Whenever I think about Twenty Again, always images like the greenery or warmth of sun during winter, come to my mind. That perspicuously explain my feelings towards this show which is as heartwarming as it’s inspiring, as delightful as it’s adorable. Yes, it goes without saying that it has earned spot among one of my favourite dramas of the year.
Twenty Again is a story about Nora (Choi Ji Woo) — a housewife who has spent all her life in support and devotion towards being a wife and a mother. She left school due to early pregnancy and later, when her husband wants to divorce her, she tries to go back to studies as a last attempt to win him back, as the reason he gives is their lack of same level of communication and thoughts. Her son is twenty years old and both of them end up going to the same college. She also meets her childhood friend Hyun Suk who is now a professor in the said college. Our story then takes us to a beautiful and uplifting journey of Nora as she learns to respect her own wishes and gains confidence.
The drama comes with a very breezy colour palate — which is accentuated all the more due to the campus setting it has: roads winding down different buildings, parks and benches, trees, students. So calm and peaceful and soothing. I’ve always wanted Kdramas to be more university/college centric and Twenty Again perfectly captures that air, be it the surroundings, canteen, classes, course selections, clubs, anything. The show has a feel-good air to it and the soundtrack deftly supports the feels and atmosphere.
Twenty Again paints its characters with many colours and hence they are flawed and not perfectly black and white. It was Nora’s fault that she forgot all about herself and became so meek after marriage. It’s also true that her husband never encouraged her. There was never the feeling of love between them — they were together more as a responsibility. It was a nice touch to show us Nora in her high school days bit by bit as we come to know what happened with her, how she was, who were her friends — without giving us a complete picture at once. It was really gratifying to see the gradual, step-by-step growth in Nora later and a very important lesson that she learns — to live in the present. I literally cheered for her throughout her every little or big victory. In this case, it was more like Nora remembered her original personality and person within her that got lost somewhere.
Hyun Suk can be so petty and immature in many ways but he has a heart of gold. He believes in doing everything for others and never letting them know about it. I found his fairy-god-mother acts really endearing and also enjoyed his bantering with Nora. Plus, his encouragement. Kim Woo Chul at first looked really hateful for how he is so self-absorbed and narcissist. But he also succeeds in gaining some sympathy at times — Choi Won Young is simply great in the portrayal and also brings unexpected humour to this role.
The relationships are beautifully drawn. Let’s talk about the central one — Nora and Hyun Suk. It’s great to see that these two share multiple emotions together — early teenage friendship and respect, then bickering all the way when they reunite, then sharing honest conversations and enjoying candidly as friends to finally becoming lovers. Everything looks natural and subtle. The chemistry between Choi Ji Woo and Lee Sang Yoon is lovingly comfortable and effervescent.
The journey of Min Soo from being a son with I-couldn’t-care-less attitude to finally realising the importance of his mother was another great highlight — but I did found the initial indifference a little unreal. A special shout out to one of my favourite bonds in the show — between Nora, Soon Nam and Park Seung Hyun — their adorable scenes together are simply one of the best things about Twenty Again. Also, the old group consisting of Nora, Hyun Suk, Yoon Young and Dong Chul gives us great feels of nostalgia and friendship, especially when they all dress up in their school uniforms. I do not have good things to say about Hye Mi who came off very immature and selfish as Min Soo’s girlfriend. Their scenes were the only thing that tempted me to push fast forward button (but I didn’t, heh).
I also liked Yi Jin and despite there being an affair between her and Woo Chul, she managed to gain some likeability as the drama never made her annoying or outright negative — I love that Twenty Again stays away from making anyone quintessentially negative or evil.
The show has lots of heart and adorableness and the ending is also pretty satisfying as Nora finally knows what she wants in life and doesn’t want to rely on anybody — she is just enjoying the moments and making it worthy. Not only our heroine, but I loved where every character’s arc culminated.
Choi Ji Woo is a delight to watch here as she embraces Nora completely, full of innocence and calmness. Lee Sang Yoon gives a winning performance as Hyun Suk — petty, swoon-worthy and understanding, and who can resist the charm of his dimples! As I already mentioned, Choi Won Young is excellent while No Young Hak and Jin Ki Joo are totally a pleasing pair of actors to watch. The rest of the cast is also spot on. Kim Min Jae is still green and Son Na Eun is unimpressive as Hye Mi.
Twenty Again is indeed a brilliant tale of self discovery that provides valuable lessons of soul-searching and successfully tells us that it is never too late to start living your life to the fullest and realising your worth. Also that “Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present”
My Rating: 9 out of 10