“The Miracle We Met” is an 18 episode Korean fantasy melodrama. It is the story of a man who dies (by “mistake”) and who is brought back to life in another person’s body.
Premise of the Story
There are two people who share the same name (Song Hyun-Chul) and the same birthdate; but they lead complete different lives. One is the chef of a small Chinese restaurant who has just achieved his dream in becoming the sole owner of the restaurant. The other one is the manager of a bank. He is righteous, yet inflexible and intransigent.
In a fortuitous set of events, both Song Hyun-Chuls are involved in an accident. The angel of death, Ato, mistakes the identity of the two and takes away the chef, instead of the banker. Ultimately both pass away. Realizing his mistake, Ato decides to return the chef to life; but in the meantime his family already had cremated his body. Thus, out of options, the angel makes the decision to return his soul into the body of Song Hyun-Chul, the banker.
Overwhelmed by the new situation, Hyun-Chul tries to return to his original place, while feeling indebted toward the owner of his body and towards his broken family.
Song Hyun-Chul (the chef) has a bright personality. He lives a simple and happy life with his father, daughter (with whom he shares a special bond) and his wife Jo Yeon-Hwa. She is the apple of his eyes. He loves her dearly and he is acting like an enamored teenager around her.
Song Hyun-Chul (the banker) used to have a loving and harmonious relationship with his wife and their two children. But as time went by, he swayed from his ways and now he neglects his family. He is an unfaithful husband and a quasi-absent father.
Jo Yeon-Hwa is the loving wife of the chef Hyun-Chul. She is heartbroken after the loss of her husband. At the same time she is confused by the banker Hyun-Chul, who reminds her of her beloved husband.
Sun Hye-Jin is the faithful, yet deeply unhappy wife of the banker Hyun-Chul. She is aware of her husband’s affair. Now that their children are old enough, she is considering divorcing her husband who once was her whole world. Most of the touching scenes in the drama arise from her being confused and deeply touched by the simple gestures of kindness shown to her by her “husband” who came back from the dead.
Ato: he is both the angel of death (grim-reaper) and the guardian angel of Jo Yeon-Hwa. He is regretful for the pain he inadvertently caused to the soul in his care. He is trying to intervene in her life in the attempt to make up for having deprived her family of a loving husband and father.
“The Miracle We Met” was well received by the Korean public. After a slow start, the drama peaked at the 2nd position as the most viewed program in its time slot, nationwide. However, there was barely any “buzz” about this drama in Korean dramas related forums or international twitter accounts dedicated to Asian dramas.
Unlike most of the dramas that came out this year, there are no translated official trailers or fan-made music videos on YouTube related to this drama (except a few modest ones coming from the fans of Kai who played Ato). Moreover, most of the plot descriptions reduce the topic to merely Song Hyun-Chul having swapped bodies and him agonizing over two wives. This does not give justice to the depth of the story. The reason behind all this, in my opinion, is related to the fact that the content of the drama together with the casting are appealing to a more mature public.
This series is not bubbly and funny and although it has some romantic elements, it is not an entirely romance-driven drama. Instead, it explores the dynamic of the relationships between the characters and real-to-life problems two families would encounter in a similar predicament.
Although the premise of the story might sound overly familiar to you and you might think you know what to expect, “The Miracle We Met” is far from predictable. The drama does not fall into the banal cliché of some other (eastern and western) dramas or films that use the topic of body swapping as a simple tool to create a comedic effect. The identity switch element here is functional to the story in so far it explores the human drama of separation, responsibility, missed opportunities and second chances.
Cast and Acting
The casting was top notch. All the main actors are veterans with years of experience and tens of dramas and films under their belt. Kim Myung-Min (“Beethoven Virus”, “Six Flying Dragons”) was amazing in the role of the two Song Hyun-Chul.
The two main female leads did an amazing job playing the roles of the wives. I knew both of them from their previous work. While I was convinced of Ra Mi-Ran’s outstanding talent (the chef’s wife – “Avengers Social Club”), I was not completely sold on Kim Hyun-Joo (“Fantastic”) until this drama. I am looking forward to her next project.
Kim Jong In (“Andante”) in the role of Ato deserves a special mention. He still has a long way to go polishing his acting skills; however, I cannot help but notice his improvement since “Choco Bank”.
“The Miracle We Met” is a great drama; despite this, it comes with some (minor) writing inconsistencies and a few potholes which can be easily overlooked given the weight of the drama:
It is not clear how can divine beings make such basic mistakes like mixing two people just because they have the same name.
Why only one of the characters in the drama has a guardian angel? How come no one else has the help or guidance of a guardian angel, especially the main male character?
In some parts of the drama it seems as if the writer has forgotten about the children of the banker’s family, making the viewer wonder sometimes where did they go.
This is a must-watch drama, unless you are looking for something light and funny, in which case I would recommend watching “Come Back Mister”. It takes on a similar premise, but relies more on the comedic element and is more eye-candy. “The Miracle We Met” has a more serious undertone. But despite that, it does not claim to participate into the philosophical debate related to the meaning of life and death, nor does it attempt to give a definite answer to the questions regarding “spiritual versus the material” aspects of life. However, it does try to explore (granted, indirectly) the bond between the body and the soul. What is the soul? Is it merely the totality of our memories our brain produces? What about the body? Is it simply a shell we inhabit, but with whom our soul has no intrinsic relationship?
I am not sure whether the intention of the writer and the director was to make the viewer meditate upon such issues or if they were simply trying to convey an original story for us to enjoy. In either case, I would say they succeeded in both endeavors. “The Miracle We Met” is surely a gem and deserves to be mentioned as one of the top dramas of 2018. Unfortunately it did not have the same success with the international public, for some mysterious reason. I almost missed this drama; I stumbled onto it by chance. It was most certainly a pleasant discovery.