Now that it’s almost December, I think it’s safe to crown my winner as my favorite drama of 2018, and yes, it’s Matrimonial Chaos (aka The Best Divorce). This kind of drama appeals to me most, so it may not suit the tastes of others, but if you too appreciate relationship-driven stories where most situations and conversations are grounded in realities that are familiar to anyone who has had adult romances (with all their inherent ups and downs), then this series will win you over as well.
The story revolves around divorces and separations and reconciliations and new beginnings, but not always in expected ways. It’s each of those little twists and turns – pivots – that enliven the drama. It’s a remake of a Japanese drama, Saikou no Rikon, so I don’t know how much is unique to this production and how much echoes the original version’s plot, but I applaud the efforts of either (or both) writer.
Annoying Suk-mo (Cha Tae-hyun), dreamer Hwi-roo (Bae Doona), reserved Yoo-young (Lee El), and impulsive Jang-hyun (Son Suk-goo)… it’s easy to try and describe each of the four main characters by some of their more pronounced personality traits, but that shortchanges the actors and the writer because there is so much more to the “chaos.” In fact, by the end of the story, it’s easy to see how many traits each of the four share.
Suk-mo, a security guard, and Hwi-roo, a substitute gym teacher, are the first couple introduced. They’ve been married for 3 years and have entered the phase where each is feeling a bit unappreciated for the things they bring to the marriage. They’ve lost sight of the things that brought them together, and it seems that the nagging Suk-mo is the least content. They’ve retreated to their private moments to work on their respective dreams (he wants to be a musician, she a children’s storybook writer), instead of sharing these ambitions. They have an interesting support network, of sorts, in his step-grandmother Mi-sook, played by the lovely Moon Sook, who runs a cafe and is on a curling team with Hwi-roo, and Ma-roo (played by Kim Hye-joon), Hwi-roo’s younger sister, who works in the cafe.
They notice a man (Jang-hyun) in their neighborhood who appears to have at least one relationship going on (evoking envy in Hwi-roo, who misses the passionate days of her relationship with Suk-mo). It comes as a burdensome revelation to Suk-mo that he is the husband of Yoo-young, not the recipient of those witnessed heady embraces and coincidentally Suk-mo’s college love. He’s a product designer and art instructor and she runs a small clothing atelier where she designs and constructs women’s clothing.
To get further into the details, and without any significant spoilers, I’ll continue after the jump.