it are valid and the person deserves it. It’s not easy to change and it’s not easy to see faults in your own actions.
Overall, I would for sure recommend this over Korean version. it’s produced with less over the top style and more grounded in reality. The characters are more likable. The only thing that drove me mad tho were these long af bangs Mind/Mean had. Poor girl, my eyes hurt every time I looked at her.