Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo

Encounter (also known as Boyfriend) is an opposites story that follows the complicated romance between a free-spirited ordinary man (Park Bo Gum) who seems to have nothing and the wealthy CEO (Song Hye Kyo) of a hotel who seems to have everything but is unhappy with her life.

Encounter was a pretty hyped up drama because of the casting of Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo.  It was the comeback project for each after having very successful previous dramas. But the drama seemed to draw mixed reactions from fans.

For many, it was a love it or hate it kind of drama. I ended up falling somewhere in the middle. Encounter has its pros and cons along with a distinct romance melodrama genre that won’t work for everybody.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Song Hye Kyo

Song Hye Kyo plays Cha Soo Hyun. She is the daughter of a politician and the CEO of a hotel. She has led a lonely life where she has been in the eye of the public and unable to do as she wants. But that begins to change when she meets a man named Jin Hyuk.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum

Park Bo Gum is Kim Jin Hyuk. He is an ordinary man who recently became a rookie employee at Soo Hyun’s hotel company. And I think he may just be the perfect man! He is a bright ray of sunshine with a smile that lights up the room.

He also has this innocence and sweet spirit that just make him so endearing. His thoughtfulness and compassion for others runs deep, and he genuinely cares for Soo Hyun more than himself and puts her needs above his. I really don’t think this man had a single flaw. When I say perfect, I mean perfect, hehe.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo

We get a bit of role reversal from what is usually seen in Dramaland with Encounter. In this story, it is the woman who is the rich CEO of a company with the man as the newbie employee. It’s a similar type of story to what we’ve seen many times before, but the reversal adds a fresh dynamic to it. Plus, she’s a bit older than him which gives us a nice noona romance too.

I loved the first episode set in Havana, Cuba. It creates such a rich and free-spirited atmosphere. It was definitely a romantic setting for our couple’s first encounters. The whole drama has this very artistic quality to it that comes across as very thoughtful.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo

Then we head back to Korea where the dynamic between a CEO and an employee comes to the forefront in a world that has very much placed them apart. They have a difficult road and many challenges to face.

I think Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo went surprisingly well together. They had an easy going rapport between them that resulted in a sweet chemistry. Their relationship felt very gentle and nurturing as they provided a safe haven for each other in the midst of a tumultuous world.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Jang Seung Jo

Sadly, everything outside of Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo was fairly dull for me. Nothing particularly bad, just that everything and everyone felt very average. The supporting characters didn’t really stand out and just sort of played their parts. I also thought Jang Seung Jo was terribly under-utilized as Soo Hyun’s ex-husband.

My interest in the actual story waxed and waned throughout the drama. Sometimes I was very engaged, and other times I wasn’t at all. It was like all of the makings of a good melodrama were present in the show with the scheming mothers, jealous ex-husbands, pining friends, and the class divide, but there simply wasn’t a lot of tension to be found. The drama just had an odd tone to it that at many times felt slow.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo

A lot of the best parts were the ends of the episodes where we had a brief tense moment followed by our couple putting their love first. But then we were quickly back to normal. I think for me the problem was that there just weren’t a lot of the normal theatrics we see in many dramas since Jin Hyuk and Soo Hyun dealt with everything fairly easily. The obstacles were there, they just didn’t seem to pose that much of a problem to the couple as most were quickly solved.

Now on the plus side, that meant our couple faced these challenges head on. There wasn’t as much succumbing to all of these external factors like we are used to seeing. They decided they wanted a relationship and moved forward with that intention.

They communicated quite well, understood the risks they were taking, and stood up for each other. That makes for a pretty healthy relationship. But that healthy of a relationship makes for a lack of excitement on my part. What can I say, I like lots of drama and theatrics, lol.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Song Hye Kyo

We do finally get a fairly big challenge for the pair towards the end of the drama though as they have to fully face the harsh reality of what being together means. Something to really test their relationship. And that added in some of that angst that I like so much.

Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama - Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo

Despite the drawbacks, Jin Hyuk and Soo Hyun’s relationship still continued to delight me throughout the drama. I loved watching them go on simple dates, be giddy, and see them nurture each other. The drama most excelled at telling their story. It was a beautiful relationship filled with healing. And they are what made the drama enjoyable enough.

Overall, Encounter was a bit slow and lacking punch, but the romance makes the drama. If you like stories with a heavy focus on romance, this drama is a great fit. And even better if you like a mature couple that communicates well and face obstacles head on while lovingly supporting each other. But personal taste is likely to be heavily at play as to whether Encounter will be a love it or hate it kind of drama for you.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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30 responses to “Encounter (Boyfriend) Korean Drama Review”

  1. MyKDramaticLiife Avatar

    Okay. So this is already on my long long list. But trusting your score, I think I have to give it less priority.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Well, sometimes you do love dramas that I don’t, so you never know, hehe. It’s definitely got its pros and cons and really just plain comes down to taste. Best of luck when you do go for it 🙂

  2. Precious Jasmin Avatar
    Precious Jasmin

    Another drama on my to watch list. Another kdrama that has some foreign feels to it.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Yes, I loved that some of it was set in Cuba. Just gorgeous! I hope you like it when you get a chance to watch it 🙂

      1. Precious Jasmin Avatar
        Precious Jasmin

        I hope so too.

  3. D Avatar

    I agree with your rating. I did not love this drama but I did not hate it either.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Yep, it was one of those odd ones. It had parts I really liked and parts I really didn’t. It always feels a bit confusing when that happens, lol

  4. Eva Avatar

    Wow. You and I probably do think a lot.

    I agree with you on numerous points.

    1. The drama was quite hyped up due to awesome line up with the cast.

    2. The first episode in Cuba was amazing… this really got my hopes up for the drama. The scenery was amazing. I felt the instant chemistry. It was sweet.

    3. Jang Seung Jo was really utilised poorly. He’s such an amazing actor especially in Money Flower but his character is just lacking. I mean I couldn’t really understand his stand. Did he really want Soo Hyun back? Was he really jealous. It left me hanging.

    4. Yes it had the perfect elements. Amazing cast, jealous ex husband, over bearing mother in law… but something is missing. Wonder what it is.

    5. I agree with the 6.5 rating.

    Great review 🙂 We both have the same mixed emotions with this drama.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Oooh, we do think alike on this one! I was wondering what you thought of it because I know we both were enjoying it pretty well early on. Then it got kind of iffy, lol.

      It is strange when a drama gives mixed feelings like this one. There was definitely stuff I really enjoyed, but it was sort of stuck in the middle of a lot of stuff I didn’t care for. Ah, and I was so disappointed that Jo Seung Jo wasn’t utilized! I was so happy when he was cast and then his character was just sort of there. Disappointing.

      I can easily see why people who enjoy the genre and themes would really love it though. It wasn’t a complete win for me, but it was a fine enough watch 🙂

      1. Eva Avatar

        Yes to everything you said. Iffy is the perfect word. Sometimes when the expectations are so high.. the drama doesn’t do well. I mean Song Hye Kyo and Park Bo Gum came from dramas that did well. And I was also expecting that the noona feels here would be as sweet as the one in something under the rain.

        It just fell short abit. I didn’t regret watching it. Coz the scenery was absolutely beautiful and the cast too we beautiful. But it’s not a drama the left me at a lost for words… like still 17. Seee I’m still hung up on that up to now. Haha

        1. Kay Avatar

          Expectations are always a dangerous thing. Even when I’m excited for a drama, I try to keep them in check though. Of course, the drama did quite well in Korea, so I’m sure everyone involved was quite happy with how it went. And even though I didn’t love it, it had enough good stuff in it. I’m right there with you on Still 17, still completely hung up on it! lol

  5. Cindy Avatar

    I have to admit I started this drama a couple of weeks ago and am still on episode 6. It’s been one of those kind of drama that I leave and have no hurry to go back to. I ended up watching The Guardian and finished 32 episodes in 3 days. I started last night back on The Encounter and it has been a very slow watch for me. Ever have that happen to you?

    1. Kay Avatar

      Oh yes, I can definitely relate! Have had that happen several times before. And Encounter is one of those slower type dramas for sure. For me, it was that there was really a lack of tension to keep engaged. Still enjoyed Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo as a couple though 🙂

  6. taeks Avatar

    Fair review. I am in the category of really love it. I give it 9.5/10 because there is no perfect drama . Live watching it and still rewatching my favorite episodes and love the ending. Few kdramas ending make sense and not rush. Loved the main lead and their scenes together and I love the progress of their relationship.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Oooh, you did really love it 🙂 Glad you found one that was almost perfect for you. While it’s not one of my favorites, I too also loved Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo together. They were the highlight of the drama for me and made it worthwhile. Such a sweet and nurturing relationship. And I agree, the ending was pretty great for this one 🙂

    2. Marlene Avatar

      Me too, I like this drama a lot because of lack of unnecessary drama, lol

  7. Fred Avatar

    I was REALLY waiting for your review on this drama. 6.5. Okay, this is disappointing. Time to look for another drama to watch.HAHAHA.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Aww, always sorry to disappoint. You never know though, you could be in the love it camp. Lots of people did. I just like my melos more tense and dramatic. It was a bit slow, but the couple was great. Not a bad watch, just not particularly riveting, hehe

      1. Fred Avatar

        Exactly why I trust your review, Kay. I also want it tense and dramatic. The greater the intensity, the better. Haha.

        1. Kay Avatar

          Exactly my philosophy when it comes to melodramas, hehe 🙂

  8. libraryofthoughts Avatar

    It was definitely around the 5 to 6 area. To be honest, Park Bo Gum saved the show for me. It just seemed to drag with it’s predictability. Everytime I think the drama Gods are going to give me something different, they reign down the same conflicts.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Draggy it was, lol. It’s funny though, I actually did think it was quite different in that despite there being many classic cliches present, the way they were handled weren’t really the norm most of the time. Which for me, meant it wasn’t dramatic enough, hehe. Ah well, it had some bright spots in the form of Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo 🙂

  9. […] Overall, Encounter was a bit slow and lacking punch, but the romance makes the show. For lovers of romance especially with a bit more maturity to it, this drama is a great fit. But personal taste is likely to be heavily at play as to whether Encounter will be a love it or hate it kind of drama. (Encounter Review) […]

  10. Marlene Avatar

    I was waiting for your review on this drama and realize we’re not on the same boat, lol, but it is me and I respect your opinion.

    I love this drama, I like how Jin Hyuk doesn’t jump into conclusion that would create tension or misunderstanding with Soo Hyun which is always present to all other dramas that I’ve watched. Their love story is so painful and sweet because of a scheming ex mother in law who will do anything just to make Soo Hyun suffer so she can have her back in their family. I sympathized with Jin Hyuk’s mother awkwardness toward Soo Hyun, she doesn’t know what to do with her and afraid that her son would get hurt that she asked Soo Hyun to stop seeing Jin Hyuk. The story is not intense but the flow of story is good and the romantic gestures made you giddy. Some side characters have their own story to tell too.

    I was not a fan of Park Bo Gum until this drama 🙂

    1. Kay Avatar

      Haha, yes, that’s going to happen sometimes 😉 I’m glad to hear you were in the love it camp and really enjoyed the drama though. A lot of people were like you and loved that the couple communicated well with few misunderstandings. I’m just one who likes a lot of drama, lol. But like you, I still thought their love story was so sweet and such a beautiful healing relationship. They made me smile quite a few times.

      I was a fan of Park Bo Gum before this and thought he was just perfect for this role. It takes just the right person to pull off such a “perfect” character and not come off too cheesy. Glad you’ve joined the fan club 🙂

  11. jovz Avatar

    i think the rating you gave is fair enough. the story lack something to convince me to continue watching. i left half way.. not even finishing ep 7. the romance is unrealistic… it only happens on fairy tales.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Yeah, it was definitely a drama that had both pros and cons. It was a decent watch for me, but it was lacking for sure.

  12. […] Overall, Encounter was a bit slow and lacking punch, but the romance makes the show. For lovers of romance, especially with a bit more maturity to it, this drama is a great fit. But personal taste is likely to be heavily at play as to whether Encounter will be a love it or hate it kind of drama. My Rating: 6.5/10 (Encounter Review) […]

  13. Gracy Avatar

    They both so professional
    I love them ♥️♥️♥️
    More season of ENCOUNTER please

    1. Kay Avatar

      Yes, they were both great 🙂

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