KDRAMALOVE KOREAN DRAMA REVIEWS



Find Me In Your Memory
그 남자의 기억법
MBC (2020) 32 Episodes
Romantic Comedy / Melodrama
Grade: A
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
(Some Spoilers)

~~~~~~~~~~~
I waited to watch this pleasant and intriguing romantic 2020 MBC drama Find Me In Your Memory until all the episodes were finished, and then I basically marathoned the entire drama in two and a half days. After the first episode, which was a bit draggy, it happily picked up its pace and became extremely addictive as each episode progressed, filled with interesting cliffhangers that made me continue watching till the wee hours of the morning. I totally lost track of time while watching this one! Don't be scared of the 32 episodes, however: each one is only 30 minutes long, so the series is really like watching a more typical 16 episode K-drama with episodes lasting one hour each.
The Interview That Begins It All

Although there were some typical K-drama cliches in the story (it wouldn't be a K-drama without them!) I was still compelled to watch because of the perfectly convincing acting skills of the performers in the cast, including leading actress Moon Ga Young, whom I had loved so much in the 2014 short K-Drama Mimi. I've watched her grow up since 2012's Ordinary Love, when she was just a young teen. She looked stunningly beautiful in this role in Find Me In Your Memory, just glowing, and wearing the most gorgeous designer gowns and clothes and accessories! Just her earrings alone were to die for. LOL. It must be nice for her to leave her teenage years behind and begin to play more mature, professional characters in their mid-twenties. Silly Me kept giving her thumbs up while I watched the show on my large HDTV, though of course she couldn't see me. I love her that much.



I was also happy that this drama was written by the same female screenwriter, Kim Yoon Joo, who wrote Nine: Nine Time Travels in 2013, my second favorite Korean drama after Chuno (2010), and she also wrote another K-drama I loved, Queen In Hyun's Man in 2012. I felt confident she would take me into a very unique world yet again, just like she did in those two previous dramas, and she certainly accomplished that goal.


The leading man, Kim Dong Wook, was rather new to me; he had apparently been in the casts of several prior Korean dramas and films I had seen in the distant past, like Coffee Prince, but since it had been many years since I had last seen those works I just didn't remember him very well. I didn't know what to make of him at first; he seemed a little bland in the first episode, but suddenly his character's growth took off like Babe Ruth hitting a home run out of a ballpark. Strangely enough, he often reminded me in appearance of a young Yoochun Park (before Yoochun's entertainment career was scuttled by repeated scandals). Thankfully his voice was quite different from Yoochun's, so every time he spoke dialogue I was reminded less and less of the other actor. By the end of the drama his character became completely humanistic, warm and wonderful, and now I look forward to seeing him in future works. He did a great job here bringing to life a rather complicated, deep character, one who was basically a loner at first but who broke out of his mental prison eventually to embrace others. Fascinating to watch!



Then there was the terrific, petite, comedy actress Kim Seul Gi (Oh My Ghostess, Discovery Of Love, Second To Last Love, Heartstrings, Flower Boys Next Door) who always delights audiences with her cute charms. I really loved her performance here playing Moon Ga Young's perky younger sister. She brought comic relief just at the right time, during some quite serious segments of the drama.



The Story

Lee Jung Hoon (Kim Dong Wook) works as a talented and popular anchorman at a top broadcasting station in Seoul. He has hyperthymesia, a rare medical condition that allows him to remember nearly every waking moment in his life since early childhood. Although his strong memory is no doubt one reason he is so excellent at his job, since he always remembers every detail of the news he covers, he manages to keep this condition pretty well hidden from his female boss, director Choi Hee Sang (Jang Young Nam,The Crowned Clown), his co-workers at the station, including her husband, producer Kim Chul Woong (Lee Seung Joon, Hyde, Jekyll and I), and from his many fans. They just think he's super talented.



Anchor Lee's Only Friend Yoo Tae Eun

His best friend and confidante, Yoo Tae Eun (Yoon Jung Hoon), is the son of a psychiatrist who had treated him since he was a child and abused by his father. The psychiatrist's name is Yoo Sung Hyeok (veteran actor Kim Chang Won, from My Love From Another Star, Who Are You? and film Postman To Heaven). Tae Eun and Anchor Lee talk often in private, in person and on the phone, and this helps give anchorman Lee some stability in his life: everyone needs someone to talk to during times of stress and trouble.



Anchor Lee Can't Forget His First Love

In the last eight years Anchor Lee had fought off depression caused by the murder of his first girlfriend, a ballerina named Jung Seo Yeon (Lee Joo Bin). Since he cannot forget anything, including her murder by a crazy stalker named Moon Sung Ho (Joo Suk Tae), which he had witnessed while driving his car in a back alley during a snowy night, it replays itself in his mind quite often. The smallest things remind him of her, like whenever it snows, or when he hears her favorite song playing somewhere, Sung Si Kyung's famous recording of Two People. (When the action went back in time showing them together before her murder I was reminded of a similar flashback sequence in A Piece Of Your Mind. It even looked like it might have been filmed in the same area in the countryside! Korea is a small country, after all).



One day in his office Anchor Lee is told he will be interviewing an up and coming actress named Yeo Ha Jin (Moon Ga Young) who is promoting her new movie. He doesn't seem too pleased by the prospect; he prefers interviewing more prestigious individuals in government and business, not some - in his prejudiced mind - two-bit actress. However, he maintains professional courtesy and treats her well, until suddenly during her live TV interview with him he begins to give her a hard time about her SNS activity online, and in response she happens to quote Henry David Thoreau, his first girlfriend's favorite author. He is in shock and doesn't move, staring into space. Memories of his cherished murdered girlfriend rush back to him. The broadcast team freaks out behind the scenes and Ha Jin, worried, stands up and compassionately puts her hand on his arm and asks him if he's all right. He looks up at her and stares in shock at her face, stonily. Who is this girl? How did she know his beloved's favorite author?



An Unusual Bargain Turns To Friendship
And Then Love


Meanwhile, the producer has cut away to show a clip from her new movie in order to give Anchor Lee time to recover. Anchor Lee's fans also go crazy wondering what happened, and they start creating online memes of his frozen minutes on national television. Actress Ha Jin is blamed for his bad moment, when she has no idea what caused his frozen moment on screen to begin with.



Ha Jin has worked too hard to have her career ruined by this interview. She meets with Anchor Lee privately and begs him to do something to stop the national criticism of her, that it's not fair at all to her or her rising career to suddenly be the object of derision. Surprisingly, he agrees, feeling it really is his fault. After a long conversation at one of Ha Jin's favorite out of the way restaurants they agree that the only way to calm the criticism is to pretend that they were attracted to one another and have started dating. This ruse works all too well to calm the situation down. For the time being ...



A Martial Arts Trained Sister
Comes In Handy Sometimes!


Then, you guessed it, as time goes on they both do begin to care for one another as people. She even takes time to meet his beloved mother Seo Mi Hyun (Gil Hae Yeon) who is a published poet who lives in the countryside, and he takes time to get to know her younger sister, funny Yeo Ha Kyung (Kim Seul Gi), who lives with Ha Jin and helps her manage her career, as well as keeping rabid fans and anti-fans away from her when she's out in public. When Anchor Lee's mother tragically dies of stomach cancer, a condition she kept in the dark from her son, not wanting to worry him, Ha Jin is able to comfort him during his grief like no one else in his life can do. He grows even closer to her emotionally, and finally they confess their romantic feelings to one another.



This whole process of watching them begin to lean on each other emotionally is very touching for the audience to witness. Much healing goes on in the heart of Anchor Lee, especially. Before he had mostly kept to himself and been a loner, except when at work, but now his personal life is expanding to grow to care about others as well. He had been told by his psychiatrist Yoo Sung Hyeok that he would never forget his first murdered girlfriend, and that he would never be able to move on emotionally from those memories of her and her horrific murder, but now, miracle of miracles, it seems to be happening after all.

It turns out that the psychiatrist who has treated him since childhood has had an ulterior motive in keeping Anchor Lee thinking he would never forget his first girlfriend, never care about anyone else in his life. This corrupt man is writing a book expose on his patient, breaking medical confidentiality laws in the process. Even though the man's son, Anchor Lee's best friend, is appalled and angry at his father, the man is determined to publish the book and does so, saying the subject was a news anchor, but not revealing his name. The book becomes a best seller and the entire nation guesses who it must be; Anchor Lee's whole life has been exposed!



Scary Dreams Of Her Forgotten Past
Often Disturb Ha Jin's Mind


Anchor Lee had always wondered why Ha Jin had quoted his murdered girlfriend's favorite author, and he finally discovers that Ha Jin had been his first love's best friend since childhood, but while trying to save the girl's life she had been traumatically injured and lost the memories of her youngest years. Will Ha Jin ever regain her memory? If so, will she be able to feel comfortable continuing her relationship with Anchor Lee due to the deep guilt she will feel?

Then matters are complicated even further when a film director Ha Jin had worked with in the past, named Ji Hyun Geun (Ji Il Joo, solid creepy performance!), becomes obsessed with her, and abducts her with nefarious sexual intent. Will she be able to be saved in time? Will both Anchor Lee and Ha Jin ever be able to heal properly from all these tumultuous events in their lives, and to eventually find lasting happiness together?

 

If you enjoy a romantic melodrama - comedy that subtly explores characters who are recovering from mental issues having to do with their fragile memories, then this is a prime drama for you to watch. It really is quite moving at times, and I did tear up on several occasions. If you are a loner, too, like Anchor Lee, and feel you need encouragement to break out of your shell, then Find Me In Your Memory could actually be a great drama to help you heal and grow as a person. There aren't many television dramas out there -- from any country -- that can accomplish healing in its viewers. I was quite impressed by it all. The writing was truly profound on this one (I'm not surprised - a scriptwriter who could write
Nine: Nine Time Travels and quote Henry David Thoreau could write ANYTHING). Enjoy!


 


You Know You've Seen Countless K-Dramas
When You Even Recognize Location Shots
Though 11 Years Have Gone By! :)