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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Just Between Lovers" Episode 2

2017/12/12 | 502 views | Permalink

Director Kim Jin-won-I has this fantastic talent for creating dramatic tension in flashbacks where, logically, there should not be any dramatic tension. We know what happened in the accident and that appearances to the contrary, it did not kill either Kang-doo or Moon-soo. Of course, they know that too. They can probably tell when they're dreaming, too. That doesn't make the trauma of those memories any less real - especially not the feeling that they caused the tragedy, somehow.

Moon-soo is profiled in fuller perspective here as far as that goes. We saw what happened immediately post-rescue, and the whole scene is brutal. Moon-soo's mom Yoon-ok (played by Yoon Yoo-sun) completely melts down. Her dad Dong-cheol (played by Ahn Nae-sang) tries his best to keep everything together, but there's only so much he can do. We can see the past versions of these character well-reflected in the present day, with Yoon-ok becoming ever so gradually more unhinged while Dong-cheol sinks into further detachment.

An interesting omission in the flashback department is what life was like for Moon-soo's family before the accident. Her parents have such wildly different temperaments they may well have been on the outs even before the accident happened. Unfortunately, Moon-soo is ideologically trapped into wanting to reshape the broken pieces of her life into something resembling the old. But as she is explicitly told, erasure is just plain impossible.

Meanwhile Kang-doo continues to see the whole world as fundamentally rotten - the accident was just the pivotal moment that woke him up to this unfortunate reality. Kang-doo's sense of pragmatism especially is disturbing. Most dramas make a point of having their hero stand tall and prideful. "Just Between Lovers" instead chooses to brutally acknowledge that to people without money, financial security is everything. What's a moment of quickly forgotten indignity compared to the prospect of not having to worry about rent for the next several months?

There's also a great sense of intersectionality where we see that Kang-doo's exploitative economic adventures directly tie into social issues. Like women. There's an entire subculture centered around lower class women entertaining richer men in nightclub fashion. Are we really to believe that just because Moon-soo happens to be an architect, that her co-workers still do not think of her as a woman much like them? The way Moon-soo's best friend Wan-jin (played by Park Hee-bon) just casually discusses an awful life experience which proves that men are pigs is eerily reminiscent of Kang-doo's cynicism.

Review by William Schwartz

"Just Between Lovers" is directed by Kim Jin-won-I, written by Yoo Bo-ra, and features Lee Junho, Won Jin-ah, Lee Ki-woo, and Kang Han-na

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