Misaki Kyosuke, an excellent plastic surgeon, started living a very private life after his wife passed away, confining his main joys in life to cultivating his herb garden and spending time with his only daughter. One day, a woman enters his clinic and asks that her face be completely changed to whatever Kyosuke wishes. Kyosuke is very suspicious and refuses her request, but she begs him to reconsider and explains that she is trying to escape from her violent husband. Kyosuke finally agrees and alters her appearance to that of his late wife. Afterwards, a relationship begins to develop between the two of them, but things start to unravel when two police officers show up on his doorstep looking for the "missing" woman. --TBS (d-addicts)
Cast & Credits
STORY - Miyuki, in order to run away from her abusive husband, decides to change her whole face. And Misaki Kyosuke, a plastic surgeon and a completely opposite man to Miyuki's husband, agrees to do the job after seeing her situation. To make it easier for Kyosuke, Misaki tells him to change her face to his first love's if possible. Unknowingly, that decision will change their lives forever.
Well, that's the plot. Cliché as it may sound, but if you're familiar with Nojima Shinji's works (the screenwriter), I'm sure you know how his stories usually are. They're mostly filled with either broken characters or the ones that have a certain darkness flows inside their hearts. He's so good at creating the twists and turns, the emotional trainwrecks that give you chills and tears and still tastefully adds some sweet and human moments to sooth your heart. Utsukushii Hito is no exception.
Also one of the things I really like about Utsukushii Hito is each episode's title features a herb's name. By using that herb's meaning and the story behind it, the drama not only shows us the thoughts and intentions of the characters, but also develops the story accordingly and provides the audience an amount of useful information about those herbs. For which I think they did a very clever job.
ACTING - They were all amazing, honestly. Especially the 3 main leads. Everytime the 3 of them meet, the tension rises. Takao did an excellent performance here as Miyuki's husband, at one point he gave me all the creeps. Masakazu as Doctor Misaki gives you the feeling like he was not an actor, but a real doctor that was put in this drama. He's so soft and gentle, like a plant, yet so lonely as if he would break anytime. And the radiant Takako as the miserable wife Miyuki, she was so convincing, her smiles, her happiness, her fear, her tears, you can tell when it's genuine and when it's not.
If there's one thing I didn't like about this drama, it's probably the love chemistry between the 2 leads. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they don't have any chemistry. It's there but it's weaker than I think it should be. And some of the love scene (kiss etc.) doesn't feel passionate enough. Maybe it's supposed to be like that? I'm not sure.
MUSIC - One of the best parts. Both opening theme and ending theme are songs by Jane Birkin, and they fit so, so well to the drama. They also made soundtracks based on those 2 songs to support different moods of the drama. And the title sequence and ending sequence go so beautifully with the songs that I couldn't believe this was made in 1999, 20 years ago!?! They give you this soft, easy, relaxing feeling and classy, mysterious vibe at the same time. If you have finished the drama, I suggest checking out the lyrics as well. The Opening theme is 'Yesterday Yes a Day' which is written entirely in English so you can search anywhere. The Ending theme is a French song called 'L'aquoiboniste' which, if you excuse me, I'll be posting the translation here because I think the meaning plays an important part to the theme of the drama:
L'aquoiboniste - Jane Birkin
(translation, omitted repetitive parts)
He’s a whateverist
A sad joke maker
Who always says whatever
A humble guitarist
Who never plays in tune
He’s a whateverist
A little too idealist
Who keeps on saying in every way
A funny indifferent
Who says rightly or wrongly
Who doesn’t give a damn and who keeps on
Saying ok but who really means
Doesn’t need an optician
To see the shit of the world
Who tells me with a sad look
You, I love you, the others
Are all stupid jerks.
I'll be closing my review here as it seems to be longer than enough. If you're a Nojima Shinji's fan or any of the actors' fan, this is a must watch. Or if you're just a passerby that happens to like bittersweet melodrama romance, please consider giving this drama a try. Please give it the attention it deserves. Thank you for reading!
And Happy 20th Anniversary, Utsukushii Hito.