If you've ever watched a Korean drama (a.k.a. a K-drama), be it a series or a Korean movie on Netflix, you know what it's like to experience a dozen different kinds of emotions in just a few hours. Things start out slow, then the climax rips your soul apart, then the ending leaves you sobbing from satisfaction or deep in despair over a lack of sequel. No matter the genre, Korean entertainment simply keeps you glued to your screen.
Should you be in the mood for some Korean melodramas, specifically ones with love stories that make you sob your eyes out, we put together a list of recommendations. If you love rom-coms, you'll find a familiar happiness when you watch one of the best Korean romance movies. Sure, the plotlines aren't always the most realistic, but the scenes are an emotional roller coaster. Ahead, the best Korean romantic movies to stream now.
The Beauty Inside
Right after he turns 18, Woo-jin starts waking up every day as a different person. One day he's an old man, the next he's a woman, a child, even a foreigner. Only a few people know about Woo-jin's strange condition, and he's able to hide it from the world because he works behind the scenes as a furniture maker. Then, of course, enters Yi-soo, who works at a furniture store. The two embark on a relationship that's filled with twists and turns, and it'll keep viewers guessing until the end.
Decision to Leave
This romance from acclaimed director Park Chan-wook centers on Hae-jun (Park Hae-il), a detective investigating the death of a mountain climber, and Seo-rae (Tang Wei), the victim's mysterious widow who becomes the case's prime suspect. The thriller is full of suspense and some of the most beautifully crafted shots put to film, but it's propelled by an all-consuming romance that changes both Hae-jun and Seo-rae forever.
20th Century Girl
In 1999, 17-year-old Bo-ra (Kim You-jung) receives a request from her best friend Yeon-doo (Noh Yoon-seo), who's about to travel to the U.S.: Bo-ra must find out everything she can about Yeon-doo's crush, the popular Hyun-jin (Park Jung-woo), while she's gone. As Bo-ra spies on and later ends up becoming friends with Hyun-jin, she also builds a connection with his thoughtful best friend, Woon-ho (Byeon Woo-seok). If you're a fan of nostalgic teen rom-coms, be sure to add this to your watchlist.
Mood of the Day
Kim Jae-hyun is a sports manager who boards a train to Busan to track down a basketball player for business. Bae Soo-jung works in an advertising agency and—surprise—is also traveling to Busan for work. On the train, Jae-hyun hits on Soo-jung, which turns her off. But then she overhears one of Jae-hyeon's phone calls regarding the basketball player, who she needs to meet for advertising purposes. Soo-jung realizes that building a rapport with the guy will help her achieve her business goal and the two set off to look for the basketball player together. You can probably guess what happens next.
A street magician, Jo-goo, falls in love with a girl, Yeo-ri, who has the ability to see ghosts ever since she survived a car accident in high school. Yeo-ri not only can see dead people but is haunted by one of her best friends, Joo-hee, from the accident. His presence causes her to live a very solitary life. Upon discovering her secret, Jo-goo sets to help her find love and happiness, not realizing that the two will eventually fall for each other. But Joo-hee is always there and watching...
On Your Wedding Day
What would you do if you received a surprise wedding invite from the person you've loved for most of your life? This film explores the complicated relationship between Woo-yeon and Hwan Seung-hee from their high school days to adulthood. The realistic ending in this movie will resonate with those who have ever fallen in love with a friend.
Snow Is On the Sea
You know a movie is a tearjerker when one of the main characters, who suffers from a severe illness, falls in love (see A Walk to Remember, Five Feet Apart, etc). This 2015 melodrama centers around Sun-Mi, who has a blood disease, and falls in love with Sang-Woo, who works at an aquarium. He proposes to her, not knowing the difficulties that the pair will face due to her health. Will they be able to face her illness together, or will this tear them apart?
Two Faces Of My Girlfriend
Gu-Chang is a 30-year-old virgin who has never had a girlfriend and is down on his luck financially. (He constantly flunks job interviews and receives money from his divorced sister and nephew.) But his life changes when he meets a woman named A-Ni. Everything appears to be going well, but then Gu-Chang realizes something is a little different about the woman he's seeing. It turns out A-Ni has a split personality disorder.
Tune in for Love
This movie explores the relationship between Mi-soo and Hyun-Woo over the course of a decade. The pair meet as teenagers while working together at a bakery, but as adults they go down different paths. They try to find their way back to each other again, but one of them has a secret that will threaten the relationship. This love story is a tale of love, separation, and growth.
Part romance, part psychological thriller, Park Chan-wook's sexy film tells the story of two women who fall in love in Japanese-occupied Korea. Lady Hideko is a wealthy heiress living on a remote estate who dreams of escaping the yoke of her abusive Uncle Kouzuki, who keeps her trapped at home performing readings of erotic novels. Enter Sook-hee, a young con-woman who arrives on the scene as a lady’s maid to steal Hideko's fortune.
This off-kilter romance tells the story of housewife and former model Sun-hwa, who suffers in an abusive marriage, and Tae-suk, a young squatter who is constantly on the hunt for his next shelter. After Tae-suk attempts to lodge in Sun-hwa’s home for the night thinking that no one is home, Sun-hwa decides to join him on his squatting adventures to escape her husband. While the two never steal from the homes they crash, they inevitably get themselves into some trouble with the law. At once yearning and contemplative, this quiet film asks how people can find connection in an apathetic and classist world.
Be With You
Son Ye-jin stars in this blockbuster rom-com about a woman who returns home one year after her death. While she has no recollection of her passing, she soon learns only has until the end of the rainy season to be with her family on earth.
Chul-min, a former boxer who's closed off to the world, is working as a parking lot attendant when a visually impaired woman, Jung-hwa, walks into his tollbooth to watch TV. Jung-hwa's bright spirit reaches through to Chul-min's heart and they start a romance, but their happiness may be shortlived. This intense yet heart-warming film follows the couple as they fall in love while facing their own challenges in life, and the main couple, played by So Ji-sub and Han Hyo-joo have amazing chemistry.
Kang In-soo is a street musician who hopes to turn his love of music into a full-time career. When Yoon Sang-yi, a keyboardist at a major record company, discovers In-soo's YouTube videos, he recommends In-soo for his company's rookie discovery project. As the two work and live together in the company dorm, feelings begin to blossom and they have to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of them being together. This BL (acronym for Boys Love) film is a realistic romance that tugs on the heartstrings and also includes original music performed by the leads Kang In-soo and Lee Sang.
Il Mare: A Love Story
Eun-joo, an aspiring voice actor, has been living alone in a lake house named Il Mare, after her husband went abroad and never came back. When she moves back to the city, she leaves a note for the new tenant, asking them to forward any mail to her. The new tenant, Sung Hyun, writes back, but his letter is dated two years in the past. If the story of a time-traveling epistolary romance sounds familiar, this 2000 Korean romance was remade as the 2006 film The Lake House, with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.
This action-romance follows Kang-il, a rescue firefighter who is grieving his late wife, and Mi-soo, a doctor at a general hospital. When Mi-soo makes a misdiagnosis and her patient's husband sues the hospital, she learns that Kang-il can serve as a character witness, since he was at the hospital that day and later assaulted by the husband. Mi-soo goes to great lengths, even volunteering as a paramedic, to get close to Kang-il, who gives her the cold shoulder. Eventually they bond through their dangerous work, but their love may not be strong enough in the face of Kang-il's grief and Mi-soo's ulterior motives.
Sweet & Sour
A rom-com that shows both the highs and lows of a relationship, this film follows Da-eun, a nurse, and Jang-hyeok, an engineer. The beginning of their relationship is sweet and loving until Jang-hyeok gets a new job with a long commute that strains their relationship. It also doesn't help that he begins to bond with a female co-worker at his new job. The romance has been lauded for depicting realistic relationships, though its ending can be divisive.
In this 2019 rom com, recently-single 30-somethings find themselves bonding while recovering from their harsh breakups. Jae-hoon recently broke up with his fiancée on his wedding day, and since then he's been drinking often and going through the motions at his advertising agency. Seon-yeong joins the same agency, and soon after Jae-hoon and their colleagues witness her breakup with her cheating boyfriend. The pair starts to get closer over time, while dodging office gossip and judgment.
In this irreverent rom-com, we meet Hyun-woo (starring Kwon Sang-woo) and Sun-young (Lee Jung-hyun) as they go through their divorce ceremony. The exes have different reactions to single life, with Hyun-woo enjoying his freedom and Sun-young being miserable at first. Hyun-woo even tries to avoid his ex-wife, fearing that he'd return to married life out of habit. However, everything changes when Sun-young starts dating Hyun-woo's high school rival, Sang-cheol (Lee Jong-hyuk).
Love and Leashes
This new rom-com shows a sweet and sexy spin on a BDSM relationship. Office workers Ji-woo (Girls Generation's Seohyun) and Ji-hu (Lee Jun-young) are new colleagues getting to know each other. One day, Ji-woo accidentally gets Ji-hu's package: an adult dog collar. Though she's new to BDSM, no-nonsense Ji-woo is intrigued, and submissive Ji-hu asks her to be his dominant in a short-term partnership. The question is whether their budding feelings for each other be complicated by the arrangement.
My Little Bride
This 2004 rom-com centers on a contract marriage, where high schooler Bo-eun (Moon Geun-young) marries her older childhood friend Sang-min (Kim Rae-won) because of a deal their grandfathers made when they were young. Though Sang-min secretly does love Bo-eun, the young woman decides to keep up her normal life, keeping her marriage a secret at school and secretly dating her baseball player crush Jung-woo (Park Jin-woo). Her life gets even more complicated when Sang-min gets assigned to her school as a student teacher.
Love, So Divine
In this opposites-attract rom-com, a young Catholic priest starts falling for his free-spirited parishioner. When Gyu-shik (Kwon Sang-woo) gets assigned to a rural church, he meets his pastor's niece Bong-hee (Ha Ji-won), who's just returned from the U.S. Though they clash at first, they begin to form a sweet connection that makes Sang-woo question why he dreamed of becoming a priest since he was young.
This cerebral romance from renowned director Kim Ki-duk follows Se-hee (Sung Hyun-ah/Park Ji-yeon) and Ji-woo (Ha Jung-woo), a couple that's been dating for two years but has their troubles. Se-hee is extremely jealous and believes Ji-woo will get tired of her face, so one day, she leaves him without a word and goes to a plastic surgeon. The two later meet again, with Ji-woo having no idea that the new woman is his lost love.
This sexy historical romance is set in 18th-century Korea, and is based on the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses (the same source material as Cruel Intentions). Madam Jo (Lee Mi-sook) lives as a devoted wife in public, while privately resenting her place in society and carrying out secret affairs. Jo-won (Bae Yong-joon) is her devoted cousin—she was his first love—with whom she plays high-stakes game of seduction. Madam Jo has a new challenge for him: seduce the innocent So-ok (Lee So-yeon), who's set to become her husband's concubine.
Seo-young (Chun Woo-hee) is a contract worker for a company based in a 70-story skyscraper. While she's a competent employee on the surface, she suffers from debilitating tinnitus, resulting in vertigo, nausea, and dizzy spells. She's also having an affair with one of her co-workers, who insists on keeping the relationship secret. As Woo-hee's life takes a difficult turn, she finds comfort in one of the building's window washers, the mysterious and symapthetic Gwan-woo (Jeon Jae-kwang).
Warning: You'll need to watch this tearjerker with a full box of tissues (and don't be surprised by the urge to call your grandparents). This film follows a married couplea married couple who—after 45 years of marriage—both begin to suffer from dementia, though their love for each other only grows stronger as they start to forget everything.
New Year's Blues
This rom-com follows four very different couples as they face unique worries and obstacles in the lead-up to a new year. Ji-ho, a divorced police detective, finds an unlikely partner in Hyo-young, a rehab trainer seeking protection during her own divorce. Twenty-somethings Jae-heon and Jin-ah meet during a getaway to Argentina, and inspire each other to face the difficulties back home. Yong-chan, who's set to marry his fiancée Yao-lin, decides to keep his financial state secret after he's cheated out of all his money. Meanwhile, avid gardener Oh-wol faces naysayers on all sides as she tries to save her relationship with professional snowboarder Rae Hwan.
Goo Joo-wol (Ha Jung-woo) is a novelist suffering from writer's block, who looks for artistic inspiration in every woman he meets, but only finds despair and heartache. On a trip to a book fair in Germany, he meets and instantly falls in love with film distributer Hee-jin (Gong Hyo-jin), and subsequently sends her a love letter that convinces her to go out with him. Both their relationship and his writing career flourishes, but when Joo-wol finds success with a book character loosely based on Hee-jin, he begins to learn a bit too much about her complicated history with men.
Lee Hyun-ji (Bae Ju-hyun, a.k.a Irene from K-pop group Red Velvet) is an aspiring television anchor who works at a homemade hamburger restaurant called Burger from Heaven. Kang Woo-ram (Shin Seung-ho), a foodie and a struggling athlete trying to figure out his future, stumbles into the restaurant one night and becomes smitten with Hyun-ji, returning for the eatery's buy-one-get-one-free special every night. As the pair both pursue the dreams, the young pair end up leaning on and falling for each other.
Love Guide for Dumpees
This rom-com stars with two single strangers who were recently dumped by their exes, who meet each other... at their exes' wedding. The pair have a one-night stand and decide to help each other get over their breakups by starting up a relationship with an expiration date. Of course, romance fans know how easy it is for a temporary arrangement to build into deeper feelings.
Serve the People
This erotic romance, based on Yan Lianke's novel of the same name, takes place in a fictional socialist country. Moo-kwang (Yeon Woo-jin) is a model soldier is appointed as the private chef of the Division Commander and his young wife, Soo-ryun (Ji An). Soon, Moo-kwang finds himself the object of Soo-ryun's desires. When the commander leaves on a business trip, will Moo-kwang stay dedicated to his wife and child, or will he fall for the temptation?
Starring Nam Joo-hyuk and Han Ji-min, this romance is based on Seiko Tanabe's Japanese short story Josee, the Tiger and the Fish. Josée (Han) lives in a small city on the outskirts of soul, where she makes up magical stories as a way to cope with the harsh realities of life. Yeon-seok (Nam) is a university student nearing graduation who always strives to live up to the expectations set by others. The pair find themselves drawn to each other after their paths cross, but can their love survive?
Sae-bom (Kim So-hye) lives with her recently divorced mom Yoon-hee (Kim Hee-ae). One day, the teen discovers a secret love letter written to her mom from a Japanese woman. To help her mom overcome her post-divorce depression, Sae-bom convinces her mom to go on a trip to Japan with her, with the elder not knowing that her daughter is secretly playing matchmaker.
This historical comedy set in the Joseon era stars 2PM member Lee Jun-ho as Heo-saek, the kingdom's first male gisaeng (or courtesan). The son of a gisaeng, Heo-saek enters into the untraditional role to save the gibang (the courtesans' home) from debt. However, his successful business is thrown for a loop when he falls for a progressive woman (played by Jung So-min).
This erotic romance follows a couple who embark on a clandestine affair while living under surveillance in a strict military camp. In the summer of 1969, Colonel Kim Jin-pyong (Song Seung-heon), who's trapped in a loveless marriage and recently returned from Vietnam, meets his new neighbor, a captain's wife named Ga-heun (The Glory's Lim Ji-yeon). Despite the risk, the pair's scandalous and passionate affair eventually evolves into total obsession.