Netflix’s Let’s Get Divorced explores the idea of what happens when a celebrity couple decides to part ways. Yui Kurosawa, an actor, and Taishi Sojhi, a politician, realized that their marriage had lost its spark and that divorce was the only answer. But the problem was that their lives were entangled with each other. Yui was stereotyped as the devoted wife on television due to her marital status, and Sojhi enjoyed the advantages of being married to a celebrity. Their marriage financially benefited them, but without love, it had almost become impossible for them to stay together. Let’s Get Divorced is a Japanese rom-com series that starts with the promise of separation. The audience is constantly left to wonder whether or not the couple will get divorced in the end. While it was an enjoyable break from the cliches that one expects from the rom-com genre, the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ situation is stretched unnecessarily long.
When Taishi’s affair became public knowledge, Yui asked for a divorce. Taishi owed much of his popularity and success to Yui. As a third-generation politician, Taishi had no clue about his career. He was simply following in the footsteps of his recently deceased father and working according to the guidance of his controlling mother. He was born into privilege, and he never cared to step out of the bubble. Divorcing Yui meant that he would lose the support of her fanbase, and his advisers were completely against it. Even though their marriage was falling apart, Taishi and Yui regularly live-streamed together for their fans. They did not allow the rumors to affect their public appearances. To the world, they were still together, but behind closed doors, they had lost complete faith in their marriage. Yui was a popular television figure, and after getting married, she was mostly offered the roles of doting wives. Yui’s talent company warned her that she would have to pay a large penalty fee from her endorsement deals if she opted for a divorce. With their careers at stake, Yui and Taishi had to decide if getting a divorce was even worth the hassle.
Taishi fell in love with Yui when he watched her on television one day. She was shooting in Ehime, and he met her on set. He was mesmerized by her beauty, and she suspected that he was someone she had met before. Taishi and Yui eventually fell madly in love and decided to get married. Taishi’s parents were completely against their relationship. Since Yui was a modern woman working in the entertainment industry, his parents did not think she was eligible to become a politician’s wife. Their traditional beliefs made it impossible for them to see the love that Taishi and Yui shared. But Yui did not give up. She poured out her emotions and conveyed to his parents that she was the one meant to be with him. While Taishi fondly remembered those days, he often wondered if Yui was simply acting. Yui met Taishi at a point in her life when she was searching for stability. Her mother’s love life was never consistent, and perhaps that was why Yui dreamed of a fairytale romance. But the love that they once shared is now gone. Every time Yui looked at Taishi, she was reminded of how he betrayed her trust.
Let’s Get Divorced captures the complexity of romantic relationships and the entire act of separation in a humorous way. While that is surely interesting, one of the major issues with Let’s Get Divorced is its length. Each episode is an hour long, and it gets a little too tiresome to follow. The series gradually starts to feel repetitive, and the interest is almost lost by the time we reach the ending. Taishi Sojha is pretty much an unlikeable character from the get-go. He cheats on his wife, he is aimless, he makes terrible public appearances, he says the wrong thing at the wrong time, he cannot make up his mind, and the list goes on. After five episodes, we finally get to see more shades of the character, and while it was interesting to watch him become his own person, the entire shift just felt extremely stretched. The change that Taishi goes through was not unexpected; rather, it was the most obvious progression, but it took way too long to keep us hooked on the show. Yui Kurosawa is a rather complex character, best described as someone who is stuck between modern ideas and traditional expectations. There are choices that she wants to make as an individual, but she has a hard time dealing with societal pressure. Riisa Naka is convincing as Yui Kurosawa. She strikes the right balance between being humorous and impactful. Tori Matsuzaka delivers a lighthearted performance as the naive yet problematic Taishi Sojhi. It was his approach that made Taishi a likable character in the end.
There were quite a few interesting side characters and sub-plots that could have potentially added more to the series, but they remained unexplored. The pacing of Let’s Get Divorced is inconsistent. The first few episodes take time to unfold, but as we progress, we can sense the urgency to bring an end to the elaborate series. The last episode had too many things happening, and it felt a little chaotic. Since the ending is crucial, it should have been better planned. Perhaps whatever happens in the last episode could have been spread across two episodes to make an emotional impact.
Let’s Get Divorced is a casual, fun watch, but with an hour-long episode, it gets too strenuous too soon. It could have been entertaining if the length had been shortened and the focus remained on the main plot. When it comes to rom-coms, there are way too many options to choose from, and I am afraid that Let’s Get Divorced will possibly get lost in a heap.