“My Unfamiliar Family” has wrapped its run a couple of hours ago, and I am here to talk about the drama in a spoiler-free review.
I was initially supposed to do a review half-way through but I got so busy and eventually decided to wait until it’s done to talk about it. My opinion remained mostly unchanged. I believe that “My Unfamiliar Family” is one of the most entertaining underrated tvN dramas of 2020.
Note: this is a subjective review but we’ll go over others opinions as well.
The script and characters
“My Unfamiliar Family” is one of the better scripts of 2020; the year has been rather disappointing and average. From the outside it might not seem like it, but the drama is emotional, heartwarming and realistically portrays family dynamics.
It is written by screenwriter Kim Eun Jung who mostly writes movie scripts but this one has to be her best drama script to date.
The beauty behind the drama was always how realistic it felt. Despite what ridiculous shit life threw at our characters, they reacted like actual human beings would, not like drama characters. Often times, drama characters make decisions to drive the plot forward without regard to their own characteristics set by the screenwriter.
The script has many interesting points to make about family dynamics, mental health, regrets, love and life and it does it with the utmost dedication to the message. It also doesn’t sound cliché while it does that, it doesn’t present an overly dark perception of life but a mixed one, portraying its characters with so much depth that many kdramas lack these days.
Our main characters aren’t black or white but somewhere in between, the drama didn’t try so hard to make you root for any particular character, but set the mode and let us decide for ourselves.
The characters in the drama all made mistakes, sometimes embarrassing ones. The majority of the main cast is actually quite unlikeable at first, with actress Han Ye Ri’s character being the first one.
The first couple of episodes were a bit difficult to get through because her character made some decisions that I found difficult to justify but she quickly finds her footing, and that saved the drama in my opinion.
You’ll likely project yourself onto the characters of this drama and it’ll probably remind you of your family as well. Overall, “My Unfamiliar Family” was a fun experience that I didn’t expect to be this good.
The drama doesn’t have hallyu actors or any high-profile ones but it’s still better than 70% of the kdramas I saw this year. I think I enjoyed it even more because I went in with zero expectations and had a vague idea about the script.
The performances and chemistry
The actors disappear into their characters in this drama and it’s done so effortlessly. Almost Everyone deserves praise for their performance in this drama, it didn’t feel like watching actors but rather characters, I forgot who Han Ye Ri, Kim Ji Suk or Choo Ja Hyun were.
The one actress that felt slightly out of place was AOA’s Hye Jeong. This wasn’t her first drama but I could tell she’s an idol, I am not that familiar with AOA and I only know of Seolhyun but Hye Jeong needs to work on her acting a lot more.
She was stiff in certain scenes and I couldn’t feel for her character despite her struggles, at times, she felt so disconnected from her character as if she’s reciting lines she memorized. She needs to work more on her facial expressions. Almost always she failed to convey depth in her portrayal of her character. It didn’t feel like she was in the zone so to speak.
She is part of probably one of the best cast ensemble of a 2020 kdrama so she wasn’t going to look good doing average or the bare minimum.
The good thing is, she is not always on screen. If she had a bigger part, I would’ve been more distracted and possibly quit. I don’t mind idols in dramas, but for the love of god, take acting lessons before you sign on a project. Hye Jeong has been acting since 2012; it’s been 8 years… how bad was she in 2014 or 2017 if she’s this average in 2020?
There is also one actor I’d like to highlight, Lee Jong Won. He plays an integral but small role in the drama and he’s a rookie actor. He only started acting one year ago and he’s amazing, he’s captivating on screen and if he keeps this up, he’ll become immensely popular in South Korea.
He needs the right role to be noticed by international kdrama fans. He’s born in 1994 so he must enlist in two years; I hope he already served because it will interrupt his progress if he hasn’t.
Onto Shin Jae Ha who’s been around for a while and gained attention for his great acting skills on many projects previously. I don’t understand why he’s still stuck doing minor roles, I just don’t get it! He consistently showed that he’s an amazing actor who can do a variety of characters with depth; however, he has not gained the amount of fame he deserves yet.
He’s born in 1993 and if he didn’t enlist yet, he must do so by 2021, he’s been working since 2014 and should be moving on to the next big chapter of his career but for some reason he’s still stuck playing those roles. I don’t know if its by choice or just bad management. I am just pissed because he’s always great but underrated.
Regarding the chemistry you could see that the actors worked so hard on trying to portray a family and I could see that. Han Ye Ri and Kim Ji Suk chemistry was off the charts, they play college friends and honestly, it felt they had always been friends, they didn’t feel awkward at all.
Han Ye Ri also had great chemistry with the rest of the actors who played her family members. They felt like family.
Is this drama for everyone?/ should I watch this?
I said I like this drama but I’d like to take a look at it from different perspectives. Not everyone finds family dramas interesting; there are also fans who don’t like serious dramas that discuss serious topics. To those people, this drama might seem boring, it’s not fast-paced but not slow either, something interesting always happens each episode.
Even if you don’t know the actors give the drama a chance, they’re amazing at their roles and you’ll end up becoming attached to them.
To put it simply “My Unfamiliar Family” is like “The World Of The Married” without the exaggeration.
So these are my thoughts on the drama, let me know what you guys think if you’ve watched it already.