Encounter aka Boyfriend 남자 친구
tvN (2018-2019) 16 Episodes
Romance, Grade: A
Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA
A pleasant older woman
- younger man "Noona" romance, Encounter (2018 -
2019) starts off beautifully with a location shoot in
Havana, Cuba, where the lead female character, expanding
her hotel business in the communist nation, meets a free
spirit tourist in the lead male character, and their
lives will never be the same again.
Cha Soo Hyun (Song Hye Kyo) is a well off daughter of a
politician father Cha Jong Hyun (Moon Sung Geun) and a
social climbing, less than loving or demonstrative
mother Jin Mi Ok (Nam Gi Ae). She was married off when
young, basically for business purposes, to someone she
didn't really love, who ended up cheating on her and
seeking a divorce from her, Jung Woo Seuk (Jang Seung
Jo). As part of her divorce settlement, instead of a
large cash settlement, she was given ownership of a
luxury hotel in Seoul, and she takes her job running it
very seriously, throwing herself into her work to
compensate for the lack of love in her life.
changes for Soo Hyun when she travels to Cuba to oversee
the opening of a new luxury hotel in Havana that she and
her staff, including her hard working female secretary
Jang Mi Jin (Kwak Sun Young), have been working on for
months. Once there, after a big staff meeting, she gets
into her private car and it happens to bump into a
tourist from Korea, the distinctly Bohemian appearing
free spirit Kim Jin Hyeok (Park Bo Gum). In the fracas a
precious camera of his is broken and the secretary
promises to buy him a new one, taking his name and
address for that purpose.
Later the same day Soo Hyun happens to
chance upon Jin Hyeok again when, feeling stifled in her
hotel room, she leaves and goes off alone (while under
the influence of a sleeping pill she forgot she had
taken!), wandering to one of the prettiest scenic areas
in Havana, a popular tourist spot where one can see
gorgeous sunsets. She sits on a stone wall, almost falls
off because of being sleepy, but is saved by Jin Hyeok,
who has been watching her from a distance, concerned for
her welfare, a fellow Korean walking alone in a strange
city. When she wakes up from a brief nap, while leaning
against him on the wall, they strike up a conversation
and begin to walk back to their hotels together.
They hit it off, he buys her food because her purse had
been stolen by locals, and they even frequent an open
nightclub together where salsa dance music is being
played. In their brief time together it's obvious they
are mutually attracted to one another, but what will
happen when they both return to Korea and leave the
romance of Havana behind?
We spend the rest of the drama finding out. Soo Hyun has
to go back to her overbearing relatives and hotel
running responsibilities in Seoul, and Jin Hyeok has to
go back to job hunting. He ends up being selected --
fully unknown to Soo Hyun -- as a new employee in the
public relations section of her Seoul hotel. When they
realize their paths have crossed again things accelerate
quickly between them. Sometimes she would pull away,
thinking of the hotel and her status first, and at other
times she would feel drawn to him again.
My Favorite Korean Pianist
Plays The Love Song :)
Her ex-husband seems a bit jealous, following them
around and spying on them (why is that always the case?
why not move on with your new woman, fool?) and his
mother, the rich socialite Kim Hwa Jin (Cha Hwa Yeon)
would love to take back the hotel from Soo Hyun, and
quietly and stealthily plans to accomplish her goal.
However, soon others catch on who care about Soo Hyun's
welfare, and her nasty plan is exposed and averted.
Eventually Soo Hyun and Jin Hyeok admit their love for
one another -- at a masked ball, which was fun -- and
they become gossip fodder for the entire hotel staff and
even the paparazzi tries to follow them around. Then
unexpectedly, Jin Hyeok's own mother, the usually kind
Joo Yeon Ja (Baek Ji Won) enters the fray and begs Soo
Hyun to break up with her humble, good-natured son, that
they come from two different worlds and can never be
happy together. Will she succeed in convincing Soo Hyun
to give up Jin Hyeok, the only man she has ever truly
loved in her overly-controlled life?
If you love these two stars, and love a
solid, dreamy romance, then definitely put Encounter
on your queue. Some of it is predictable to the long
term K-drama fan, but there are enough detours to keep
you guessing as well. Enjoy!