MOVIE CLUB REVIEW: Architecture 101
Zombie: Hello all and welcome to the Architecture 101 Movie Club! Wendilynn, Tiara and I are happy to have you join us as we discuss the ins, outs, ups and downs that is Architecture 101 so let’s get to it! Alright ladies, I have to ask, what did you think of this film? Did you like it? Did you hate it? Were you somewhere in-between?
Wendilynn: I had a hard time with this one because of pacing. I kept getting bored every five minutes or so until the last 20 minutes of the movie when it quickly started wrapping up its story. Understanding how fairytale-fantasy-like Asia gets about remembering first loves, I was intrigued by a movie that suggested that first loves aren’t all they are cracked up to be.
Zombie: I think that more than the first love in this story lacking in any way, this movie dared to show that sometimes first loves don’t work out and that there’s the possibility of finding love and happiness in life apart from your first love. A daring idea for a K-film but a theme that’s beginning to pop up in a lot of currently airing dramas so perhaps there is hope that someday our beloved drama leads will follow in the footsteps of this movie and *gasp* we might someday find a second lead who ends up with their leading love. (Wouldn’t that be amazing?)
Tiara: I’m in agreement with Wendilynn. The pacing of the movie was on the slow side. I understand the movie was going for a soft and quiet, but lost my interest as it snailed its way towards the end. I wasn’t overly moved by the couple which could have been some of the reason why it felt dull overall. As for the storyline, I actually liked the concept about first love being a good memory, but one which stays in the past.
Zombie: I honestly enjoyed the story and I like how the relationship between the leads was revealed through the flashbacks. Not only was the story between them adorable but the nostalgia that came with seeing them live through the ‘90’s was so much fun. What, with the knock off “GEUSS” shirts and the portable CD player… I just loved that!
Zombie: I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one squeeing over Yoo Yun Suk! When he first appeared I immediately squealed, “CHILBONGIE!” (Yeah, I’m a fangirl.)
Tiara: Not the only one *Wink* But I’m still an Oppa girl despite having a soft spot for Chilbongi.
Wendilynn: I was impressed by how well our two male leads matched. Their faces could have been siblings or twins. Especially in the eyes. Many times I saw the same look on both of their faces. I had no trouble buying that this was the younger/older versions of the same person. Even their mannerisms were very similar. However, they did not mesh our female leads very well. Han Ga In and Suzy were NOT a good match. It pulled me out of the story every time those girls switched.
Tiara: I know Suzy gets a lot of crap for her acting, but felt she did a decent job. For me, Han Ga In just didn't cut it in Moon that Embraces the Sun. I didn't find her acting very impressive in the drama. i was greatly surprised at her solid performance in the movie. I may not have liked her character much but towards the end I could at least understand where she was coming from.
Zombie: I thought she did a really good job in this movie and though she and her older counterpart didn’t really look much alike, I could see enough of them in each other to believe they could have been the same person at some point. Maybe I’m just too forgiving when I watch dramas or films… I can easily swallow a lot if I think the story is interesting enough.
Wendilynn: Both actresses are good at what they do, I just didn’t feel they were a match here. However, I think my favorite character was Nabddeuckyi played by Jo Jung Suk, who many will remember from King 2 Hearts and You’re the Best. Watching him try to teach his friend how to schmooze girls was hilarious. That scene about what makes a good kiss had me rolling.
Tiara: Jo Jung Suk is a scene stealer. His character is the most memorable. Love him to bits.
Zombie: Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved him! I was in stitches every time he was on-screen! So what did you two think about this love story? Did you like the way it was played out? Was your heart stirred by the flutterings of a love lost and then remembered or did the whole thing just fall flat?
Tiara: That's a love story? I wouldn’t go as far to call it a love story. There were no butterflies in my stomach nor hearts fluttering which is probably another reason why I felt bored. The characters aren’t the most likeable when we first meet them. Yes, it’s sweet and innocent to watch them as young college students going out into the big world. It makes it much more frustrating as a movie watcher to see them miss the opportunities to come clean about their feelings. It's one of the reasons why some K-Dramas drive me up the wall when they don’t talk to one another about their emotions or feelings. Yet on the other side, I know the story is telling me this is about closure. It is okay to go down memory lane and remember the “glory days”, but they are the past. The future is in the present and what you make of it now.
Wendilynn: I was not moved because I couldn’t sit still for very long most of the time. I think that this movie would probably be very nostalgic for men more than women because it really concentrates on the struggles a young man goes through when he falls in love for the first time. But you don’t get much on how the girl is feeling until the last 20 minutes or so. There is no push and pull until then. Seung Min never moves beyond his quite crush and the slow pacing kills any tension for love. I did like his first kiss though, that was played well. I also liked the scene when Seung Min and Seo Yeon finally confess that they liked each other when he finds the house model, that scene was moving, but they were like islands between less emotional scenes that felt flat.
Zombie: Wow! You both summed this up so well there’s not really anything left for me to add! I think more than anything this story was about letting go of the past and moving on with the life you have. You can’t change the past, you can’t really even relive the past, you can only learn from it and use that knowledge to try and better your future. Sometimes you’ve got to seize the moment and if you don’t, you have to be okay with living with the consequences. Quite a hefty lesson to be learned from such a mellow film, I think.
Wendilynn: I think this movie was made to make us think, and in that, its done its job well. This is not a movie to lose one's heart in.
Tiara: The film may not be going on my top favorites but it will be on I will remember the overall theme. I did want to touch on the parents in the film. I found it intersting how these two sill had a connection as they both were helping their struggling parents.
Zombie: I liked how Seo Yeon helped Seung Min take a step back and really appreciate his mother; something he’d failed to do throughout this entire film. I think it’s good that eventually came to realize his mother wasn’t the crazy embarrassing burden he’d always seen her as but as someone to be loved and treasured. Even if he did eventually leave her, at least he did so knowing her worth and I thought that was pretty great.
Wendilynn: Children often have a hard time understanding their parents or appreciating them until later in life. Seung Min saw his mother as an obstacle who always lived too hard and it was nice to see him finally step back and just love his mom. I have no problem recommending this movie to someone who likes the actors involved or who like movies that are more contemplative and thoughtful. Just because I found it long and slow in the first 2/3rds of the film does not mean someone else won’t love it.
Zombie: True. I actually enjoyed this film, for the most part, in part because I did love so many of the actors involved but also because I loved the nostalgic feel and the romantic idea of reliving a first love. Even if that first love stayed in the past, I think it was good for both Seo Yeon and Seung Min to go back and think it over because it seemed to help them both find a way to finally put that disappointment behind them and move on with their lives. Closure is a powerful thing and I think both characters will be better off having finally put this chapter of their lives to rest.
Tiara: One of the main reasons I was compelled to watch the movie was the idea of first love being romanticized to the point you question your memories of the time. I'm okay this isn't a romantic fairy tale story, where the guy finally gets the girl. In fact, i'm gleeful the story is about letting your memories stay in the past a sweet memories. Overall, the movie is sluggish and dull. There was no heart moving moments nor excitement which made it difficult to keep my attention focused on the movie. I can't even make excuses for the movie. I wasn't tired and I made enough time to sit down with my adult beverage and popcorn to be entertained for the next 2 hours. Instead, I was bored to tears, but thankful for the alcoholic drink. I appreciated the essence of the film which told a good story, but wished the movie could have been more engaging.
So tell us, what did you think of Architecture 101? Did you enjoy it or was it not really your cup of tea? We’d love to know what you thought about the pacing, characters, story… We really want to know it all so be sure to leave us a comment below!
Director Lee Yong Joo has a bachelor's degree in architecture from Yonsei University. He worked closely with other architects to make sure that aspect of the movie was portrayed correctly.
Seo Yeon's house, which was created specifically for the movie, was damaged in August 2012 by Typhoon Bolaven. After renovations, it opened in March 2013 as a cafe called Cafe Seo Yeon's house.
The throwback fever ignited by this movie for 90’s memorabilia, fashion and music created a sensation for awhile. Exhibition, the duo whose CD Suzy’s character shares with our male lead, saw new sales from fans of the soundtrack. Many other artists also saw a boost to their sales as 90’s fever took hold.
The film was very popular in Korea and received much attention and praise during its run. It was chosen as the closing film for the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival. Actors Suzy, Lee Je Hoon, and Jo Jung Suk won various awards for their respective roles in the film. Director Lee Yong Joo won for his screenplay and Lee Ji Soo won for music.
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