The 2020 Thai coming of age series ‘I Told Sunset About You’ (ITSAY) is a love letter to the world from director Naruebet Kuno. Starring Putthipong Assaratanakul AKA Bilkin and Krit Amnuaydechkorn AKA PP in lead roles, this five episode story looks like it’s from a different era, despite being set in the present, where teens speak their hearts via Instagram stories.
Set in Phuket, the series shows us a slow transformation of ties between two friends Teh (Bilkin) and Oh-aew (PP). They are friends first, then foes and finally lovers. The story is as old as time, just like how first-love and first heart-break feels the same way across the globe. It is the beautiful background score, the carefully picked locations and the talented actors that breathe magic into every little scene unfolding in this drama.
Naruebet Kuno and team have spun a beautiful tale of teen love, confusion and angst. Teh and Oh-aew are childhood best-friends who do not speak to each other for almost five years after a small fight. The friendship is rekindled when the two are in their last year of school and attend Chinese classes as part of their preparation to enter a University.
Bilkin is charming as the studious, competitive and jealous Teh who begins to desire his friend Oh-aew but isn’t ready to embrace the sudden sexual awakening. His co-star PP is equally endearing as the vulnerable and sensitive Oh-aew, who aspires to become an actor. The two lead actors disarm the audience with their on-screen chemistry that comes across as raw and believable. Pongpol Panyamit (Khunpol) who plays Bass needs special mention for his role as Oh-aew’s crush. He is delightful as the quiet, shy junior who is wise beyond his years and has absolutely no qualms about expressing his love.
Teh lives in a house that seems right out of the 1980s, with gorgeous woodwork and furniture that looks like it was picked in an antique shop. His friendship with Oh-aew blossoms as the two do Chinese lessons in his house. There is a certain innocence in this series that is lacking in most series that you’ll find cluttering the internet/streaming sites.
Unlike most Thai shows that have very obvious, cringe-worthy product placements, ITSAY didn’t have any glaring ads stuffed in the script to please advertisers. It was also refreshing to not see any stereotypical tropes and exaggerated characters that one sees in LGBT series these days. There is also no sub-plot to distract the viewer from the main story.
The background score has a huge part in making the show a visual treat. Each scene is accompanied by tracks that sound like a traditional mix of Thai/Chinese tunes and are very pleasant to the ears. The music enhances the emotional quotients of important moments, like the one where Teh and Oh-aew resolve to become friends again.
ITSAY is an absolutely binge-worthy show and has a high re-watch value. It realistically portrays male friendships, the pangs of sexual confusion and the despair of a first heart-break. Director Kuno also deftly displays how youngsters tend to make rash, reckless life changing decisions while in a relationship that can have a lasting impact on their future.
The only scene that I felt was a departure from the rest of the story was an underwater kiss scene. It’s absolutely understandable that the director wanted a beautiful shot, a first kiss that’s away from prying eyes of the world, but the scene was a little far-fetched. Kissing in sea-water cannot be that picture-perfect. Although, to the director’s credit, it’s a memorable scene, surreal as it is.
The climax was smooth and ties up all the turbulent emotions of the characters in a neat promising ending. It’s a 9/10 for me and I cannot wait for season two!