Why does Just Between Lovers make me feel so contented? It’s pretty sad at times. I don’t tear up that often anymore, not like I used to anyway, but I had to grab a hanky more than once while watching the last fiew episodes. I’ve seen comments on how people are not feeling the characters, which mystifies me. I’m feeling a bit too much at times. But… I’m that way too, occasionally. There have been many instances when I haven’t felt anything while others went on and on about how wonderful the characters are. Each to their own I guess. We all have our preferences.
I’ve been trying to figure out a way to describe JBL properly. It’s mellow and whistful with an underpinning of sadness. Yet it is oddly comforting and hopefull at the same time. It has this warm glow that leaves me happy, even when the epi is more on the melancholy side. I guess it’s the way it’s been filmed, through this soft, sort of pastelly and mostly warm filter. This prevents scenes from becoming too maudlin. Drama is pretty, even when it’s sad. There’s grief but even when it’s felt, it’s not so opressive that it buries everything under it. A melodrama that doesn’t quite feel like a melodrama. Many k-melos are so heavy handedly OTT with their setting that they are almost painfull to watch. Less is more in most cases. I like this, which is why I’m a bit apprehensive. I keep waiting for Drama to take a detour to makjangville. I’ve definitely been watching too many kdramas.^^ There are tropes but for once they don’t annoy me. I don’t think drama is even aiming to be ‘innovative’ or even particularly ‘fresh’. It’s just telling this little story the best way it can. And with enough heart to make even this grumpy old cynic to feel it. 😉
I really, really like the OTP. They are both broken but yet strong, each in their own way. There’s a good chance they can help each other to heal enough to finally move on. No-one recovers fully after an experience they went through but to have someone who understands by your side is already doing a lot towards acceptance and forgiving oneself for being alive. Junho has the makings of a proper actor, he’s already pretty good and I love Won Jin Ah in this role. Both have this minimalistic way of acting which I prefer to the more flashy and often ott one that many drama fans seem to equate as “great acting”. The romance is low key, yet I find it lovely and rather realistic in this setting. Anyway, it fits the slower pacing of the drama in general. The side/supporting characters are a fit too. Halmoni and Gang Do’s relationship especially is heartwarming. You don’t have to be blood related to be family and there are several such relationships in JBL. The 2nd leads are still rather ‘stock’ characters but at least they have a purpose. Not always a given when it comes to kdramas. 🙂 I like how drama isn’t vilifying anyone either. Even Director Jung has his moments. There are no Grand Moustache Twirling Villains, only very flawed people.
The OST is so mellow and lovely too. I like how they are using the songs in just the right places, accomppanied with lyrics that are frequently spot on. It’s always great when a drama has a music director who knows what he/she is doing. The OST Part 3 – 그냥 보고싶은 사이 by Ra.D.