Should We Kiss First is a grown-up love story. The characters are all in their late 40s and have had some trials in their life. They’ve preserved through hardships, sorrow, fear, anger, and hopelessness. In other words, these people are true adults.
Eleven years ago Eun Kyung-Soo and An Soon-Jin lost their seven year old daughter in an unfortunate accident. The heartache was unbearable and ended up tearing the couple apart. Kyung-Soo sought solace and understanding away from the painful memories of his family and had an affair with his wife’s junior colleague, Baek Ji-Min. The death of her daughter and the betrayal of her husband was enough to make Soon-Jin give up on life. After a failed suicide attempt she closed herself off from the very idea of love. However, her closest friend, Lee Mi-Ra, doesn’t want Soon-Jin to be single the rest of her life so she sets her up with, Son Moo-Han, her husband’s business partner whose wife left him for another man. Can two wounded and lonely people learn to love and trust again?
Forty-seven year old An Soon-Jin has been a flight attendant for the past 20 years. After her daughter passed away she poured all her money, time, and emotion into a law suit in the attempt to sue the company she felt was responsible for her little girl’s death, however, the court did not rule in her favor. Although Soon-Jin has pretty much given up on love, she hasn’t given up on marriage and sees it as the only way to solve her loneliness and financial troubles.
Son Moo-Han is a wealthy 49 year old advertising executive. He is the co-founder of a very successful advertising agency and has even authored a book about his experiences in the advertising industry. His wife left him and went to the U.S. with their daughter whom he hasn’t seen or talked to for many years. He lives alone with his dog, his faithful companion and greatest form of comfort. Although he is lonely, Moo-Han has built a wall around himself and refuses to allow anyone inside his life.
When Eun Kyung-Soo married Baek Ji-Min his mother-in-law set him up with his own coffee shop/cafe. Together, he and Ji-Min have a darling little girl named Ji-Soo. Although he loves Ji-Min, he still cares about his first love, Soon-Jin. He is sorry her life is so difficult and, because of the guilt he still feels in betraying their marriage, tries to help her out now and then which has come to be a source of tension between him and Ji-Soo.
Lee Mi-Ra used to be a flight attendant but left the profession to become a full-time wife. She is happily married to Hwang In-Woo and fills her days with yoga, pole dancing, and cooking. She desperately wants to see things work out between her best friend, Soon-Jin, and her husband’s business partner and friend, Moo-Han, so she takes it upon herself to not only be a matchmaker but a coach in the art of seduction as well.
Before debuting in the 1991 TV drama Our Paradise, Kam Woo-Sung, who plays Son Moo-Han, majored in Oriental Painting at Seoul National University. For the next decade after his debut he became known for the intellectual, gentle, upper middle class men he portrayed until he tackled the role of a professor with commitment issues who has a passionate affair in the critically acclaimed motion picture Marriage is a Crazy Thing. In 2005 he starred in King and the Clown, training in the art of Korean traditional performance (street opera, acrobatics, rope and mask dances) for two months. The movie was a tremendous hit, breaking box office records to become the highest grossing film of all time (up to that point). He has gone back and forth from TV to motion pictures throughout his just-shy-of-30-years career. Since 2002 he has been in one TV drama every four years. If he keeps that up we probably won’t see him on TV again until 2022. Rats! Kam Woo-Sung sports four Best Actor awards, one Best New Actor award, a Popularity Award, and a Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries. In 2006 he married actress Kang Min-Ah.
Forty-two year old actress Kim Sun-A, who plays the part of An Soon-Jin, speaks fluent Japanese as a result of living in Japan during most of her adolescent years. She is also fluent in English. She began her entertainment career when she stepped in for a friend who wasn’t able to make a modeling job commitment. After that, she left college for which she was enrolled as a piano major, and appeared in a Hanbul Cosmetics commercial. Next was a music video, and then in 1997 she began getting cast in TV supporting roles. She became well know after appearing in the films Yesterday and Wet Dreams. She had considered a singing career and joined the mixed-gender group GOT6 in 1997 but left to peruse acting. The group then went on without her and became the five member boy band g.o.d. It’s true – look it up! In 2005 she starred opposite Hyun Bin in the most-watched Kdrama of that year, My Lovely Kim Sam-Soon, for which she won a total of eight awards! It’s a great show. You ought to check it out.
I wish I could accurately describe Soon-Jin and Moo-Han’s relationship but it’s nothing like anything I am familiar with. I can’t think of a single Kdrama where the leading couple are like this one. I loved Moo-Han’s personality but wasn’t really thrilled with Soon-Jin’s. I always enjoy sexual tension and teasing but Soon-Jin’s idea of playful was a bit too blunt and sarcastic for my liking. However, they seemed to be a perfect fit for each other.
One thing that made this drama seem more realistic to me was the way everyone told things to others. You know all those shows where someone finds out something and then keeps it to them self even though telling someone else would fix the problem? Well, this show isn’t like that at all. When one character discovers something, they immediately tell another person. One ex calls another to let them in on a secret, one friend blabs to another about something that someone wants to remain personal… That’s the way it works in real life, folks. We seldom keep our mouths shut when we think telling is the best option, and the characters in Should We Kiss First are just like us. It is wonderfully refreshing!
Should We Kiss First reminded me of Autumn in My Heart, Winter Sonata, and My Love Eun-Dong – they all have a sweet foreboding feel to them. I kept thinking, “This is 2018’s answer to Winter Sonata,” although the plots have nothing in common. Yes, both lead actresses have a bobbed haircut but it was more than that. I think it may have been because the characters’ circumstances are difficult. They struggle with depressing situations which could either rip their love apart or make it stronger and we aren’t really positive which way the writer will go. Did I cry? No. But I did feel a bit chocked up here and there. Although I’m not going to give anything away I will tell you the ending is perfect.
This drama is packed with little gems of wisdom. Some are obviously stated, while others are more subtle. If you’re not just passively watching the show but seriously engage in the lives of these characters you’ll catch some things that may change your life for the better.
One of my favorite parts in this drama is the drunken street dancing scene. After attempting to drink away their troubles, Mi-Ra turns Dancing Queen on her phone and together she and Soon-Jin let loose, boldly dancing in the street. I love it when people push aside the fears of what others may think and just do what they want to do. That scene was inspiring. I want to dance in the street some day!
Ye Ji-Won, who plays Lee Mi-Ra, shows off her yoga and pole dancing talents in this show. I was quite impressed. It didn’t look like she just learned a couple moves for the show. I’m guessing the actress really does those things in her spare time. Wouldn’t it be great if writers discovered actors’ various abilities and added those things into their scripts? I’m guessing that’s what happened in this instance.
There wasn’t anyone I disliked in Should We Kiss First. Although every character had their faults, it just served to make them more realistic / human and that was okay. The characters are very relatable and I was able to sympathize with every single one!
On to the soundtrack. Luna sings Is it Love which has a harmonica sound at the end. Perfect sung by Lee Jinsol has finger snapping that adds to the percussion. Everyday Every Moment, performed by Paul Kim is a lovely ballad. My Own Life is a pretty, slow song performed by Super Junior’s Yesung. The song is a bit high for my liking but he’s able to sing that high effortlessly. Jung In sings Coincidence, my personal favorite, which reminded me of Because It’s You from Love Rain in that it starts off as a whisper, crescendos to controlled power, and then ends in a whisper once again. Realslow is responsible for the song entitled Monologue.
Moo-Han and Soon-Jin visit the beach, an aquarium, a zoo, and an amusement park. The time of year is the beginning of spring so we’re able to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom! Everybody lives and works in an up-scale place which directly serves to help us feel sorry for Soon-Jin’s awful financial situation. Mi-Ra and In-Woo’s house is especially attractive with an atrium sitting just off the living room and a wall made of living bamboo trees in their bedroom. So classy!
I think you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy Should We Kiss First. I’m closing my review with the best line from the show that sincerely reflects what I’ve thought most my of life…
“If worrying can make my worries disappear, I wouldn’t be worried.” – An Soon-Jin
Melancholic feeling (like Winter Sonata)
A bit depressing
Soon-Jin’s martyr attitude and sarcasm