Review: Architecture 101 (2012)

Directed by:
Cast: , , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

The popular Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is already underway in Brisbane, with Sydney and Melbourne soon to follow. So far already, our Editor has reviewed the period drama Masquerade, while fellow Team Heroic members have written about the thrillers Berlin File and The Tower. Screening this afternoon is the 2012 smash hit romance film Architecture 101, which I have had the pleasure of catching, and I am pleased to tell you that if you are in the mood for love, this is one film that you would not want to miss.

Seung-min is an architect who gets asked by a pretty lady to redesign her old house on Jeju Island. It turns out that the lady, Seo-yeon, was a college classmate of Seung-min’s. As the pair works together on the building of the house, old memories are brought back for both of them. There is a problem, however, as Seung-min is soon getting married. So are they going to allow the feelings that they had for each other some 17 years ago to reignite?

When I first heard of the film’s title Architecture 101, what immediately came to mind was Taipei 101, the landmark skyscraper in Taiwan. As it turns out, this movie from South Korea has got absolutely nothing to do with Taipei 101, but it does have a lot to do with architecture, which is what has brought the two lead characters together on the two occasions 17 years apart

Directed and written by Lee Yong-joo, who helmed the 2009 horror hit Possessed, Architecture 101 is a romance film that works well, unlike many of its counterparts nowadays. The entire cast gives solid performances, but it is Suzy and Lee Je-hoon who stand out the most. They play the young Seo-yeon and Seung-min respectively, and their natural performances and wonderful chemistry make the relationship they portray a believable one. Audiences should be deeply affected by their story, which may at times come across a little predictable, but the film is another fine example of a familiar story told well.

Architecture 101 became a box office hit in Korea when it was released in 2012, and this comes as no surprise as it tells a love story in a way that is both touching and funny. It is immensely enjoyable and should be a strong contender to take out the audience award at this year’s KOFFIA. By the way, the bittersweet feelings this film evokes in me bring back fond memories of My Sassy Girl, one of the first (and finest) Korean films I have ever seen, and yes, that is how good Architecture 101 is.

Architecture 101 is screening as part of this year’s Korean Film Festival in Australia: see our roundup or the official KOFFIA website for details!

8.5 bus stops before the young lovers’ destination out of 10.
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