Smiley (2022)

The “Red thread of Fate” or the “Legend of the Red String” are stories that illustrate the connections between people. In some versions, this is relegated to romantic relationships, but others simply describe how two people will share an important story. Smiley weaves a tapestry of stories together through 8 episodes that bring this legend to life.

I found the Legend of the Red String to be an interesting idea to tie these 8 episodes together, as well as the fate of the protagonists. Alex and Bruno meet by chance when Alex calls his ex to chew him out. In this day and age, I’m not sure I would have called him back – after all, he sounded pretty ticked. But this chance encounter leads the pair to consider something outside their comfort zone and the red string is tied.

Through the episodes we see the red string tangle and stretch. Their first encounters are ripe with conflict, but this enables them to grow as people. I wondered at first what the draw was between them, but they have just enough in common to relate, but they are different enough that they round out the relationship.

But the course of true love… There were many times when I thought, well, this just isn’t going to happen. So many missed opportunities and close encounters. Fate was not kind, but of course that means more episodes for us to watch. This was not just to extend the story – there was a point here.

We see other red strings the arcs of the other characters. Alex’s mother and her late husband Juan still seem tied together, as do her and Ramiro. We have the relationship between Vero and Patri. There was the mature relationship between Albert and Nuria. I counted at least 10 story arcs that each describe a variation of the theme of the connections people share.

I love that we see the theme of the “red string that ties” story looked at from so many angles. We have the short connections that touch us and leave, ones that are friendship, others that are passionate and long-term. One of the main points that jumps out especially towards the end of the series is the idea of missed chances and lost time.

I did find some typical romantic tropes and cliches that sometimes annoy me, but they didn’t so much in this series. I think it was because there was enough character and story development that it didn’t feel lazy, but almost like they were used purposely to tie into the story and make a point.

Production value was excellent. The only thing I found slightly odd was that the English dub didn’t always match the subtitles. This was interesting because it almost gave you two possibilities of the meaning behind the dialogue.

I enjoyed watching this series as evidenced by the fact that I binged the entire thing. Worth checking on on Netflix.

Faena. (n.d.). The legend of the red string of Japan. FaenaAleph. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from 

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, November 1). Red thread of fate. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from 

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