Watch it for...
Three Korean women on the brink of 40 grappling with an impending loss and a quiet, slice-of-life-style story of friendship and a celebration of a loved one.
Thirty-Nine is one of the latest Korean Dramas (or K-Dramas) to hit Netflix. Starring Son Ye-jin, one of Korean’s better-known actresses, along with new faces and old, this K-drama follows three thirty-nine year old women who have been best friends since they were teenagers. In the first episode, it’s revealed that someone in their immediate circle will pass away in the next year. The story then follows the main characters, their friends and family throughout this one year as they grapple with this loss. Thirty-Nine is categorized as a “healing drama,” a term most often used to describe Japanese and Korean films. While not a specific genre, a “healing drama” is a quieter, more reflective narrative that doesn’t have any major plot twists or high stakes. Instead, the viewer sinks into the real lives of these characters. With performances by a stellar cast, Thirty-Ninetells a beautiful story of friendship, grief, and love that you will not soon forget.
About a year ago, I ventured into the world of K-Dramas, and I cannot praise them enough. These days I’m more prone to choose a Korean TV show than American! K-dramas are normally only one season of around 16-19 hours in total, and they generally depict simpler plots that focus on fleshing out scenes, characters, and inner narratives. Thirty-Nine was no exception: I found myself laughing, crying, and feeling really connected to every character. The series does an incredible job of showing how real people would react in real situations without being melodramatic, and the performances are amazing. But beyond the good film, score, and acting – you witness a deep friendship.
I found myself subconsciously taking notes on how to be a better friend while watching this show. I think one of my favorite things about K-dramas is the slowness of the plot (not to be confused with boring!). In a lot of American television there are huge plot points every other scene, but in Thirty-Nine, you’re getting an inside look at everyday life and how the characters interact with each other. For me, Thirty-Nine felt like reading a really warm and comforting book.