The Classic

“When the sun shines I think of you;
When the dim moonlight is on the spring I think of you.”

A tale of deeply rooted friendship, unrequited love, culture driven plot with its playful fate that travels from time to time which is conquered in the present by what was in the classic.

The Classic  was filmed last 2003 as a South Korean romance melodrama film directed by Kwak Jae-yong .(With the same production of the highest grossing Korean film My Sassy Girl ). I first watched this movie with some friends/churchmates near our vicinity last 2009. Like a surreal memory, I had a hard time recalling the flow/details of the story except for one thing – that downreaching feeling and emotional attachment with the two main characters –   Joon-ha (Jo Seung-woo)  and Joo- hee  (Son Ye-jin). I just remember myself giggling with those “Kilig” moments, teary-eyed upon the heartbreaking scenes and laughed out loud with those funny and cute punks but honestly, can’t narrate the whole thing in the movie. (Sounds unbelievable, but it really is) So I was trying to search it youtube and find some DVD’s of it but to no avail. Not until yesterday when my friend entered the KissAsian site that offers online viewing of movies. I was the happiest K-fangirl at that moment! 😀

With my eagerness to experience The Classic again, after work, I watched it in real excitement. And just like before, I was in a rollercoaster  of emotions and so much enjoyed the ride! 😉

The parallel love stories of a mother and daughter are well presented with the flashbacks. I think my endearment of vintage things, diaries and letters, those old ways made me love the movie this much. The settings are such a cinch and the music used to harmonize each scene.

Here’s a brief review of the past and present in The Classic.


The countryside boy Joon-ha meeting with the congressman’s daughter Joo-hee one beautiful summer  was wonderful. That carefree act of creating memories together turns into a platonic love with just a snap of time. The rural feels and the sincere smiles of the two adds radiance towards the complexities of happiness in simple things. Just when the state of life doesn’t really matter at all when it comes to befriending someone or finding someone to love. Before they separate, Joo-hee gives him a necklace, which he keeps close as a precious reminder of their time together.But Joo-hee’s parents got angry seeing her with that boy and for the fact that they already been sworn for their daughter to be a bride of a man named Tae-soo (who happened to be Joon-ha’s close friend). The formal acquiantance of the three happened after Joo-hee played the piano in one of the university’s program. Tae-soo consequently got attracted to Joo-hee and decided to court her and admit that Joon-ha was the one who wrote the letters he sent for her. But as soon as Tae-soo found out about his close friend and his bride-to-be love affair, this noble man gave way and even let Joon-ha use his name for the two to freely exchange thoughts in letters. Tae-soo gone through a lot of emotional struggle.He was beaten by his father after backing up in marrying Joo-hee. But I want to note that what Tae-soo did after that —  attempting a suicide is not a good example for anyone who deals pain eventhough it was not successfully done because Joon-ha immediately called a rescue. The story then unfolds when Joon-ha turned tail for their love and make a sacrifice for the life of his friend Tae-soo. He joined the armed forces and even risked his life and lose his sight for that necklace which symbolizes their love.


Ji-hye (the daughter of Joo-hee) who reminices the life of her mother starts to have her own story of love when she falls with the theater guy – Sang-min (Jo In-sung ). Unfortunately, her friend Soo-kyeong (Lee Soo-in) is interested to him. At her confusion, she decided not to pursue her feelings and be happy for her friend.A letter from Sang-min that has that same line with her mother’s brings  her to the truth that Soo-kyeong and Sang-min might be the one destined for each other, assuming that the letter is really for her friend. But Sang-min reveals his true affection for Ji-hye just when  she took back that umbrella he had purposely left  behind a shop and ran in the rain with her. They celebrated their love together at that special river where once a magical story resides. As they looked back on the memoir of Ji-hye’s parents ( Joo-hee and Tae-soo), tears are rolling down on Sang-min’s face. He silently lifts a necklace from around his neck and places it around hers. That day carried them back to the brave love of Joo-hee (Ji-hye’s mother) and Joon-ha (Sang-min’s father) and found another delightful meaning of their relationship in the present. ❤

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You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep

  • Fireflies by Owl City

(If only I could decide the OST 😉 )

The Classic bagged Awards and Nominations:

2003 39th Baeksang Arts Awards: Best New Actress – Son Ye-jin

2003 40th Grand Bell Awards: Best New Actress – Son Ye-jin

2003 24th Blue Dragon Film Awards: Popular Star Award – Son Ye-jin

2003 2nd Korean Film Awards: Best Music – Jo Yeong-wook

2004 9th Moscow International Love Movie Awards: Best Couple – Jo Seung-woo and Son Ye-jin

2004 Hong Kong Film Awards: Nominated, Best Asian Film

Korean songs:

“그랬나봐” (“Geuraetna bwa” – World without love) – performer: Kim Hyung-joong

“”고백” (“Gobaek” – Confession) – performer: Delispice — played during the art gallery scene

“너에게 난 나에게 넌” (“Neo-ege nan na-ege neon” – Me to you, you to me) – performer: Jatanpung — played during both special umbrella scenes

“너무 아픈 사랑은 사랑이아니었음을” (“Neomu apeun sarang-eun sarang-i anieosseumeul” – It wasn’t love if it hurt so much) – performer: Kim Kwang-seok – played during train and last meeting scenes

“사랑하면 할수록” (“Saranghamyeon halsurok” – If we are in love, then…) – Played in different instrumental versions throughout the film — always at emotional moments. It is sung in the final scenes by performer Han Song Min. There is also a Mandarin version of this song titled “Huise Kongjian” (灰色空間) which is sung by Taiwanese singer Show Luo in the Taiwanese drama The Outsider II.

American songs:

Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Mann

Hippy Hippy Shake” by The Swinging Blue Jeans

Classical works:

The piano piece performed by Joo-hee on stage is Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata 8, movement 2 Pathetique Sonata.Pachelbel‘s Canon in D was also used as the background music.


“Keulraesik (Classic)”Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
“The Classic (2003 South Korea) Review”. Hangul Celluloid. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
“The Asian Flicks: The Classic (Korean, 2003)”. The Asian Flicks. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
“第二十三屆香港電影金像獎得獎名單”Hong Kong Film Awards. Retrieved 30 March 2010.


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