Move over every remake of Seventeen Again. If there’s anything as jarring as going back in time to when you had acne and massive insecurities, it’s never leaving. Mentally.
Still 17 (also known as Thirty But Seventeen) is a touching 2018 drama starring Shin Hye-sun and Yang Se-jong about a young violinist who wakes from a thirteen-year coma and has to adjust to life as an adult.
At seventeen, Woo Seo-ri (later played by Shin Hye-sun) is a force to be reckoned with. She’s auditioning for a prestigious music school in Germany and has just been asked to play second chair by her current instructor. Her future is brighter than Hong Seok-cheon’s head, and that has her peers shook.
Enter Gong Woo-jin (later played by the adorable Yang Se-jong), he takes notice of Seo-ri in one of the cutest, quirkiest montages I’ve ever seen. First, he spots her standing on a bridge peering through her fingers at the moon, while the twinkling sounds of a keychain resembling a rabbit slung over a crescent moon fills the air. Then he sees her wearing mismatched sneakers and being splashed with water that someone was throwing out because she was too busy reading music.
If you’re charmed, then join the club. Woo-jin draws Seo-ri and tries to work up the nerve to give it to her one day, but a tragedy breaks his young heart and snatches away Seo-ri’s bright future.
I started watching this drama on a whim and didn’t expect much, but within minutes it won me over and by the end of the first episode it had taken root under my skin. Shin Hye-sun is completely believable as a seventeen-year-old girl stuck in a thirty-year old’s body. Her reactions to things are hilariously naive, and even though sometimes they verge on being over-the-top, you can tell it’s for comedic relief and not because she’s a bad actress. She also conveys Seo-ri’s confusion, disbelief, and pain really well.
Yang Se-jong’s portrayal of Woo-jin also broke my heart. His guilt and grief weighed heavily on my own shoulders for the majority of the drama, and when he was finally set free, my eyes watered from the relief.
Still 17 is definitely an emotional drama (so get your tissues ready), but it does a good job of balancing it out with comedic relief and heart-warming messages about personal growth and spending your time doing what you love with the ones you love.
The pacing is pretty good even though the drama tries to cram in a bit too many conflicts and resolutions in the last few episodes, and there are some plot twists you won’t see coming. But the most refreshing thing about this drama was that it didn’t have many stereotypical characters. No one was black or white— just human.
Watch On: Viki