Familiar Wife is a fantasy romantic comedy about a man (Ji Sung) who is unhappy with life as well as his wife (Han Ji Min). He then gets the chance to travel back in time and change things which results in a future where he is married to his college love and his original wife is now single and very different. But he realizes everything isn’t as great as it seems as he begins to rekindle his relationship with his wife and wonder if he made a big mistake by altering time.
Well, you know I’m a sucker for time travel dramas, especially when they involve the future getting changed. So I was completely ready to jump into Familiar Wife. Aside from the fantasy angle, there’s a good mix of humor and seriousness in the drama along with some high stakes for our central characters.
Ji Sung plays Cha Joo Hyuk. He’s an employee at a bank who isn’t very happy with his life. He struggles at his job and after years of marriage and having kids, he’s not thrilled with the changes his wife has undergone. But when he gets the chance to go back in time and change things, his life takes a completely different turn with unexpected results.
Han Ji Min is Joo Hyuk’s wife, Seo Woo Jin. Woo Jin takes care of their kids plus works a job. It’s a lot of stress, and she doesn’t feel like she gets enough help from Joo Hyuk which leaves her quite frustrated and angry all of the time. But when time changes, she undergoes a drastic transformation.
Jang Seung Jo is Yoon Jong Hoo. He’s one of Joo Hyuk’s closest friends and they work together. He’s a fun and good-natured man. In the alternate timeline, he ends up taking interest in Woo Jin which sets up some complicated situations.
Then we have Kang Han Na as Joo Hyuk’s college love, Lee Hye Won. She comes from a wealthy background, is spoiled, and is used to getting what she wants. She’s completely different from Woo Jin. This makes Joo Hyuk face quite an adjustment concerning his new wife and how it changes so much of his life.
The opening episodes of Familiar Wife set things up well to showcase the difficult lives both Joo Hyuk and Woo Jin have. The situation they are in can be relatable to many people. You’ve got Woo Jin working a job plus taking care of the kids which leaves her completely frazzled and short tempered. And she doesn’t feel like her husband acts responsibly to help her out enough.
Then Joo Hyuk is weighed down at his job and just wants to come home and relax, but his wife is usually snappy and doesn’t have time for him. He’s a bit self absorbed and doesn’t realize how much of the problem he is in the relationship. Though I really felt bad when he just wanted to have a little fun and play on his game console. He had it hidden and tucked away on the floor in a closet where he would secretly play late at night.
But at the end of a frustrating day when he just wanted to play, his old console broke leaving him completely defeated. I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling of just wanting to enjoy a simple pleasure or distraction to get us through only to have even that taken away. His tears in that small moment were so sad. And he decides he wishes he had a different life.
And then things suddenly change after a trip back in time has unexpected results. At first, it looks like Joo Hyuk’s new life is perfect as he has married his college love, lives in a really nice house, and is treated well at work because of his new family connections. But of course, things are never that simple.
We get to go on a journey with him as Joo Hyuk is no longer married to Woo Jin, and she has a very different life because of the changes. She’s still single and has the spunky and captivating personality he originally fell in love with. He is able to see her in a different light and fall for her all over again.
He also gets the chance to understand her and realize that he wasn’t the only one struggling in life because she was miserable too. And that he was a huge reason she turned out the way she did. He has some serious growing to do, and I loved how his character progressed. That’s always a fun and lovely story to watch play out.
I liked how the drama depicted Joo Hyuk rekindling his feelings for Woo Jin by using events in the new present to trigger memories from the past of them originally falling in love. He was reminded of the reasons he fell in love with her by seeing her in the new timeline. But the changes in time have set them up a part from each other.
He’s married already and soon realizes that Hye Won isn’t quite the dream girl he imagined. Then Woo Jin has a budding relationship with Joo Hyuk’s buddy Jong Hoo. And these two are so fun and comfortable together that it’s easy to see why they would want to date. All of this puts Joo Hyuk in a terribly awkward position of trying to navigate his rekindled feelings for Woo Jin. It was very interesting to see play out.
I also really loved the relationship between Joo Hyuk and Jong Hoo. These friends had such a fun rapport with each other. They joked, laughed, and even cried together. I liked that they were close in multiple timelines and that their friendship was always important.
I found Familiar Wife to be a mostly pleasant watch overall, but some scenes were a bit drawn out with a few draggy spots here and there. But the characters were so enjoyable and the banter between them was so fun that it really helped. At it’s core, this is a drama that focuses on relationships, so executing that point so well really tied everything together.
Familiar Wife was an entertaining story that nicely highlighted how what one person does can greatly affect another. While our individual struggles are important, others are struggling too. And just because you have regrets and think you want a different life, it doesn’t always mean it would work out the way you thought it would. The drama is both contemplative and fun in a way that made for a thoroughly enjoyable journey.
My Rating: 7.5/10
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