Sleepless Society: Bedtime Wishes – Thai drama review

Another epic outing in the Sleepless Society series, with 13 more episodes of challenging drama in this revenge tragedy. Nara (Savika Chaiyadej) goes to a country villa to catch up with new boyfriend Rain, who is turning his opulent estate into a luxury hotel. The second instalment under the Sleepless Society umbrella, Bedtime Wishes contains all the mystery and plot twists that viewers of these dramas should expect.

In fact, Bedtime Wishes puts the reviewer in a difficult position, as there’s a key revelation early on that is crucial to all subsequent developments. Shahkrit Yamnam plays Rain, and Rome – his alter ego, nemesis, maybe his brother! Most people read reviews after watching the show don’t they? Or do they read them to work out whether to watch a show or not?

I’ll try not to reveal any of the twists, but this one, established early, is crucial to the story. One of the weak points of Bedtime Wishes is it does get itself into some tangles. At one stage it seemed as if it was actually Rain who had committed all the crimes ascribed to his alter ego/brother Rome, but then the writers move away from this hypothesis.

Yamnam does a good job portraying Rain and Rome, as they require two completely contrasting personalities – one confident, authoritarian; the other timid and submissive. Both are neurotic in their own ways. And both can be charming, with Nara ultimately unsure who she loves more.

Chaiyadej portrays Nara as a strong, independent woman, and it’s easy to see why Rain/Rome are keen to gain her affections. Chaiyadej has Indian/Thai mixed race heritage – one of the things I like about Thailand is the melting pot of ethnicities.

Rain/Rome leads Nara into a basement below Uncle Sompot’s isolated quarters at the back of Castle Rain. Creepy?

In Bedtime Wishes, Nara has her own agenda. Her birthright comes first, as well as avenging any wrongs Rain’s family might have committed against her’s in the past. She is single-minded in this regard, and even love won’t get in the way.

Her best friend, Methanee, is another key character. Methanee shows that despite Thailand’s reputation for progressiveness when it comes to gender and sexuality, there are still reactionary elements. Rain’s father, Pitak, menacingly portrayed by Pairot Sangwariboot, resents having Methanee as the head chef because s/he is transgender. Supoj Janjareonborn gives a touching, sympathetic portrayal, showing Methanee as both strong, vulnerable and concerned for family and friends. Like Rain, there is a double-side to Methanee, and over the course of the series this character develops well. Will Methanee and Nara remain BFFs?

Methanee confides to her boyfriend about her suspicions that all is not as it seems at Castle Rain.

One of the key themes of Bedtime Wishes is gender and gender boundaries. As Nara becomes more assertive, you could say her masculine side – the side that seeks domination and honour – becomes more prominent. As Rain/Rome clash in their affections towards Nara, the softer, almost feminine Rome becomes a more suitable match for her.

Rain’s father Pitak and his Uncle Sompot foresee the danger Nara poses to the family and their vast estate. Will they be able to enact countermeasures? Perhaps they might consider eliminating her entirely! This is how Sompot feels, who lives with his wife in a garden in a dark area of the estate. But you can see the inner conflict in actor Suchao Pongwilai’s portrayl of loyal Uncle Sompot.

Rain/Rome has some explaining to do to Uncle Sompot

Bedtime Wishes was gripping drama until the end. The ending reminded me of a Thomas Hardy novel, when the worst that can happen, happens and everyone gets their karma. It was all a bit over the top, after all the emotional effort invested in the story and characters. That’s why I rate Bedtime Wishes…

Verdict: 7.5

The soundtrack, like all Sleepless Society series, was very good. Atmospheric without being intrusive, this is how film/TV composers should write. The acting was good throughout, and the cliffhangers at the end of each episode keep you watching. Unsatisfying ending, culminating in a showdown where everyone … [fill in the blank].


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