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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "This Life Is Our First Life" Episode 6


The wedding goes through without incident. Hilariously, Se-hee and Ji-ho even manage to skip out their own reception. This wasn't pre-planned or anything, it's just that neither one of them actually needs to be there because as has been discussed frequently, the entire concept of a marriage ceremony is largely for the benefit of social appearances. The main important event that happens there is that the forced social interactions get Ho-rang and Woo-seok to cool down from their fight.

Now that's a great subplot. Right after we're done with Se-hee and Ji-ho getting into the nitty gritty of their entirely technically minded marriage contract, we get to see Ho-rang and Woo-seok discuss, first with their same gender friends and then with each other, what they think marriage is. Their answers are predictably at odds, but it's fascinating how in both cases, in completely different ways, romantic sentiment clouds their judgment. Ho-rang and Woo-seok see marriage as such an inherently love-based concept they're incapable of talking to each other about the practical issues.

Contrast that with how Se-hee and Ji-ho are so practical they don't think about emotion at all. Well, Ji-ho does at least. And this is the problem. Ji-ho keeps interpreting Se-hee's actions and speech in an overly sentimental light, failing to realize that as far as Se-hee is concerned, this is all still practical thinking. Eventually Ji-ho manages to cross a line so explicit that Se-hee has to talk to her about it- which very neatly sets up the next episode's conflict.

But as far as this episode is concerned there's still plenty else that's going on. We're already familiar with how Soo-ji endures sexism at the workplace- but this time, Song-goo is a witness. This leads to a fairly powerful conversation wherein they explicitly discuss the lines between workplace propriety and sexual harassment. They both make excellent points even as we can see how their judgment is clouded, since both are obviously rationalizing from a position of self-interest.

One of the greatest design elements of "This Life Is Our First Life" is how it's not just the big dramatic scenes between the three main couples. The constant interaction of the characters with each other just as friends discussing these same problems offers ample opportunity for us (and them) to reconsider their stated positions. If nothing else this works to emphasize just how complex these interpersonal problems are, and how resolving them is a constant negotiation.

Review by William Schwartz

"This Life Is Our First Life" is directed by Park Joon-hwa, written by Yoon Nan-joong and features Lee Min-ki, Jung So-min, Esom, Park Byung-eun, Kim Ga-eun, and Kim Min-suk.

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