This review contains major spoilers of early episodes. 3/5 stars Three adults traumatised by cases of parental abuse and murder when they were kids learn to accept other people into their hearts and overcome their life-altering bad memories in the fairy tale romance It’s Okay to Not Be Okay . Starring the charming duo of Kim Soo-hyun ( My Love from the Star ) and Seo Ye-ji as a pair of star-crossed lovers, the Korean drama series aired its final episode on tvN on August 9, and is streaming worldwide in its entirety on Netflix . Despite giving a deceptively difficult – and almost macabre – impression in its early days, the popular 16-episode series, not unlike its protagonists, soon morphs into a most heart-warming experience. A detour into crime mystery in the show’s last few episodes proves halfhearted at best; the few detective fiction fans expecting to learn the morbid details of what exactly happened should brace for disappointment. Kim plays Moon Gang-tae, a 30-year-old carer living with his autistic older brother, Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se). Emotionally closed off since childhood when he was the less favoured son of their single mother, Gang-tae has also failed to develop any meaningful relationship as an adult, as he must move town once or twice every year to save his possessive brother from a lifelong nightmare, incurred when Sang-tae witnessed the murder of their mother 20 years ago. When Gang-tae has a run-in with his brother’s favourite children’s book author, Ko Mun-yeong (Seo), somehow resulting with the latter stabbing him in the palm, their destinies become intertwined. The volatile Mun-yeong, as it transpires, is no less a damaged and lonely soul: she was raised in a remote castle by an abusive mother, a crime-fiction writer who is long missing and presumed dead; Mun-yeong’s dementia-stricken father, now living in Gang-tae’s hospital, wants her dead. K-drama writers love to concoct outrageously improbable past encounters between its lead characters – look no further than tvN’s other recent hit, Crash Landing on You – and It’s Okay to Not Be Okay wastes no time in sticking to this cheesy trope. We learn that Mun-yeong once saved Gang-tae’s life on a frozen river when they were children, but she also, swiftly and inexplicably, turned him down in sadistic manner when Gang-tae revealed his affection. Will they become an item now? That is, as seasoned K-drama viewers know, a question of when, not if. The pleasure of sitting through the show’s first act stems as much from admiring its inventive visual design and editing as it is witnessing the conflicted attempts at flirting between Gang-tae and Mun-yeong, who are clearly attracted to each other, but are also too accustomed to their own hard-hearted facades to reciprocate anyone’s feelings. “A fairy tale is a cruel fantasy that illustrates the brutality and violence of this world in a paradoxical manner,” declares Mun-yeong in a literature class for patients of the psychiatric hospital. The show embraces her misanthropic streak early (going so far as to evoke horror movie aesthetics in scenes of nightmares), before it switches gear into far more conventional comedy/melodrama territory to focus on Mun-yeong and Sang-tae’s fight – at times literally – for Gang-tae’s attention. As its story settles into a pleasing groove, the show’s third act, inevitably, returns to the mystery of the unidentified murderer of the brothers’ mother. While the perpetrator’s identity comes as a mild surprise, there is ultimately little time for this twisted turn, and It’s Okay to Not Be Okay almost immediately returns to nurse its protagonists’ feelings. The final episode, in particular, feels like an utterly predictable epilogue made solely for feel-good factors. But in this case, it’s about okay to not have a great story. Just as the shabby wardrobe of Kim’s prince charming makes for fun contrast to Seo’s stunning parade of fancy dresses, Oh surprises in his potentially stereotypical part by creating a few of the most poignant moments of the entire series. The goodwill extends to the supporting cast, which includes Park Kyu-young as Gang-tae’s crush and colleague, and Kim Joo-hun as Mun-yeong’s long-suffering publisher. For a dark romantic fable that begins with a pair of psychologically damaged souls and a range of similarly bleak, Tim Burton-esque animation sequences, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay exceeds expectations not by setting off messy fireworks between its stars, but by somehow revealing its very, very nice intention to heal its audience’s lonely, frustrated hearts. There may just be enough inspirational quotes in this series to make up a modest self-help book. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is streaming on Netflix.