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#KajoPicks: 10 tear-jerking Korean romance movies you need to watch

If you are looking to shed some tears while watching love stories unfold, here are KajoMag’s suggestion of 10 tear-jerking Korean romance movies to watch:
1.The Classic (2003)
The Classic (2003). Credits: IMDB

When it comes to Korean romance movies, actress Son Ye-jin is perhaps the queen of this genre. One of her breakthrough performances is in Classic (2003).

The film tells the parallel love stories of a mother and daughter, both played by Ye-jin.

The story starts with the daughter, Ji-hye and Soo-kyoung (Lee Tae-Kyung) who are friends that both have a crush on Sang Min (Jo In-sung).

Soo-kyung asks Ji-hye to write a love letter to Sang-min on her behalf (why would you ask your friend to do that anyway?). Luckily for her, after receiving that letter, Sang-min is attracted to Soo-kyung.

Feeling uncomfortable that her crush is attracted to her best friend, Ji-hye starts to avoid him. But since it is a classic romantic movie, Ji-hye keeps on running into Sang-min.

Amidst the romantic encounters, Ji-hye finds a box. Inside is her mother’s memorabilia of her first love. The movie then explores how her mother’s love story intertwines with her own.

2.A Moment to Remember (2004)
A Moment to Remember. Credits: IMBD

While most romantic stories are about finding love and a happy ending, this movie revolves around the question of what happens after you marry the love of your life and the ever after is nothing like you imagined.

Based on the 2001 Japanese television drama Pure Soul, the film stars Son Ye-jin as Kim Su-jin and Jung Woo-sung as Choi Chui-soo.

Married life seems great for the couple until she finds out that she is suffering with a rare kind of Alzheimer’s disease.

As things get harder for the couple, Su-jin checks herself into an assisted facility. Despite his grief, Chui-soo stays by Su-jin’s side even when she doesn’t remember him. At one point, she even calls him her ex-boyfriend’s name, and Chui-soo painfully plays along.

The movie even inspired other countries such as India, Turkey and Malaysia to make similar films involving the heroine diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while her husband remains by her side.

3.Late Blossom (2011)

Unlike most Korean romantic movies, this is a love story of two elderly couples.

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Based on a Korean manhwa I Love You by Kang Full, the movie turned out to be a sleeper hit even with little budget for marketing.

The movie follows Kim Man-suk (Lee Soon-jae), a foul-mouthed milk deliverer but actually has a warm heart.

One day, he meets Song (Yoon So-jung), a woman who collects and sells scrap paper. Meanwhile, there is Jang Kun-bong (Song Jae-ho) who works in a parking lot and has a wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

This unique romance movie about finding new love in old age and being in love with the same person after years of marriage is definitely worth-watching.

4.Always (2011)
Always (2011) official poster.

How can a man possibly look hot and disheveled at the same time? That is how So Ji-sub looks like as he plays Cheol-min, a man who had shut his life from the world in this movie.

After a failed boxing career, Cheol-min works as a parking lot attendant where he meets a blind telemarketer named Jung-hwa (Han Hyo-joo).

They start spending time together and eventually fall in love with each other.

Even though Hyo-joo’s acting as a blind woman is as convincing as it can get, there is still something lacking about it, but Ji-sub’s performance in this movie will tug at your heartstrings.

5.Maundy Thursday (2006)
Maundy Thursday official poster.

In this Korean romance movie, the heroine is someone who has attempted suicide several times.

Meanwhile, the hero is a death-row inmate who is actually sentenced to death for murder.

The heroine Yu-jeong (Lee Na-young) has an aunt who is a nun. She often visits death row inmates in prison. One day, one of the inmates, Yun-soo (Gang Dong-won) asks if he could meet her niece.

Yu-jeong reluctantly agrees, subsequently visiting Yun-soo in jail every Thursday.

The most unlikely pair eventually find love in each other but time is running out on them as Yun-soo is about to get executed.

6.More Than Blue (2009)

Don’t you hate it when two people fall in love in a movie and one of them gets terminally ill but refuses to tell the other person?

You are dying so why can’t you be honest for one last time?

More than Blue follows two friends K (Kwon Sang-woo) and Cream (Lee Bo-young) who first meet each other during high school.

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One day, K finds out he only has few months left to live. Since he knows Cream’s biggest fear is to be left alone, he decides to keep it as a secret.

To prepare Cream’s life without him, K pushes her to fall for Ju-hwan (Lee Beom-soo). Suddenly, Cream announces she is in love with Ju-hwan. Or is she?

Realistically speaking, life will not be as complicated as it is in this movie if people just choose to be honest with each other.

7.Pure Love (2016)
Pure Love or Unforgettable official poster.

While there is a popular belief in the Korean entertainment industry that K-pop idols can’t act, they are usually cast in a drama/movie for popularity boost anyway. That being said, EXO’s D.O or Do Kyung-soo is one of the few K-pop idols who really proved the skeptics wrong.

In this movie Pure Love (or internationally released as Unforgettable), D.O plays a shy and innocent boy named Beom-sil who falls in love with Soo-ok (Kim So-hyun). Soo-ok has a leg injury so Beom-sil is always there to carry her.

The movie overall is not just about romance but about friendship, grief and acceptance.

Maybe it was the movie cinematography, the soundtrack or just D.O’s raw performance, but who knew kissing an umbrella could be more intimate than an actual kiss?

Besides looking forward to D.O’s non-kissing kissing scene, prepare to wipe your tears at the end of the movie if you decide to watch Pure Love.

8.A Millionaire’s First Love (2006)
A Millionaire’s First Love official poster.

This Korean romance movie might remind you of Nicholas Spark’s novel A Walk to Remember. A troubled male teenager falls in love with an innocent girl who turns out to be dying.

In this movie, Hyun Bin plays a rich kid named Kang Jae-kyung. After a series of trouble, his grandfather sends him to a small town in Gangwon province. If he fails to graduate or drops out, then he would lose all of his inheritance.

There he meets and subsequently falls in love with Choi Eun-hwan (Lee Yeon-hee), an orphan who is suffering from a heart disease.

At first, Jae-kyung tries to push Eun-hwan from him, afraid that his presence would cause more harm than good for her.

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Eventually, he decides stay with her and do everything to make her happy.

There are few tear-jerking moments in this movie. But one of the most memorable parts must be when Jae-kyung gives Eun-hwan a jar containing love notes wrapped in pill capsules for her birthday. Each capsule is supposed to be opened once a day.

Jae-kyung then catches Eun-hwan opening a handful of the love notes at once as she is afraid she might die before she can read all of them.

9.One Day (2017)

Death plays a major role in most tear-jerking Korean romance movies just like One Day (2017). After the death of his wife, insurance examiner Gang-soo (Kim Nam-gil) falls into depression.

Upon returning to work, he takes a case of a woman named Mi-so (Chun Woo-hee) who is in a vegetative state.

When he visits her at the hospital, Gang-soo realises he can see and talk to Mi-so’s spirit and he is the only one who can do that.

Do not be fooled by the movie’s cheery official poster because the storyline is not as happy as its promotional item.

10.Be With You (2018)

Once again Son Ye-jin proves she is the queen of Korean romance movies with the success of Be With You (2018).

She plays the role of Soo-ah who returns one year after her death to the bewilderment of her husband Woo-jin (So Ji-sub) on a rainy day.

However, all of her memories have all disappeared. Woo-jin takes Soo-ah in to live with him and she slowly begins to remember her past.

The timeline of this movie might be a bit confusing because it is a bit fantasy-ish. Plus, there are flashback scenes of how the couple first met and started dating.

Of course, all good things have to come to an end as Soo-ah needs to leave her family once again.

Tear-jerking moment? That time when the couple’s son Ji-ho (Kim Ji-hwan) delivers a speech in a school concert, telling his mother that he will take care of his father when she leaves them. Talk about heart-breaking!

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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