Son Ye-jin and Jung Woo-song
A MOMENT TO REMEMBER
A bum stretches her body for yet another day observing and chatting with strangers. He chats with a man, Choi Chul-soo, about memory.
At a different day, the bum tries talking with a sad-looking and anxiety filled woman, Kim Su-jin, but she stands up and walks away when she admits to herself that the person she’s waiting will not come anymore.
She goes to a convenience store to buy a soda, but her distracted self forgets to bring the soda as she walks out of the store.
She soon realizes what she left so she marches back to the store but a man keeps blocking her way. She gazes at the store counter for her own soda, but her sight can’t catch it. He opens the soda he’s holding, she grabs it from him, and she drinks it straight leaving no less than a drop for him to drink, and burps.
She walks away, rides a bus, but she again realizes she forgot her wallet at the store. She goes back and the store keeper hands her the wallet and the soda.
She reaches her home and she faces the teasing of her sister as her mother worries about her.
The next day at work, Su-jin can feel most of the eyes of her fellow office mates on her. She is welcomed by the department head but she gets humiliated when a woman reveals her illicit affair to a married man whose wife happened to be her friend.
While sitting beside her father, she vents on how much she has disappointed him, but his father is just thankful sitting beside her and advises her to learn from her mistakes. They drop by at her father’s workplace, but she stays inside the car because it is dusty outside.
Su-jin’s father fixes a slight issue between the foreman, Chul-soo, and another construction staff. He explains that the foundation is not yet ready and that it should not be force less the outcome of what they are building will fail.
Chul-soo takes a breather after showing Su-jin’s father that the materials are not yet ready. He goes down and she sees him, and remembers her encounter with him, just then her father enters the car complaining his foreman’s temper and then they leave the building’s premise.
Su-jin’s immediate superior worries about not being able to finish the construction of a flat because the previous head worker took off not finishing the project, so she offers to help him try to find options for solutions.
She asks her father’s help and he sends his construction minions to help resolve the problem. He warns her though that she will be dealing with a sort of rough man. When the elevator opens, Chul-soo steps out to Su-jin’s surprise.
She hides when her boss walks him through where the repair is needed. While his manly hotness, Chul-soo, asks question to her boss, she shyly peeks at him unnoticed.
When Su-jin gets a soda can from the vendo machine, repeating what she did with his coke in can during their first meet up, he grabs it from her, drinks all of it leaving no less than a drop for her to drink, and burps.
Smiling while she walks after a day’s work, Chul-soo comes in from nowhere and asks her if she is heading home. She replies, she’s about to take the taxi. He went to his untidy truck, settles shortly, and then opens its door when an evil-pudgy-rider-in-black snatches Su-jin’s bag. He bumps to the truck’s door as Chul-soo helps her to fix her bag.
She stares wonderingly and amusingly as he pushes the broken glass front window. He asks her to enter from the other door and gives her a spade to hold on to as they sail on a literally rough, windy ride.
She grins when she sees him wear goggles to evade the unruly wind, and then he hands her a construction goggles as well. She stares at him beneath the goggles and tries to spark a conversation. She apologizes for snatching his coke the first time they met, and she blames it on her being “forgetful”. But no matter how she fishes for his response, he remains uncaringly unresponsive.
Su-jin prepares a pretty self and heads off to bring lunch for Chul-soo, but she just got disappointed because he was on the building site.
Su-jin goes to the construction site and peeks on Chul-soo’s truck, she’s about to open the door when someone stops her from what she’s about to do. Then Chul-soo comes with other construction guys, so she escapes to hiding.
Later that night, together with her girlfriends, they hunt Chul-soo who was sharing drinks with his friends. Chul-soo indulges Soo-jin’s flirting, and they end up drinking with them.
Chul-soo pours her a glass of soju and dares her that if she drinks it, she will be his girl. Su-jin asks him the consequences if she will not oblige. He retorts they’ll end up being strangers for the rest of their lives. She looks at him, drinks the soju and they share their first kiss.
Officially dating, they spend wonderful moments together. They walk sweetly in a park, play baseball in the batting range, and exchange kisses and sweet nothings. They basically just love each other as much as they can.. everywhere, anyhow, anytime…
Chul-soo introduces the “bet the winning card” game to Su-jin as well. It’s a game where Chul-soo shuffles the card on a table with his very fast hands and weird in between childish and gambler chant as Su-jin chooses the correct card, if she picks it right she gets a prize.
When Su-jin smells his perfume, she reckons smelling that scent somewhere. She keeps thinking if it’s her uncle, the bus or in her dreams. But he disregards it and keeps himself busy loving her.
Su-jin visits an old friend who reminds her of a past she is trying to forget. She cleans up her stuff in their old apartment and leaves the keys in the mailbox.
Chul-soo lectures her about how annoying love is. He points out how love can be painful and yet many are still falling for it. Su-jin gets offended and she storms her way out. He makes peace with her, and as she is trying to pity herself falling in love and getting hurt afterwards, he appeases her to forget about it.
Su-jin makes a suit for Chul-soo’s Architecture exam and waits patiently for him outside when he asks her not to.
Su-jin’s father notices her sunny mood and assumes he is seeing someone. He asks her to have him meet them but Chul-soo disagrees. She patiently chases follows him around to say yes in meeting her parents…
It would be a sin not to share some of my favorite scenes. Here’s the first one I’m sharing. It is when Soo-jin keeps convincing him to acquiesce in seeing his family and also his firm conviction that he loves her.
While Chul-soo plays baseball…
Chul-soo: Hell No!
Su-jin: Why not?
Chul-soo: Look here! I’m dating you. What does it got to do with your parents?
Su-jin: You have to meet them if we are going to get married.
While Chul-soo checks on the lumber…
Su-jin: Why not? Don’t you love me? You love me, right?
Chul-soo: It may fade away.
While they are walking somewhere…
Su-jin: Is it that hard to say I love you?
Chul-soo: I’m getting tired of this! Wake up! Will you? You’re a princess and I’m a beggar.
Chul-soo: Why do you like me so much?
Su-jin: (Points at the convenience store they first met) You remember that store?
Chul-soo: No I don’t! Go Away!
Su-jin: I’m so scared!
While they are on the construction site…
Su-jin: Can you live without me?
Chul-soo: If we live together, can we die together too? You come and go alone. That’s life.
Chul-soo: You cry baby! Have you lost your parents or your country?
While they were having a dinner…
Su-jin: Why do you want a woman to feel miserable? What’s wrong with wanting to marry a man she loves?
Chul-soo: (Not paying attention) This is delicious
Su-jin: (gets her face sculpture) Why don’t you use this since you are so uncaring?
Chul-soo: I can’t make a commitment. Actually, I don’t want to commit.
Chul-soo: You scare me.
Chul-soo: You are too confident. Do you have any idea how cruel life can be? Say we get married, can we be truly happy?
At that dinner, Soo-jins family suddenly comes and her father was surprised to see his foreman. He attempts to stand up to leave, but Su-jin grabs his hand firmly.
The dinner becomes a battle of who will talk first as they sit and no sound seems to be moving. Soo-jin excuses herself to go to the rest room which leaves Chul-soo and her father in a more awkward situation.
Su-jin’s father breaks the ice, and starts the inquisition. It was definitely not a pleasant “question-and-answer” portion, and as the tension heats up, Soo-jin faints outside.
Chul-soo hurriedly carries Su-jin to the hospital and she hugs him when she sees him. Su-jin’s father surrenders to what his daughter’s heart desires.
They got married as Chul-soo becomes officially an Architect. He patiently understands her weakness on forgetting things, and continuously being a good husband to her.
Chul-soo’s father-in-law introduced a friend who seeks a good plan for a house he wants.
In preparation for his design presentation, she asks him about the inspiration of the house plan, he responds that his wife is the inspiration because he had the chance to see her happy with her family. He adds that how people move under one roof is very important in building a house.
Chul-soo finally makes his presentation and is able to sign the contract to Soo-jin’s happiness.
In the morning, Chul-soo makes a coffee for Su-jin while she playfully hides her amusement looking at her husband’s lipstick-covered face. When he realizes what she did he smiles at his wife’s mischievousness.
Su-jin meets up with her girlfriends, and they envy the happiness emanating from her married life. Soo-jin confides that she’s been having some troubles going home as she forgets familiar streets, but they did not pay attention to her query.
Su-jin sets home looking worried if she is on the right track. She opens the door and sees a new kitchen made by her husband. (I can’t keep my eyes of Jang Hyuk, why did you marry without meeting me yet? Full of glee she checks on her new kitchen, and when she faces Chul-soo, she utters how she loves him. Late that night, she ponders while he sleeps well in her arms.
Su-jin sees a specialist to deal with her recent “forgetting” episodes. The doctor asks her if she has been in an emotional breakdown recently, and she chronicles how she loved a married man before that when he didn’t show up to the train station for them to elope, she was left heartbroken and dying. She also reckons meeting her ex-boyfriend’s wife in an unpleasant manner as she was hurt physically by her. The doctor explains that she must have suffered a lot of stress and advises her to come back next week to run some tests.
Meanwhile, Chul-soo moves to his new office as his old friends from construction shares his success. Then a surprise visitor comes in. She looks at Chul-soo and Su-jin’s picture and comments that young girls don’t know how to cook anymore. Chul-soo expresses anger on his estranged mother’s not so needed visit. She is in money trouble with loan sharks so she asks him for a favor but he ignores her making her so mad and throwing unkind words to him.
Chul-soo and Su-jin ride and settle in an open space. They plan and imagine their dream house. He tenderly begs her to wait some more because he’s going to buy it for their family.
Slowly, Chul-soo’s cold exterior was warmed by Su-jin’s love. They went to visit Chul-soo’s old teacher and share a picnic near the woods. Granny in his brusque manner complains why they came only after the wedding. He also frets on how his wood carving was not correctly done, frustrated, he excuses himself to get some water and leaves Soo-jin with his teacher. Granny questions Soo-jin if she already met Chul-soo’s mother, and when she replies that she hasn’t met her yet, Grandpa mumbles that Chul-soo should have forgiven his mother already.
Su-jin waits for Chul-soo to fall deeply asleep, and heads to investigate about his things to find some clue about his mom. Her investigative stint pays off and she is able to get his mother’s address. She pays a visit and sees that her house is off to be seized by the bank. She voices out what she discovers to Chul-soo, but he is not willing to extend some help to his mother, and they engage to a heated argument.
Su-jin keeps convincing him to forgive which causes him to be furious and making her cry. Chul-soo angrily speaks that he can’t cry anymore because he cried all night when his mother left him for another man. So he promised himself he’ll never cry again over his mother nor give her a penny.
Su-jin halts to her moping and pick up the torn pictures of his mother. She tells him that forgiving isn’t that hard and it’s like giving away a plain room in your heart. She also says that her grandpa used to say that a true carpenter is someone who can build a house in his heart but he gave all the room in his heart to his mom and his hate, that’s why he wasleft outside shivering and became so distant. She holds his wounded hand and wipes the blood out of it. She whispers how her father remembers that wisdom that when she almost ran off with a married man, he remains to be her loving and understanding father.
Chul-soo visits his mother in prison; he remains silently staring at her as she blurts how she should have just gotten an abortion than to have an uncaring son like him. She reprimands him to go and live a life without a mother as his bleeding hands holds on to a piece of white cloth for strength.
Chul-soo painfully gives his hard-earned money to bail his mother out as he pictures Su-jin in the field of their dream house. Later that night, they drink and Chul-soo vents that they are officially broke, but Su-jin in her positive demeanor takes the cigarette between his lips, gets a deck of playing cards and copies his “bet on a card” routine. Chul-soo smiles at his endearing wife and gives her an embrace full of love.
Su-jin attends another session with her doctor. They talk about her family. She was asked if she has a sibling, and she fails to give her sister’s correct age and birthday. During her tests, her problem in remembering things is very evident.
In Su-jin’s work place, she gets a surprise when she learned that her ex-boyfriend is in town and will be working in the same company as hers. He talks to her and tells her he’s now single and hints that fate must have been playing with them because she’s now married. He tries to explain why he didn’t show up that day, but she cut his sentence and leaves.
Su-jin and Chul-soo sit in their living room. While putting some glue on a card board, she suddenly stands up and walk around the house, he watches her movements and when she sees him, she questions where he was, she sees the cardboard she was putting some glue on earlier and asks him if he put some glue on it. Noticing something weird about his wife, Chul-soo inquires about her sessions with her doctor but she said she hasn’t gotten the result yet.
Su-jin meets up with her doctor for the result of her tests and sessions, and he reveals to her that she has Alzheimer’s disease thus she has some problems remembering things. She denies accepting her being senile asserting that she’s young to acquire such disease, but the doctor was very positive with the results. He advises her to prepare for the inevitable and to settle her affairs as she will be forgetting almost everything soon, even herself.
Su-jin wallows in self-pity and tears as she walks in the busy street thinking of what will happen in her life now.
Later that night, she tells Chul-soo of her plan to leave her job. She requests him to do his “bet a card” game, but she walks out and pours her desperate tears realizing she might soon forget it.
Su-jin resigned from her job and stays home doing her role as a loving wife. She receives a phone call from her ex-boyfriend, and he expresses frustration on her sudden quitting.
Chul-soo grinningly sits with his construction friends carrying the lunchbox prepared by Soo-jin. He gets some teasing, but they were all surprised when both lunchboxes have rice on it only.
Chul-soo meets with Su-jin’s doctor and learns of her condition. He is furious on why the doctor told him everything to her. When denial can’t keep of Chul-soo’s anger anymore, he bargains with the doctor if Su-jin really has the disease, he is so angry he takes it on the doctor but the hospital staff calms him explaining that the doctor’s wife died of Alzheimer’s too, and that he spent half of his life doing research about it.
Su-jin faints while she heads to her workplace and a kind policeman helps her find her way. Chul-soo calls her but a man picks up her phone saying he found the hand phone in the street. Su-jin and the policeman see her ex-boyfriend, and he takes Su-jin from there.
They sit on a bench and he asks her if they can still go back to what they were two years ago. Su-jin who is having her memory episode at that point thinks that they are together. When she wakes up from her memory lapse, she runs and leaves him.
Chul-soo finds her in the baseball batting range. She asks him if he knows that she has an eraser in her mind. She brings out divorce but he declines it. She asserts that she will soon forget her love for him but he insists on remembering how much they love each other.
I cried buckets of tears in this scene, so I really want to share it to you in verbatim! It was a perfect scene.
CHUL-SOO: Hey fool. Keep your eye on the ball.
SU-JIN: It’s strange. I only got 9 balls; it’s actually 10, right? Isn’t it? (It’s really 9balls and she forgot it)
CHUL-SOO: (stares at her with so much pain, confirming that she’s really sick)
SU-JIN: Did you find out?
SU-JIN: That I have an eraser in my head. Let’s part ways.
SU-JIN: You were right. One can’t be happy forever.
CHUL-SOO: What are you talking about?
SU-JIN: It’s all over. Think about it, what’s love good for if my memory is gone? Don’t be so nice to me. I’ll forget everything.
CHUL-SOO: I’ll remember everything for you. You know I’m smart. I passed the Architect test on the first try.
SU-JIN: You’re too confident. Life can be very cruel.
CHUL-SOO: You didn’t forget that.
SU-JIN: How could I? You’re so mean.
CHUL-SOO: (voice breaking because of tears) Don’t worry. There will be a cure.
SU-JIN: You cry baby! Have you lost your parents or your country? I’ll just leave. Please let me go okay.
CHUL-SOO: (grabs the baseball bat) Let’s play, let’s bet on it. Damn! Why are you crying? I said I’d remember everything for you. You know what, if you forget everything, I will pop up out of nowhere. Like this and I’ll flirt with you, you won’t be able to turn me down. We will start afresh every day. Like permanent dating, isn’t it wonderful?
SU-JIN: You are going to grow a goatee again? Let’s forget everything while we’re happy. I’ll forget everything soon. I won’t know why you’re with me. You’ll be gone out of my head. And so will I, you understand that? As my memory disappears, my soul will vanish too. I’m scared.
SU-JIN KNEELS AND CRIES AS CHUL-SOO WEEPS…
CHUL-SOO: Why would your soul be lost? Get up! Leave it to me. I’m your memory. I’m your heart. Do you understand? Don’t cry anymore.
They embrace and leave the place holding hands, unsure of what will become of them.
We see their house surrounded by post-it notes as Chul-soo writes another and as Su-jin browse at their wedding album picture.
He hands the pills on her hand while he confirms if she remembers their address, his name and her name. When she takes the pills, she jokingly says that she felt better already. Chul-soo goes to work hesitantly as we see an ID hanging on Su-jin’s neck. She reminds him to be home by 6pm, and when he forgets their plan for that night, she motions her pills which he might be needing because of not remembering his mother’s birthday
While preparing to cook a dish, Su-jin had another memory lapse. Someone knocks on the door and she sees her ex-boyfriend holding her box of things from work. He senses something wrong with Su-jin, and as he asks her if she’s okay, Chul-soo comes in. The ex-boyfriend tries to explain, but he punches him. Su-jin tries to stop the violence but cuts Chul-soo with the knife she’s holding. Even with a broken face, the ex-boyfriend boasts that Su-jin still cares for him that’s why she wants to go back to the days she was with him. Chul-soo becomes madder and continues hitting him just as their guests arrive and Su-jin faints.
The family learns of her condition, and Su-jin’s father offers to take care of her, but he politely refused. Just as they are arguing on who will take care of her, Su-jin walks in and pees in her night gown. Chul-soo rushes to her, closes the door and hugs her. He takes off his shirt as he wipes her pee while weeping silently.
After sending off their guests, Chul-soo goes to his work room to create a miniature house and cries in silence. In the morning, he showed it to Su-jin who smiles while staring at it. When he heads off to work, she calls him by her ex-lover’s name and tells him “I Love You”. He mutters he’ll be coming home early, and outside the front door, he sheds his tears again.
Chul-soo sees Su-jin’s doctor and informs him that she doesn’t recognize him anymore and that she looks straight in his eyes calling him by her ex-lover’s name. He worries her ex-lover is still in her heart that’s why she misses those days. The doctor advises him not to drown himself about it because her sickness makes her lose her recent memories first, and that he’s the only person who can be sure of who she really loves.
Su-jin walks around the house looking on the reminder notes and staring on her pictures with her husband. Then she notices Chul-soo’s things, and remembers him. She cries as the memory of their first meeting comes back in her mind.
Chul-soo comes home finding his wife not around. He sees a letter and reads it as he weeps…
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never meant to break your heart. What have I done? Are you crying now? I don’t want to see you crying or in pain. I wanted to make you happy. But all I have done is out you in agony. I love you Chul-soo. Don’t get me wrong. I only love you and only you. I only think of you. I only remember you. How badly do I wish to show you my heart! IS there any way I can do that while my memory remains? I, Kim Soo-jin love you Choi Chul-soo, only. I don’t want to forget that. I must not.
Can you see that? Can you feel my heart? I’m afraid my memory will leave again that’s why I have to tell you everything. I love you and I’m sorry. I met you because I was forgetful. I’m leaving you because I’m forgetful. You were the best thing that ever happened to me. How thankful I am to God for sending you as gift to me. I don’t have to remember you. You are a part of me. I smile, laugh and smell like you do. I might forget you, but nothing can drive you out of my body. Although you’ve never told me you loved me. I know deep in my heart that you love me. Forgive me for leaving you. For the last time I have a favor to ask please see my father.”
Chul-soo meets her father, and he hands him the Divorce papers which he just tear in frustration and sadness. His father-in-law urges him strongly not to waste what he worked hard to achieve and commands him to go back to work. (And here’s my last favorite scene in text)
CHUL-SOO: Do you know the saying…“Forgiving is just giving your hate a little room in your heart? She’s given me a lot. I have something to tell her before she forgets me completely. If I don’t, my life will be meaningless.
Chul-soo files for a “missing person” report for SU-jin. Missing her badly, he traces the wooden sculpture of her face while he looms in sadness.
Chul-soo plays in the batting range, and reliving his memory of her cheering for him he talks to her memory about not giving him a chance and her being inconsiderate of leaving him alone again.
Bunch of letters are in the mailbox when Chul-soo is about to leave their house. He checks on the mail and reads a letter coming from Su-jin. He travels on the road hoping he can see her for the last time as Su-jin reads the letter in the background.
She said she wrote the letter because she remembered him that day. She thought of writing as it might be the last time she will remember him. She bragged about remembering the measurement of mountains, being familiar with Santa Claus and Christmas, and equating it to him to stop worrying about her. She gave him permission to forget her so that he’ll get even with her and to date someone again and be happy. She reminded him that he’s not cute when he’s losing his temper. She thanked him for being a good husband to her and pleaded him not to look for her anymore.
He finally reaches his destination. He puts on some perfume and gets out of his truck. As he walks to Su-jin’s room, the nurse explains how life has been with Su-jin in the mental facility.
The nurse calls Su-jin’s attention while she is sketching something. Chul-soo stares at his wife as she stares back at him. She stands up, and her drawing book falls. He picks it up and sees his many faces drawn on its pages. She thanks him when he gives the drawing book to her. He asks if she recognizes him, but she can’t remember him so he introduces himself to her.
While he observes her as she eats, Soo-jin faintly smells Chul-soo’s perfume and remembers knowing that perfume from her memory. She feels sad not being able to completely remembers it, and asks him why he was crying. He covers his eyes with shades and stares lovingly and painfully at her.
He begs for permission to take her on a trip, and accompanied by the nurse, Su-jins walks on the sidewalk across the convenience store they first met. She walks towards it and we see Chul-soo inside looking at her.
He opens the door, opens a can of coke, but she continues to enter the store. She sees her doctor, Chul-soo’s teacher and mother, and her family inside. She turns back to face Chul-soo and asks him if the place is heaven. He says yes and holding her hand, they take a ride.
He gives Su-jin her face sculpture as he says “I Love You”. She remembers him and throws her arms around him.
This movie sent me to tear-land when I first saw it, and while recapping it my heart was still moved. This is such a strong love story, the kind of love tale you’ll share your friend who has currently having inhibitions about love. Considering the premise involved “sickness” as a conflict, I think what made this movie so strong is because of the superb performance of the lead couple.
One of the few movies, I dearly keep in my heart. ^_^