Star In My Heart (1997) : The Review

Read Teaser Review here: Star In My Heart Review Teaser

Title: 별은 내가슴에 / Byeol-eun Nae-ga-seum-e
Also known as: Wish Upon A Star / Star in My Heart
Genre: Family, Romance
Episodes: 16
Broadcast network: MBC
Broadcast period: 1997-Mar-10 to 1997-Apr-29


* Choi Jin Shil as Lee Yeon-yi/Sophia Jung
* Ahn Jae Wook as Kang Min Hee
* Cha In Pyo as Lee Joon Hee
* Jun Do Yeon as Soon Ae (Min Hee’s orphanage friend)

Ahn family

* Park Won Sook as Ms. Song (mother, dress shop owner/designer)
* Lee Young Hoo as Mr Ahn (father, Yun Hee’s father’s friend)
* Park Chul as Yi Ban (older son)
* Jo Mi Ryung as Yi Hwa (younger daughter)

Other people

* Oh Ji Myung as Min Hee’s father
* Sun Woo Yong Nyeo as Min Hee’s mother
* Maeng Sang Hoon as Heo Kwang Young (tailor)
* Kang Nam Gil as Han Jae Bong (tailor)
* Yoo Tae Woong as Joon Young
* Kim Jung Eun
* Lee Jae Hoon
* Seo Bum Shik


Yeon-yi was raised in an orphanage ever since her parents died. One day she gets adopted by her father’s friend which leads her to a good family but sadly she was mistreated by her stepmother and stepsister, similar to Cinderella. It was not until she met two men, Joon-hee who is kind to her because he resembles his ex-girlfriend Sophia and Min-hee, who is Joon-hee’s friend and a aspiring singer who truly loves her. This is the start of her journey to make her hard life turn around as she struggles to become a successful designer, and to find true love.

It was also one of the first Idol dramas that catapulted all of its lead cast into stardom not only in Korea but also in other countries like China, Taiwan among others.

If I had seen this sooner, when I was still starting into K-dramas, I wouldn’t mind some flaws that the drama had, since it was aired in the late 90’s but even if I just recently finished it, the flaws were overpowered somehow by the good acting and the OTP pairing of Ahn Jae-wook and Choi Jin-shil, in which while I was watching I really never thought that I missed this drama for a long time but it was still never too late to do so..

What did I like about this drama?

Aside from it was aired in the late 90’s ( My first Korean dramas were really the old ones from that era) I liked how they treated the Cinderella Story with a twist.
Yeon-yi here gets really bullied a lot, but she fights back whenever she gets the chance, to prove that they were all wrong about her, especially the fact that hurts her that she is an orphan, she was accused to be a playgirl, and her parents had a back story, though sadly it wasn’t discussed that much in the drama.

Another thing is how we get too see how Korean singers work back then, since aside from the Cinderella Story here, we also get to see Min-hee’s dreams as a top singer, as well as Yeon-yi’s friend Soon-ae who started as a club singer and then Min-hee’s back-up singer before being a solo artist, where we can see that being on top also had its ups and downs.

The OTP. I love it that both Min-hee and Yeon-yi had their own angsts that’s why I guess for me every scene of theirs while watching the drama has a certain sunk or magic. Whenever they had a fight, one will do something really special to make the relationship work, like the scene where Min-hee went to Milan just to see Yeon-yi and to patch up things with her, and also even if Min-hee’s parents were really opposed to Yeon-yi, since she an orphan and also poor, Min-hee did everything that he can, even to the point of sacrificing his career, just to be with Yeon-yi and marry her, aw…

The acting. From the leads down to the supporting characters where all amazing. I really hated Mrs. Song and her children, I-hwa and I-Ban to bits, and I applaud actress Park Won-sook for that, I really got pissed off by her, which shows how good she acted her role out. The last time I ‘ve seen her in a similar character was in Winter Bird (2008). This was also Ahn Jae-wook’s breakthrough drama, he acted in it pretty well, the attitude of his character and everything about it, though I think in my opinion Cha In Pyo’s character was more charismatic imho, but since I’m biased of the OTP, I’ll give it to AJW. Choi Jin-shil also played her character well, aside from Yeon-yi, she had another role here as Sophia Jung, the photographer ex-girlfriend of Joon-hee, and she both pulled off being innocent and sexy at the same time (thankfully both of the characters didn’t have to get a face-off in the drama- to avoid confusion I guess). As I said in my teaser review, this was one of her memorable dramas, so without thinking of what happened to the actress in real life, I think we should focus more on her talents that she showed here in the drama. Cha In-pyo has also impressed me as the Daddy Long Legs on Yeon-yi though he really helped her with the fact that she exactly resembles his ex-girlfriend. Cha has also scenes here where he speaks English and Italian fluently since its rare for Korean actors to speak English fluently, and Cha just nailed it perfectly.

You can also see Jeon Do-yeon here in one of her earlier roles, as well as Kim Jung-eun. I’m happy to see that from their supporting roles in this drama, they rose to become two of Korea’s Top Stars.

What I didn’t like about the drama

The side stories. I guess this what really gave the drama the flaw. Through the entire 16 episodes you can see some back stories that really didn’t help to provide the back bone of the drama. The first one was the story behind Yeon-yi’s birth parents, the reason why Mr. Ahn adopted her aside from the fact that her father was his friend. The first few episodes even gave me the impression the Yeon-yi was a possible child out of wedlock of Mr. Ahn, as Mrs. Song remembers Yeon-yi’s mom pretty well and how like the mother the daughter is also a “playgirl” but it wasn’t really discussed especially after Mr. Ahn accidentally dies in a car crash so still it was left hanging.

The second one was Min-hee discovery of her birth mom, who was an actress and is staying at a mental institution, the explanation why she was there and what really happened was explained though somehow I really wanted more on it, but Min-hee at least got the chance to meet his mother before it got too late.

The last one was Sophia’s appearance as well. Joon-hee helped Yeon-yi to become a designer because of the fact that she resembles Sophia. Sophia appears at around episodes 10-12 to explain what really transpired between her and Joon-hee and why did she left him, but still I got even confused on it as just what seemed like they both didn’t got over with each other and tried to get some closure , but at the end, we still didn’t get it.

The After Thoughts

I still recommend this drama to all Korean drama fans as one good K-drama classic, as I said that its flaws were overshadowed by the acting and the 90’s vibe of the drama, if you don’t mind the fashion at all. Some of the Epic scenes in the drama you can also see it being rehashed by recent K-dramas, proving that it is really one heck if a Classic and great drama that it was. After watching it 2 times in a month to be able to do this review, I just kept a copy of the drama in order for me to remember the good old days of K-drama, as I wonder where and when again good productions like this will come out these days

As an ending treat to this review, here’s the MV to Ahn Jae-wook’s song, Forever, the particular song that made him into a star and one of the highlights of the drama


SIMH Baidu Bar



  1. I really like your thoughts about this drama. I am still looking for an explanation why Joon-hee and Sophia couldn’t be together despite the fact that they really loved each other…Wonder anyone knows the reason could kindly explain to me…

  2. Thank you Katie for sharing your thoughts about this drama, It is still one of the classic K-dramas that I love, and I could watch again after a few years. I also have the same question as you, I’m not really certain as why Joon-hee and Sophia cannot be together, I’m thinking if they have other priorities, but I’m not sure. Maybe I need to watch this again to get a clue.

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