[Review] 49 Days – 49일


This drama is about a comatose woman and a suicidal woman and how they influence each others’ lives. The comatose woman is Shin Ji Hyun and the suicidal woman is name.  Shin Ji Hyun is given 49 days from the powers that be to find 3 non-family members who truly love her to shed tears for her.  She is guided in the pseudo afterlife by the Scheduler (aka a Grim Reaper of sorts).  The 49 days aspect is taken from Buddhism where the soul is allowed to wander and linger around loved ones, after which karma will decide how the soul will be reborn in the next life.

Right off the bat I was intrigued by the premise of the drama and the fact that it was penned by the Prosecutor Princess writer, So Hyun Kyung.  As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of dramas with good writers.  This writer seems to have a knack for leaving you with great cliffhangers and creating tangled webs. And what a tangled web she weaves in this drama.  I usually ended up beating a couch cushion at the end of Thursday’s episode for the aggravating fact that I now had to wait a week for my next 2-episode crack installment.

The drama stars a whole slew of characters so bear with me as I take the time to quickly get through them.  Lee Yo Won and Nam Gyuri are the main stars as they play Song Yi Kyung (the suicidal woman) and Shin Ji Hyun (the comatose woman), respectively.  Jo Hyun Jae plays Han Kang who has had a crush on Shin Ji Hyun since high school and is best friends with her fiancee, Kang Min Ho, played by Bae Soo Bin.  Seo Ji Hye plays Shin In Jung who is Shin Ji Hyun’s best friend since high school and having an affair with Kang Min Ho.  Bae Geu Rin plays Park Seo Woo who is another friend of Shin Ji Hyun’s from high school.  Finally, Jung Il Woo plays the Scheduler with a secret past.  Gosh, All My Children much?  Now that I got through all that, I have to say that for those that sneer at supernatural plots, just put your skepticism aside and accept the 49 days concept (Aside from that there is some doctor/patient confidentiality shenanigans going on.  It made me go errr but it plays such a minor part in the major plot that it can tossed aside).  It gets you thinking: Who are your 3 tears going to be?

Out of all the actors in this drama, Lee Yo Won shines for me.  Shin Ji Hyun inhabits Song Yi Kyung’s body during the 49 Days which forces Lee Yo Won to play both characters.  Her transformation is so complete that you probably don’t need the CGI of the ghost entering the body or a change of wardrobe in order to figure out who’s who.  49 Days is also a change of pace for Bae Soo Bin where audiences may be used to seeing him play the good guy.  The execution of his conflicted, bad guy definitely deserves props but not enough back story was given to him to explain his character’s motive.

The cinematography definitely captures the beautiful, otherworldly feeling of the drama.  From moonlit skies to skewed angles, you are expected to suspend your beliefs as Han Kang had to when he discovers Shin Ji Hyun is inhabiting Song Yi Kyung.  I love how the cinematography tells its own story apart from what is said in dialogue.  That said, the CGI does a pretty good job for television without being too flashy that it becomes intrusive to the rest of the story.

As I previously mentioned, the writing was the highlight for me. It wasn’t perfect. The drama has holes especially when you consider the rules of gathering the 3 tears and when they can appear in the necklace. But I liked the pacing of the drama because bad writers often don’t have enough story to tell so they drag out when certain characters finally find out about something.  Here we’re given a reasonable amount of time for things to happen but we don’t dwell on the reveal of plot points (e.g. Ji Hyun finding out about the affair or Yi Kyung finding out about the possession).  Some of the cliffhangers pay off to some powerful moments that moves the story along like the real Song Yi Kyung calls Min Ho by name.

Other cliffhangers also must be attributed to great editing that tricks you like when Ji Kyung (Shin Ji Hyun in Song Yi Kyung’s body) searches her bedroom for her stamp but Min Ho, also on the hunt for the stamp, is heading up the stairs and opens the door.

All in all, 49 Days was one excellent ride that gets you invested in it emotionally.  If you haven’t seen it yet, better get some tissues ready.



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