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Who Was Your First Love? “Introduction to Architecture” Movie Review

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“Will you listen?”

“…”

Song- Etude of Memories by Kim Dong Ryul (Introduction to Architecture OST) *If you press the little “Playlist” button on the bottom of the audio player on top of this post, you will see the song information.

Saying you can’t bear it any longer,
you leaned on my shoulder with an empty smile
and closed your eyes.

I can say it now.
Your sad gaze
pains my heart.

Tell me.
If I can go into your heart…
how much meaning will my childish self have?

After many days have passed,
when my heart grows tired,
I bring back memories of you disappearing into my heart.

I may remember.
My future that has grown too big,
into those dreams,
memories of you that are being forgotten.
Will I remember again?

If I can go into your heart…
how much meaning will my childish self have?

After many days have passed,
when my heart grows tired,
I bring back memories of you disappearing into my heart.

I may remember.
My future that has grown too big,
into those dreams,
memories of you that are being forgotten.
Will I remember again?

After many days have passed…


Do you remember your first love?

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Was it one-sided?

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Was it painful?

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Was it happy?

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How did it end?

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Introduction to Architecture (a.k.a. Architecture 101) takes a nostalgic look at first love. With the tagline, “We were all someone’s first love,” this movie reminds us we all once made someone’s heart beat a little faster.

Set in circa 1994, this movie targets audiences in their 30s who were experiencing young love for the first time in the 1990s. Yet this movie relates to all generations as it looks at love with a little bit of whimsy, anticipation, and heartache.

The story itself is very simple. One day out of the blue, Lee Seung Min (Uhm Tae Woong) receives a visit from a unfamiliar woman at his architecture office. She identifies herself as Yang Seo Yeon (Han Ga In), his college friend and neighbor. She wants Lee Seung Min to rebuild her family home in Jeju Island. After some convincing, he agrees to take on the project.

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Lee Seung Min and Seo Yeon Jae meet up often to discuss the design and progress of the house. They each learn that Seung Min is engaged to a work colleague and Seo Yeon is recently divorced. Their interactions are casual and lighthearted but there is an underlying tension of unresolved issues and unforgotten memories. While the two never directly talk about the past until the end, we learn through flashbacks that Yang Seo Yeon was Lee Seung Min’s first love. The question that audience is left to wonder until the end is, “Was he her first love?”

I initially wanted to watch this movie simply because of the actors and the aesthetics of the film. I didn’t expect much from the plot and I was wary of it being overly romantic or weepy. Surprisingly this movie is none of that. This movie doesn’t worship love unconditionally but it respects it. It understands that love comes and goes and while it can hurt, it is worth experiencing. The movie shows that love leaves footprints in our heart but we shouldn’t let those footprints become potholes to new love.

While everyone else is good, Lee Je Hoon is a wonder in this movie. (He is mine, people.) I was immediately drawn to this actor when I saw a random picture of him online but this was the first project I saw him in. Lee Je Hoon portrays the younger version of Lee Seung Min and he naturally captures the hopefulness, anticipation, and heartbreak of first love. Lee Je Hoon basically embodies “first love” in this film. Watching him is like watching yourself on screen- experiencing the first jolt of electricity, feeling the nervous flutter in your stomach, and tasting salty tears on your lips.

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Jo Jung Suk totally deserves a shout out for this film. He was wonderful in The King 2 Hearts as the earnest and loyal bodyguard but in this film he delightfully plays a completely different character. His role is small but Jo Jung Suk grabs your attention with his spot-on body language, facial expression, and line delivery. Jo Jung Suk really needs to star in his own film soon. He can definitely hold his own.

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Maybe you’ll turn on the radio one day and hear a song that brings a rush of memories of a sweeter and more hopeful time. Maybe it will bring you tears and a little bit heart ache. But you’ll finish listening to that song no matter what. Because…

‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam: 27, 1850

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Is this drama finished already. The title is not familiar to me…The story is it similiar to Love Rain?. I cannot watch Love Rain because the drama was very slow for me.

    June 26, 2012
    • Ada #

      It’s not a drama, it’s a film. A good starting point in guessing that is in the actual title of this article. Yes, the title actually ends with the words “Movie Review”. Okay, I do realise I’m being a bit rash with this, so bear in mind it’s nothing personal. It is amazing how many things we can find out by ourselves without having to wait for others to respond to our questions. And while I don’t really know what’s going on in Love Rain(that drama had too many things that completely made me run away from it) the story and pace of this film is just okay. The characters make you rediscover with them the feelings of the first love. It’s not some revolutionary story or too much bling bling but it still manages to captivate you somehow. All in all,Architecture 101 might not climb on top favourite lists, but will stay in your mind for a while.

      June 26, 2012
      • joonni #

        Yeah, the movie is nothing special but it leaves a good feeling.

        June 26, 2012
  2. Kas #

    I initially tuned in to watch Uhm Tae Woong and his wonderful acting skills but Lee Je Hoon definitely stole the show. It was my first time watching him and he does a really good job.
    However, I was really not happy with how it ended. To me the main characters clearly had feelings for each other yet he up and leaves? What? Why? We don’t see any background information on his relationship with his “current” gf but he clearly had some BIG unresolved feeling for Han Ga In’s character.
    The ending ruined the movie for me.

    June 27, 2012
    • joonni #

      **********SPOILERS*********

      Like you said, he had unresolved feelings but once he finds out that he was her first love too, I think those feelings could be let go. Han Ga In also didn’t love Uhm Tae Woong- I think what she felt was more a longing for the past. So what they both felt was not about love but about the past and a need for resolution.

      June 27, 2012
  3. Hana #

    I watched in and cried… The story was so similar with mine,,, which I let go my first love because of I thought that he was in love with someone else… and later I knew that he was in love with me too… But now it’s kind of too late because he already have someone else… I know the ending is sad, but I do think something like that is happen in real life…

    June 27, 2012
    • joonni #

      I almost cried reading your comment. Thank you for sharing.

      June 27, 2012
    • chikoku #

      Same with me !!! And i keep that first love hidden for 12 years, and then gave up, because he’s tied up by his own first love and didnt recognize my sacrifice for waiting him to realize my love.

      Later, when i get married, he make confession, by my wedding, he just realize that his first love is everlasting love, but me is his life. Can you imagine how i felt at that time ? Happy and heartbreaking at once.

      If i look at one side, it just like a sad ending. But at the other side, it’s a happy ending for me, because i’m marry a man who love me since 12 years ago, in silence, just like i did to someone else.

      So, i believe, that a wonderful surprise gift will wait ahead for our tears, sadness and sacrificing all this time. I amaze how a movie or drama able to describe our life very close.

      Thank for the recommendation, Joonni… really enlighten me

      December 1, 2012
      • joonni #

        Wow, it sounds like a movie.
        People advise to choose the person who loves you more, not the other way around. I think I agree with this because love can always grow.

        December 1, 2012
        • chikoku #

          Yes, Joonni. Sometimes i feel that my life just like a movie. LOL
          Do you know Coffee House/Page One ? Beside this movie, the story of Coffee House excatly the same like happend to my life. The story between the Writer (Kang Ji Hwan) and the director (Park Si Yeon) really describe my relationship with my first love. I just shocked and speechless watch that drama.

          How the communication mostly through the phone, how he hurt and trauma by his love, how he love to vanish for years without any news, and many more. Except the ending, i didnt choose him, but choose the one that love me from many years before. LOL.

          Your words, “People advise to choose the person who loves you more, not the other way around. I think I agree with this because love can always grow” => SO AGREE !!! At the beginning of my marriage, i didn’t love my hubby, i just care him, because he is my best friend from long time ago. But now, i do love him so much. My love grow for him, getting bigger each time. Hmm.. maybe i should write a novel from my story, Joonni. *grinning

          December 2, 2012
          • joonni #

            I really liked Coffee House!
            Yes, please, a novel!

            December 2, 2012
  4. Ri #

    The main hype surrounding this movie was undoubtedly Suzy but Lee Je Hoon was definitely the stand out performance. Suzy held her own pretty well too but nothing like the array of emotions Lee Je Hoon is able to portray with just one look. Ugh, he was so wasted in Fashion King! The storyline itself was simplistic but I’m glad it took a very realistic approach to first loves.. and how gorgeous was the finished house!

    June 27, 2012
    • joonni #

      I especially love the little pond he made for her with the footprint.

      June 27, 2012
    • jomo #

      Lee Je Hoon is the stand out performance in everything he does.
      Suzy was very cute in this, too.

      June 28, 2012
  5. jaz #

    What a surprise! I came to know about this movie from my sister since she thought it was literally all about architecture (since she’s a graduating architecture student)…but despite that we both loved it! There was this warm feeling to it since you know…it’s all about “first love” in which as you said, everyone else can totally relate to. There’s a touch of nostalgia giving the audience both happiness and sadness. It reminded me of my first love…mine was kind of unrequited since he probably didn’t knew I exist but heck that was all in the past now…hehe! ;)

    I guess not everyone has seen the movie yet so I won’t give any spoilers…just watch this film and probably you’ll feel the same way…

    June 27, 2012
  6. Fallensnow #

    Oooh! Thanks, Joonni. Just the perfect amount of hype to wet my appetite. I’ve been meaning to watch this since it’s release (must wait for subs… grrr) and you’ve just gave me the prompting I need to go see it. :D

    June 27, 2012
  7. Meow #

    i saw the movie a few days ago.. truly beautiful and as always i love the detailing that went into making that house fusing it with emotions. I loved it when he kept the wall with her measurements and also the pond..
    somehow i liked the flashbacks better than the present day story.. my heart just went out to the little boy who was crying over his love!!
    Likewise i never thought that Jo Jung Suk could act like that!! It was odd seeing him be all funny when i simply adored him as the straight laced bodyguard, but i enjoyed it thoroughly

    June 29, 2012
  8. toastergirl #

    My kind of movie. Not overly dramatic, but whams a stick to your heart.

    June 30, 2012
  9. lee #

    woah~~ really love this movie as well as your review. :) will share this. <3 I totally agree with your review :D :D

    December 1, 2012
  10. I watched this movie and I must say, the storyline is very realistic. While we all want every love story to have a happy ending, it is inevitable. Maybe So-Yeon and Seung-Min had loved each other in the past but that does not mean they are meant in the present. Maybe this is more of each other finding a closure of what haunted them in the past. Sometimes, we do not need a continuation, closure is enough. Kudos to the movie and your review. :)

    May 5, 2013

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