Jom, an architect, begins to experience supernatural events while renovating a historic house. While working on the new project, he meets with an accident, almost drowning to death. He then wakes up near the same house but in a completely different era. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Violet Rain, “I Feel You Linger in the Air” (original title: Hom Klin Khwam Rak) is a 12 episode Thai series directed by Tee Bundit Sintanaparadee (“Hidden Agenda”/“Step by Step”) and follows Nonkul Chanon Santinatornkul as protagonist Jom, who finds himself thrown back in time and falling in love with the heir of a wealthy family.
Set predominantly in the 1920s, the 12-episode show is primarily propelled by Nonkul Chanon Santinatornkul’s endearing portrayal of Jom. Nonkul is soft, graceful, and almost calming as the sweet-serious Jom, who navigates the challenge of adjusting to life in a completely different era with a lot of poise and control. Jom pretends to lose his memory when he realizes he is time-traveling and keeps his lips sealed about being from the future, fully aware that nobody would believe him and he might just end up in a mental asylum or worse. Bright Rapheephong Thapsuwan portrays the young Master Yai, and it’s near his sprawling property that Jom resurfaces after almost drowning. To assist the lost stranger, Yai employs Jom in his service until he recovers his memory, and a romance blossoms between the two.
However, “I Feel You Linger in the Air” attempts to go beyond being a simple time-travel romance with one lead couple and explores multiple sub-plots and relationships. While the primary plot explores the forbidden love between the wealthy Yai and his mystery employee Jom, the secondary focus is on the turbulent family life of Yai’s older sister, Ueangphueng (Alee Auttharinya Uengsilpsrikul), who is married to the foreigner Robert (Attila Arthur Gagnaux), an arrogant, abusive man with a roving eye. However, Ueangpheung is in love with someone else and is more than relieved when Robert decides to get a second-wife, a young woman called Fongkaew (June Teeratee Buddeehong), who agrees to the marriage for financial reasons. In a series of small twists, many people that Jom encounters in the past were also present in his future but as different personalities, causing him to feel conflicted while dealing with some of them.
As a foreign viewer, it’s challenging to determine the historical accuracy of the costumes and sets depicting 1920s Thailand in the series. However, accuracy aside, the cinematography evokes an alluring, nostalgic era, with some beautiful set pieces and settings despite not being made on an extravagant budget. I really liked the soft pastel palette that dominated the series’ aesthetics and many of the outdoor scenes which involved Yai reading a book by the river under breezy trees while Jom accompanied him were very romantic. Also, the series leads look great together. The young, well-read, sensitive Yai is straightforward about his attraction to Jom, while the latter is demure, cautious and vigilant.
The first episode featured some supernatural scenes; Jom keeps seeing a different reflection of himself in the mirror before he time-travels, setting up expectations of horror themes in the plot. However, as a horror fan, I was slightly disappointed that the supernatural elements in the story are minimal. “I Feel You Linger in the Air” is more like a historical-romance television series addressing the issues of stark class divides and rampant discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community in the 1920s, an era with close to zero acceptance of sexual diversity. Nu Surasak Chaiat plays Yai’s strict father, Luang Thep Nititham, who decides to marry his son off immediately upon learning of his sexuality, despite Yai being barely 20 years old at the time. Alee Auttharinya Uengsilpsrikul delivers an emotional performance as Ueangphueng, who is trapped in a terrible marriage and in a refreshing change, she develops an unlikely kinship with her co-wife Fongkaew. Instead of being petty, jealous or vengeful, the two women are united in their abhorrence for their abusive husband and work together to expose some of his misdeeds.
For a 12 episode series, “I Feel You Linger in the Air” packs in a lot of different themes and sub-plots that don’t get enough space to be explored fully, but at least Jom and Yai’s romance shines through. Nonkul Chanon Santinatornkul and Bright Rapheephong Thapsuwan have incredible chemistry as the lead pair, and their longing gazes for each other evoke the seductiveness of a fantasy-romance novel. The soundtrack sweetly complements their slow-burn romance, dominated by traditional Thai strings that blend nicely with the 1920s theme. Unlike many Thai dramas that tend to scuttle passionate scenes with vocal-based music, this series sensibly inserts instrumental-only pieces for amorous moments between the leads.
The climactic episode was emotional but didn’t make too much sense, we never understand why Jom is able to travel back in time or what could help him find his way back, that supernatural aspect of the series remains shady until the end. However, the show ends with two unexpected twist, so watch out for a scene that rolls in after the ends credits, which basically promises a possibility for a season two. Overall, “I Feel You Linger in the Air” is decently-paced, nostalgic and worth watching if you like time-traveling romances.
You can stream “I Feel You Linger in the Air” on YouTube.
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