Just Between Lovers Korean Drama Review

Just Between Lovers tells the stories of people who struggle but persevere in order to make something of their lives.  Ten years ago, a mall that collapsed due to bad construction killed many people and altered the lives of the survivors. A man (Junho) lost his father as well as severely injured his leg and a woman (Won Jin Ah) lost her little sister. As they work on a new building project, they struggle to heal old wounds as they fall in love.

Junho plays Lee Kang Doo. Kang Doo lost everything because of the mall collapse. His father, his dreams, and the chance at a normal life. Now he struggles to get by while living in debt. His situation is just bleak.

He also deals with some severe Post Traumatic Stress from the accident. He’s a very rough around the edges and straight forward guy. But watching him deal with traumatic memories that brought him so much pain and so many tears ripped my heart out.

And honestly, he’s one of those people that one bad thing after another just keeps happening to. He just can’t catch a break in life! It was so incredibly sad to see. And Junho did absolutely wonderful at portraying this character and capturing the intensity of his pain.

Won Jin Ah is Ha Moon Soo. After her little sister was killed in the accident, her family never fully recovered. And she deals with survivors guilt for living when her sister didn’t. The accident also led her down a career path building models for new buildings to identify any problems. This ultimately leads her to cross paths with Kang Doo.

Then we have Lee Ki Woo as Seo Joo Won. Joo Won’s life was also changed by the mall collapse. As an architect at the company Moon Soo works for, he’s always working to prevent a similar tragedy to the one in the past. On the outside, he seems to have everything, but underneath that he is a lonely man who also struggles with the past.

I was a bit disappointed with how his character was handled. I was really interested in his story, and he was an important part of the first half of the drama. But he kind of falls to the wayside in the second half, and his story sort of peters out. Supporting characters ended up with much bigger roles than he did. So I was a bit let down that he wasn’t given more attention.

Just Between Lovers is a sad but beautiful story. The script was well thought out with all scenes and character interactions having importance. The cinematography is gorgeous in this drama. So many shots beautifully depict the landscape as well as the emotional weight of the character’s interactions. The wonderful soundtrack also enhances this. The songs create a hauntingly bittersweet tone that really tugged at my heartstrings.

Just Between Lovers is sort of a slow burn kind of drama. It takes a few episodes to really get everything set up and then it carefully makes it’s way through the story. Despite having a slower feel to it, it was paced really well. There were some times during the latter third that I found a bit draggy, but overall the drama is very engaging.

The love story between Gang Doo and Moon Soo had a very natural progression. Rather than any big theatrics, it developed organically in a way that made each subtle development feel important.

These are two people that are in immense pain, and they feel alone in their struggles. But connecting with each allows them to explore their shared connection and understand that they are not alone in their pain. They each have a lot of issues to work through both personally and as a couple, but their relationship is the definition of a healing one.


Now almost everyone in this drama is experiencing varying levels of misery. Everyone has problems and most are struggling to get through them. Something I really appreciated with this drama was how it handled the topic of past trauma. It doesn’t sugar coat things. Many people expect victims of trauma to just get over it and move on. But this drama shows that these experiences have lifelong effects.

Losing a loved one will always leave a hole in your heart. Traumatic memories of pain and suffering can haunt you and cause you physical pain throughout your life. You also never fully understand someone else’s pain. And even when people do begin to heal, things will never be completely okay again. But for the characters in the drama, it meant that they needed to work even harder to be happy. It was all portrayed so achingly true to life.

Just Between Lovers told it’s story beautifully. It’s depiction of trauma and healing was heartachingly real. But even in the midst of tragedy, life does goes on. And those struggling need others to reach out to them and show them that they are not alone.

They may not be able to heal all their wounds, but it’s better to have someone to share that pain with and to ease the burden if only by a small amount. Knowing you are not alone can make all the difference.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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32 Responses to Just Between Lovers Korean Drama Review

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    I have said it countless times I think, but everybody needs friends/ loved ones in their lives. No one can get through it alone.
    This sounds like one heavy drama though…wow. While I enjoyed reading your review, and certainly think it’s a worthwhile watch, I’m saving this for a rainy day. It contains quite a number of subjects that may hit pretty close to home right now.
    But that said, I do think it will be a series that in the end I will enjoy overall 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It does have a sadness that permeates throughout the drama. But not overly sad, and it was a very beautiful story. I really appreciated how it touched on trauma, healing, and relationships in such a meaningful way. And I would most definitely recommend it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shrestha Sen says:

    To Kdramakisses,
    It’s been a wonderful and an exciting yet rewarding journey going through your kdrama reviews endless of times for me. I more or less end up been immensely happy and satisfied with the reviews you put and the relevance it has when I actually watch the drama. Believe me, there’s not a single drama which I have watched without going through the reviews put here. The experience has been so rewarding so far.
    Only a little disappointment with the rating of this drama “Just Between Lovers” (p.s beautiful review but). Personally, I feel that this drama deserves a bit higher rating, considering the plot, the A+ casts, the perfectly-executed pain, the emotional bonding as well as the character development. Everything was perfect to a tee. Well, I agree about Seo Joo Won’s character being handled a bit lightly and his family issues and his love interest. Other that than the drama captured my heart as it did of million viewers and deserves to be appreciated for that.

    This was completely my personal opinion. Sincerely wishing for a re-consideration. Please feel free to ignore if you find it unappropriate.

    Thanking you in advance!
    Shrestha Sen.😀😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful and sweet comment! I am so glad that you have been able to enjoy so many of the reviews to compliment your drama watching 🙂 Aww, sorry you were disappointed in the rating for Just Between Lovers though. Hopefully, you could tell from the content in the review itself how much I enjoyed the drama, and I certainly had a lot of praise for it.

      I wouldn’t worry to much about my actual number though. It really is purely my opinion and is completely subjective. But I can honestly tell you that anything I rate a 7 and above I thoroughly enjoyed. I have given out lots of 7s to many wonderful dramas that have special places in my heart. And that includes Just Between Lovers. It had a couple things that just weren’t quite to my tastes that effected my personal rating, but I still loved it and tried to convey it’s many beautiful and wonderful qualities in the review. And thank you for letting me know what you thought about the drama and how much it meant to you. I always love hearing from other fans who appreciate these wonderful dramas 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello! I’ve got to agree with Shrestha Sen about the ratings. I’d definitely give it wholeheartedly a 10 out of 10 :’)

        I felt it was the best drama for the end of year 2017. There had been so many love story with similar troupe – a rich boy and a poor girl – that we finally have something so fresh and simple, yet so complicated. Just Between Lovers had such a depth, the slow-pacing allowed us to immerse into the leads character and even walk-through their daily lives, the bonds – It felt real. A story about two broken souls who finds healing from each other, and despite all their traumatizing past, at the end of the day, they just wanted to be finally at peace and be happy. Aren’t we all the same – trying to walk past our struggles and just be happy?

        Maybe I’m just an emotional guy haha. My words could never do justice for this drama. This is truly just my heart-felt opinion 🙂

        Thank you for this review!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Kay says:

          Oooh, a 10/10…it’s great that you enjoyed it so much! I really enjoyed it too 🙂 I agree, it was such a fresh story and different from what else is out there. I too loved that at it’s heart it was a simple story, yet it was full of such complex characters and emotions. It was beautiful and sad, yet also uplifting and hopeful. I’m also emotional when it comes to dramas, and I really felt these characters and connected with them. Truly a lovely story! I’m glad you liked the review too and took time to comment 🙂


        • Shrestha Sen says:

          Hi! AZ
          Thank you so much for agreeing with me on that!

          It indeed was one of the very few best dramas of 2017 which really was a great way to commemorate the new year. That’s so true… it has always been an eye candy for all kdramalover to watch the same rich boy and poor girl concept until something new and fresh like this pops outta nowhere. Now all you got to do is enjoy it thouroughly as possible. Indeed the characters were so well played by both the leads, the viewers could really sink into the depths of their stuggle and become a part of their misery and loneliness. Yes, I do agree…we are all somewhere at some point of our lives are walking past our stuggle and tryna be happy. After all, that’s why people say “Life: It’s complicated dear.”

          Please, it’s nothing like that. You just are open about your emotions. Well, that’s good, hiding them ain’t gonna do you any good. Be the best version of you!
          P.S Thank you once again for agreeing with me.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Shrestha Sen says:

        Wow! You actually replied!!! My sincere graditude to you for making the time to write back.😁 The pleasure is all mine, I’ve always had smiles and a contended heart everytime I read your reviews and start the drama with a happy mind and soul. Well, indeed you praised the drama in all possible ways in your written review. Thank you so much!

        That was some point to be noted. Rest assure, from henceforth will be looking out for all the 7 and aboves you rate to have a good drama binge. So happy to know even you have special dramas which are close to your heart, I have too. You know what attracted me the most to choose “Kdramakisses” is the tagline which reads “Everyone remembers the first time they were kissed by a kdrama!”…it instantly captured my heart 💘. Thank you for letting me know your very personal review and taking your time out to read my comment.😁😇 Watching Radio Romance currently, liking it so far, an ardent fan of Kim So Hyun. (Just wanted to share with you)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Aww, I love talking with other drama fans. Again, I appreciate the comments because it’s so great to share our drama love with each other 🙂 I’m glad you could tell I really loved the drama from the review portion. I always try to point out what I loved as well as if there was anything I personally didn’t care for no matter what rating I give it so that others can decide if it’s right for them.

          Isn’t it wonderful how dramas touch our hearts so? I have some that have touched me so deeply, and they leave such a lasting impression. The characters and themes in Just Between Lovers was certainly like that 🙂

          And thank you for sharing what drew you to Kdrama Kisses! That truly made me smile 🙂 The tagline really summed up the magic of first discovering kdramas for me as well as why they continue to be special. So I’m glad it touched you in a similar way 🙂

          I plan to check out Radio Romance too as I also love Kim So Hyun. I’m always excited to see her dramas. I hope you keep liking it!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Shrestha Sen says:

            *All Smiles!
            I do agree about sharing the drama love with everyone. Yes it absolutely doubles the happiness and brings a sensation of belonging, to understand that there’s someone else who exactly understands the hang of being a kdrama addict and certainly goes through a kaleidoscope of emotions all together in span of that 1 hour.

            Definitely it is. I guess that is the reason we always experiment with new dramas to see which one is most relatable and intriguing and able to trigger emotions withing us. Just Between Lovers also has a very special place along with some other dramas in my heart💓.

            I wanted to share it a long time ago but was least expectant that you’d revert back so warmly. Thank you so much…the tagline is the MAGIC,✨I tell you. It did touch my heart in million little ways. Wonder how you came to think of it so perfectly.

            G-R-E-A-T !!! the character development is good so far. The story is unveiling little by little in a fairly good way. Hope you like it too. Doo Joon and Kim So Hyun pair has its own charms to be appreciated for. Looking forward to it! 😇😀😁

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              Well, I really hope you share your thoughts on some other dramas in the future. Would love to keep sharing that drama love 🙂

              And I really am glad you decided to share about the tagline 🙂 Hmmm, how did I think of it? Well, the site name and tagline happened almost instantaneously as I was trying to capture what dramas mean to me and the magic they made me feel. When I realized they were like sweet “kisses” I named the site with that in mind. Then immediately I thought of my first drama being my first drama kiss. And I knew I would always remember it and most other people do too. Thus the tagline was born! And I thought it captured my feelings and the magic perfectly 🙂

              I will be looking forward to Kim So Hyun and Yoon Doo Joon. They look quite cute together and the drama looks sweet. Hopefully, we just keep the good dramas coming, hehe 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Shrestha Sen says:

    Yup, definitely I’d love to share the drama love too. That would be so generous of you.

    W-O-W that’s sound pretty impeccable and great. Thank you so much for answering my curiousity and igniting more compassion and appreciation for this site.

    True…the good dramas are coming!!! Hey, please drop in some of your recommendation of new dramas which you’d suggest me to watch.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      You’re welcome 🙂 Well, the new drama I’m watching right now is Hwayugi which has been a lot of fun. If you like other dramas from the Hong sisters than I would recommend it. Nothing too deep, but it’s fun with a great fantasy element. Do you like revenge melodramas at all? If so I could recommend an excellent one. I haven’t started it yet, but it sounds like Radio Romance is a nice little love story too. I’m looking forward to checking that one out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shrestha Sen says:

        I dont know but Hwayugi didn’t impress me to that extent. Maybe because I’m not that into Hong Sisters. I felt the character development is missing and the chemistry between leads isn’t that dedicated. (P.S I have nothing against you liking it, this is completely my point of view). Anyway thanks for the recommendation, would give it another try.
        Not that I adore revenge-melo so much, but if the plot-line and execution is perfect with a justified ending, it works wonders for me. I just watched “The Innocent Man” from that genre, it seemed to be quite interesting for me to watch. Recommend the one you’re thinking of. That’d be so generous of you. Thank you so much for appreciating Radio Romance and giving it the consideration to watch it. Hope you enjoy it immensely at your own sweet time….😁😇

        Liked by 2 people

        • Kay says:

          Aw, that’s too bad. I can understand though if you aren’t a big fan of the Hong sisters. I’m really liking the drama, but I would agree that there isn’t a lot of character development. Though Lee Seung Gi’s character does have some later in the drama. But Hwayugi really is more of a fun fantasy drama that isn’t too deep. So don’t worry if you don’t care for it. It just depends on taste. And I’ll make note in the future that Hong sisters style aren’t generally your favorite 🙂

          I like revenge melos, so I can’t be sure you would like it, but I recently watched Money Flower and it was a perfect revenge melo. I would definitely say the plot line, execution, and ending were near perfect for the genre. Takes a couple eps to warm up and there isn’t much romance at all, but it really is a high quality drama.

          Oh, I’m sorry! I just realized you already said you were currently watching Radio Romance. Otherwise, I would have recommended other romances. These are a few months old, but did you watch Go Back Couple and The Package? Both were excellent in many ways, and I would highly recommend them 🙂


          • Shrestha Sen says:

            Thanks for the consideration once again. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of them, yet I enjoyed My Girlfriend is Gumiho to the full holding my stomach as I laughed harder and harder each time a comedy scene rolled in. Ahh what a series…Remarkable indeed! Talking about the first part of the drama Hwayugi I was a bit interested to see how the story unveils, but as it proceeded I didn’t find myself connected to the characters anymore and began losing the interest. But would still try to finish the series sooner or later.

            Thanks for the recommendation. Will definitely give Money Flower a watch soon as I’m done with my current drama series. Will let you how well I liked it.

            It’s perfectly fine. I’m open to suggestions whenever they come in. Please feel free to recommend anything that comes to your mind. The Package is in my watchlist and I have to take sometime out to get into that drama and have a refreshing Paris trip. I was so apprehensive about how good of a story it was but now as you suggest, I would watch it with zero apprehension. Had heard a lot of good things about Go Back Couple….was wondering is it a Rom Com? On what is the story focussed? Please can you clear my doubts… Looking forward to watching all your recommended dramas. Thanks a lot once again.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              Well, at least you liked the most important one, lol. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is my all time favorite drama and holds such a special place in my heart. So glad to hear you enjoyed that one 🙂

              I really hope you enjoy Money Flower. As far as the revenge melo genre goes, it is top notch. Mostly just comes down to if you like the genre though. But I came across quite a few people who weren’t big fans of revenge melos but still loved it. So you never know 🙂

              The Package was such a lovely drama. Although it is much lighter than Just Between Lovers, it has a similar beautiful and contemplative feel with wonderful character journeys and gorgeous scenery. It’s a lovely story.

              Yes, Go Back Couple is a rom com. It’s about a husband and wife that regret getting married, but they get a second chance at love when they are both transported back in time to their college years. It has a lot of comedy, but it is also beautiful and heartbreaking. I cried a lot! There are a lot of really touching moments. But yes, definitely give those a try and see if they click with you. They are all high quality and well made 🙂


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  6. Nayana Nair says:

    Loved your review dear 🙂
    I finished watching this series just few weeks back. It was so beautiful to watch. The vulnerability of the characters and how each tries to cope up with their pain. They handled this subject in such a delicate way. I had almost felt, I would end up crying by the time this drama ends. (I probably would have cried if the writers had ended up killing Kang Doo). And the OST ‘I open my eyes’- loved it (though the other soundtracks were equally good).
    My favourite characters were Kand Doo, the Grandma (sad that she ended up dying in the drama 😦 ) and Sang man (that part where he wanted to donate his liver for Kang Doo’s transplant)
    Even though I loved your review, I would agree with the comments about rating, I would also have given it somewhere around 9.5/10. (0.5 reduction because of Joo Won…how that character ended up in the second half, was kind of disappointing).
    Thanks for all the other reviews, I update my to-watch list based on your reviews many times.
    Bye. Have an awesome day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Oh, you really did like this one with a 9.5 🙂

      It really was such a beautiful drama that depicted the characters and their pain and struggles in such a meaningful way. I ended up crying a couple times. Thankfully, it all ended well!

      I think my favorite character would be Kang Doo. I also really liked the Grandma and was so sad when she died 😦 This really is one of those dramas that takes you on a moving journey and leaves a lasting impression 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jelena Vasic says:

    Beautifully written, very objective, but with heart.
    I’m watching it now. This is totally different K drama, very realistic. Acting is perfect, like they’re not acting, you don’t have the feeling of falseness. Music and scenography are breathtaking.
    Being alone in pain and suffering is one of the most desperate feeling that exist.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m happy you enjoyed it 🙂

      Yes, this is a very beautiful drama from the script, to the production, to the acting. Lots of elements that ring to true to life and wonderful explorations of some very complex themes. It was a unique and different in a great way 🙂


  8. Snow Flower says:

    Just for nished today and loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jolevey says:

    Junho is one of the great actors in the world today, IMHO. He was very believable as Lee Kang-doo in Just Between Lovers. When I started watching Red Sleeve, I did not realize he was playing the part of Yi San until I Googled the cast names. He is so ‘in character’ in any role he plays that it is difficult to recognize who he really is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      He really is an incredibly talented actor. And yes, he was so good in this drama! I have The Red Sleeve on my watch list, and I know he gives an amazing performance in it, so I’m excited to see it 🙂


  10. jolevey says:

    Junho, like American actors Hugh Jackman, John Travolta and Patrick Swaze, is a wonderful Triple Threat! He can sing, dance and act! Beautiful singing voice, great dancer and mesmerizing actor!

    Liked by 1 person

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