K-drama ● Review: Find Me in Your Memory
English Title: Find Me in Your Memory
Korean Title: 그남자의기억법 [lit. that man’s diary]
Director(s): Oh Hyun-jong & Lee Soo-hyun
Screenwriter(s): Kim Yoon-joo
Studio: Chorokbaem Media Released: 2020
Runtime: 16 episodes, ~1h each.
Starring: Kim Dong-wook, Moon Ga-young
My Verdict: Fails to fully utilize an interesting premise—a lost opportunity thematically. But, strangely, it may still be a likable series.
● Lee Jung-hoon (Kim Dong-wook) is a news anchor and journalist who has hyperthymesia, the ability to remember every moment of one’s life. This makes him a great anchorman who can still present when the teleprompter fails but some of his memories are an obvious burden, particularly his memories of his girlfriend Jung Seo-yun (Lee Joo-bin) who died some years ago.
● In addition, Jung-hoon is the type of host who likes to have a go at his guests. One day, he has actress Yeo Ha-jin (Moon Ga-young) on the show. In her attempt to answer his difficult question, she utters something which reminds him of the past and he freezes. She has no idea (as very few know about his condition) and attempts to save the awkward situation.
● Ha-jin then tries to get to know Jung-hoon who is initially not interested. He warms up to her eventually and the series basically follows this relationship.
● Ha-jin, in a way, has the opposite condition to Jung-hoon. She had a traumatic episode in the past and has since forgotten it so, unlike Jung-hoon, she is not burdened by such memories.
● It is an interesting premise and the two characters are obviously meant to be opposites. An amnesiac as a main character has been done too many times so it is refreshing to see one who remembers everything. Also, Ha-jin’s condition is not overdone. It is not as if she cannot function or is trying to regain her memories and solve some mystery. She is somewhat carefree and people like Jung-hoon consider her to be flippant.
● Whilst there is enough going on most of the time, the series lacks a plot even for a character-driven story. As already mentioned, Jung-hoon is not initially interested but then they do develop a friendship and… this goes on for 16 episodes. It surprisingly does not outright drag but nothing much happens either.
● It is not a spoiler to reveal that Ha-jin and Seo-yun were close friends before the latter died. And yet, it is as if Jung-hoon has never met Ha-jin before. Given that he was seriously involved with Seo-yun and the two women were close, that is simply not plausible. Granted, Ha-jin has forgotten, but it is not as if Jung-hoon knows that and deliberately acts as if they have never met for her benefit.
● The above is unfortunately another necessary case of “main characters actually have some past connection”. It does not add to the plot or emotional charge. The relationship between Jung-hoon and Ha-jin can stand on its own.
● The writing fails to utilize Jung-hoon’s condition. We are shown his past and his struggles but not in a way that may resonate. The juxtaposition of Jung-hoon and Ha-jin is not overdone which is good but there could be more. On balance, the series fails to explore and make use of the themes.
● To break up the character drama, there is the formulaic “thriller” arc. Without spoiling, it is plausible in the sense that celebrities do have threats against them. However, there is the abovementioned problem of the unnecessary past connection that makes this too cheesy.
● Kim Dong-wook plays Jung-hoon with subtlety, presumably in an attempt to not overdo it. Moon Ga-young is good but, paradoxically, her looks do not always help. There is nothing wrong with her or any of the performances. But, in her case, she has that classy and intelligent look, so she does not quite look the part when her character is overtly bright and happy. She certainly looks more convincing when she is serious and pensive.
● The premise is interesting but the series fails to take advantage of that so it is a lost opportunity thematically. On balance, despite all the weaknesses, it is not a bad series. It is still, perhaps strangely, watchable and may even be likable.
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