Leaning on each other through thick and thin, a trio of best friends stand together as they experience life, love and loss on the brink of turning 40. Cha Mi Jo is the head dermatologist of a clinic in Gangnam. She is a warm character who grew up in a wealthy environment with a caring family and everything she could wish for. Jung Chan Young dreamed of becoming an actress but ended up becoming an acting teacher instead. Although her way of speaking may seem blunt and harsh, the sincerity in her words makes her a character impossible to hate. Jang Joo Hee is a department store cosmetics manager. Due to her timid personality, she has yet to really experience a romantic relationship. (Source: Netflix, Soompi) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
- Son Ye JinCha Mi JoMain Role
- Jeon Mi DoJeong Chan YoungMain Role
- Kim Ji HyunJang Joo HeeMain Role
- Yeon Woo JinKim Seon Woo [Dermatologist]Support Role
- Lee Moo SaengKim Jin Seok [Champ Entertainment representative]Support Role
- Lee Tae HwanPark Hyun Joon [Chinatown president and chef]Support Role
Great drama if you know what you're gettingI tend to only be interested in writing a review if I feel like I'm in the minority. Lots of negative reviews of this drama seem to be written by people who were expecting something else. So, let me speak for the other side and clear some things up from the beginning, here's what this drama is about: A woman and her two friends go through a very difficult year together and find strength to get through it by relying on one another. This is an especially character-driven drama, rather than story-driven.
Mi-jo is the central character, and her relationship to Chan-young is the primary relationship. I would say that Joo-hee and Seon-U or Jin-Seok are probably the second leads. If this were some rom-com and Mi-jo/Chan-young were the ML and FL, no one would be upset about them taking all the screen time. It's weird that everyone seems upset that the illness isn't the most important storyline--this is about their whole lives and that was a large part of it, but not the only part. I do agree that ALL the side plots eventually got a bit chaotic, but I liked getting small bits of insight into everyone's lives.
I thought it was an interesting move to tell us the ending in eps 2, but it allowed for so much more development of the leads and the (really wonderful) rest of the cast. I loved all the parents, with the glaring exception of one. I loved Mi-jo's sister, I fell in love with Seon-u and his love of Mi-jo. (I took a break from this one to watch Yeon Woo Jin in Shy Boss). Would have liked to see a little more of Joo-hee's relationship, but that's just because Hyun-jun's character seemed to have a lot of potential--but again, they aren't the main characters, so I'm fine with not having every answer.
Another thing that anyone should know by the opening scene, but in case you are wondering: This is a TEAR JERKER. I normally don't like tear jerkers and specifically come to kdrama for the comedy and romance. That said, this was a lovely story about women's friendships. Some of the side plot points were a little over the top (Seon-u's father and his sister; the slapdash adoption that appears late in the story, the jailbird), but they are all meant to get in the way of Mi-jo and Chan-young's friendship, and to show the different ways their friendship has shaped how they respond to difficulties.
Mi-jo is an imperfect heroine. She is anxious, clingy, and a bit of a control freak, maybe that's why she is getting so much negativity in the reviews. But, an imperfect character is way more interesting than a perfect one! Again, if you come to this drama interested in watching the main character move through her life and her relationships, including her close friendship to a terminally ill woman, you will be far less disappointed than if you come to this expecting an ensemble slice of life drama.
The music was good enough that I didn't notice it.
Age is an work of art.Created by Lotte Cultureworks and distributed by JTBC, "Thirty-Nine (서른, 아홉)" is a 12 episode long Kdrama directed by Kim Sang Ho, produced by Yoo Young Ah. It started filming in August, 2021 and was also broadcasted on Netflix, which is Son Ye Jin's comeback to JTBC after 3 years following "Something in the Rain".
The story revolves around a trio of 3 best friends who are on the verge of turning 40, but have stayed together for decades through thicks and thins of life, while nurturing their bonds and establishing a relationship on the basis of mutual love. So what the story offers? Of course, there's is a particular goal, but uttering that will serve as the most important spoiler, so watch it for yourself. This is a purely slice of life drama and hugely character driven, that is not essentially in the venture of a solid plotline with twists and development. Isn't that a perfect scenario for a slow-paced, coming of age, warm Korean drama? Well, this is that only.
Cha Mi Jo (Son Ye Jin) is a dermatologist with her own clinic; an established professional having a loving family of parents and a sister. She's the most rationale of the trio. Jung Chan Young (Jeon Mi Do) is an acting coach with a small studio and parents living in suburbs. She's the most sincere despite being outspoken. Jang Jo Hee (Kim Ji Hyun), being the softest and cutest, is a cosmetic store manager at a departmental store and lives with her mother.
Yeon Woo Jin, Lee Moo Saeng and Lee Tae Hwan are the male counterparts though story primarily focuses on the female leads. In minor roles we have many familiar and qualitatively acclaimed actors like: Kang Mal Geum, Nam Ki Ae, Seo Hyun Chul, Lee Jin Hyun, Seo Ji Young, Lee Kan Hee and Kang Ae Shim.
Plot development... Again, there is no definitive plot for this drama, however, it sets forward a goal in the very first scene, and you'll know what it is instantly. The narrative of the show is intended towards life and its unprecedented events, that test us to the extremes, making us grow and bringing the best out of us. The pacing is perfect for a sliece of life Kdrama, at least to me, it was, I don't wanna lie. Someone into long conversations, meaningful metaphors and depictive appreciations would find it their cup full of tea. Storytelling method is touchy; accompanied with monologue notes, emotional recitals and creation of alleviating scenarios.
The introduction appeared to be engaging and pacifying, enough to make you look forward to the furthering with substantial interest. The progression stays moderate for next few episodes and it does pass by the interval successfully, but around 8th episode, the flow turns mediocre. I don't think there was any lack of context and content but why few things were made repetitive and certain elements became stretchy unnecessarily. Even so, there was a casual improvement in the finale week; 11 episode being a lil rushed and 12th having back to back tear-jerking moments.
Kim Sang Ho PD with a fair share of experience of working in the slice of life dramas, as both PD and asst. PD, was able to give a satisfactory delivery with his skills. Although there were flaws, which was substantial, I am at least not disappointed. The dynamics of initial exhibitionism was smooth, gratifying and worthy of looking forward to. However, in the later half of the story, the essential integrands and some particular facets went flat, which wasn't really uninteresting but many viewers will definitely find uncomfortable.
Yoo Young Ah jakka-nim, a very familiar name in K-movie industry, with plenty of modern coming-of-age movies in her bio, over a decade of career, has always delivered on point. However, it appears that she still struggles fundamentally when it comes to Kdramas and that could be somewhat obvious at points of her episodic writings. This was the case for "Encounter" and this is the case for "Thirty-Nine" as well. Nevertheless, it was a decent delivery, which started out great, became bog-standard somewhere in the middle and ended with a passable note. The biggest flaw it bears is the inequitable screentime distribution; obviously the central character gets the most, then the supporting ones, followed by minor actors, but the disappointment comes from expectations and prenotions. But yeah! It was unjust given the popularity and skills of many factors featured in here. Regardless the flaws, I personally feel, it was able to provide a meaningful conveyance, throughout.
What I liked...
# the slice of life elements... Definitely! That's what this show was about. The numerous shades of life, portrayed through characters, their stories and emotions and the depth and essence of various relationships have been perfectly brought forward.
# The trio friendship... Though the writer failed to make it entirely about the trio, as expected from 99% of the viewers, but the amount of crux provided, accurately defined the kind of friendship that we all crave for. It was fun and healthy and most importantly, admirable.
# The character dynamics... the archs as an average for the entire main cast, was abstemious. Although not remarkable, it was enough to make your heart warm and understand the perspective of each. There could have been definitive improvements, but well.
# The flow of the story... Make sure you have it in mind that, the story has no plot, rather a goal, more like a destination, to where? To achieved eternity, to entirety and to euphoria.
# Adult romance... The romance was basically for only one couple, Son Ye Jin and Yeon Woo Jin; while it wasn't the primary focus, theirs being the only love line, felt very beautiful with subtle depths to a relationship and it's factors.
# The orphan adoption angles... I won't say who and how but just know that it has put emphasis on scenarios associated with adoptions, various aftermaths, the inner stories of the adopted ones and the ways you can deal with the odds that has possibilities of arising from it. I don't think any other Kdrama has gone to such extents.
# The aspects of death... Life has to end, love doesn't. The most beautiful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained. The drama shows, how it's not important to live forever but to create something that will.
What I didn't like...
# Son ye jin getting all the spotlight was the most annoying. It was to be made clear from the makers side in the beginning, that the drama is from the perspective only one character, even so not entirely. It felt like Mi Jo's diary, rather than a character driven story. It shouldn't have been like that.
# Jeon Mido is no longer an average artist, she's a popular star and she deserves to be at the centre and can beat every single actor out there. She not getting sufficient did piss me off, even the goal of the drama was something related to this drama.
# Johee getting substantially neglected bothered me to a great deal. I understand, her experience and considered negligible in comparison to others but she could have bewn placed in the supporting cast. The writer could have totally forgotten about her existence and the potential development of loveline between her and her partner.
# Improper utilization of supporting cast... The poster could be faulty. Just like Ye Jin, Woo Jin gets the major screentime as the former's partner, while Lee Moo Saeng's share is reduced and Tae Hwan is totally neglected just like his counterpart, Jo Hee.
Final Remarks... Thirty-Nine in overall could not be a dramq that it was expected to be and the outcomes were not hugely satisfying per se, nevertheless, the motives of the drama bloomed in an awfully beautiful ways, leaving impressions about everlasting love and relationships. There were room for improvement that could not be well utilized, which was a shame. I was more than willing to give it a 8.5 but provided the significant shortcomings, I choose to be fair. I hope people realize, the drama is not deserving of the idiotic judgements attempting to let down it's essence.