匆匆那年/Back in Time is not particularly brilliant nor groundbreaking, I would not call it perfect, but I sat through the drama so enthralled in my nook and dare to count on it delivering a well-done hour every episode and it did, through and through. This might be the best coming of age romance last few years across all dramalands.
It is the execution retelling the same tried and true story that hits the sweet, bittersweet spot that evokes emotions like floodgates before I know it. I think the key to this sleeper hit, tiny webbie Cdrama is it never tries to take up more than it can chew, it focused on the task at hand presenting the story of these regular kids growing up, falling in love, falling out of love, without assuming the role of being THE seminal voice of the generation of CN 80ers. The drama does not budge on sacrificing the storytelling, its characters, to woo for affections. The characters need not be loveable, nor pawning for your care with stock eccentricities. They stay normal, ordinary, make their mistakes and there is no miraculous dramatic saves. But when they are fleshed out as is, un-compromised, they feel genuine, and my interest in them is not because they beg for my attention sticking out, but being true to themselves, and the drama true to its color. None of the acting bothers me, it may not be wowing but everyone does their job splendidly. I have to cut and paste the names of the leads being such unknowns: our heroine Fan Hui whom I am nursing a gaping hole in my heart by He HongShan, our Chen Xun by Yang Le, our let us love you Guy 2 by Bai JingTing, the supporting bff pairing is lovely, scene stealing and stole my heart. Du WeiHan, Cai JingWei delivered some very fine scenes too as the bffs always by his/her side. There are sweet, controlled, poignant use of music, never a note more than necessary, the cinematography is beautiful yet never loud, playing a supportive base to the story and character crooning the melody of the drama. There are subtle touches to paint a tone, the mood for a specific scene where characters are lit with nothing but shadows of blues, contrasting with the bright yellows, sunshine in the flashback as the song he composed, sang for her played, perfect for the emotional progression, cognizant to what you and I would do as her right then and there that took my breath and tears away.
My favorite scene in every way, that includes shattering my heart **SPOILER**:
She walks into their song in the air, bouquet in hand to surprise him, to his singing, ‘ ♪ My heart has an ideal heaven… ♪‘
‘ ♪I wish you can sing this song with me ♪…’
He is singing the song in a duet with the other girl, their song. Her world is lit in shadows and blues.
I am no longer your gf.
These are the last few minutes you will spend with me.
He dashes out, looking for her, she is at the far end, around the bend he just missed making.
She remembers her ideal world, back in time, with him. It was bright and yellow.
My fellow classmate Miss Fang Hui
( ♪and my Dearest girl ♪)
…It must be you (the one I will marry and spend the rest of my life with).
He said, a promise they both believed.
♪I wished you can sing this song with me. ♪
We etched our promise, I run my fingers over our name on the same tree still standing,
I will never let you be alone/lonely.
♪Back in time, that year, time flew, our hour and light. ♪
She smiled, at him, no more, that hour, her light.
He is calling her name over and over again, street lights showering on his white shirt in shadows in glares. She must have heard, his voice still, as their song plays in her heart,
♪back in time, my hair was not as long, ♪
♪we climb rooftops gazing at sunsets. ♪
She walks her dark deserted street, as if walking those corridors they did, she sees themselves vividly, she and he, strangers passing by, so close yet so far. She can scream and slumber at her spot, yet their past selves, in their uniforms, are unaware, time and worlds apart.
♪Beauty is the vision when you smile.♪
I still love him, why did he stop loving me?!
I have not changed, how did he?!
It’s all good.
He must have believed wholeheartedly his promise…
he must have felt impossible to carry through…
at the moment when uttered…
And the sweetest boy in her life re-enters, like her world is allowed to have warmth basking again.
This get my vote for best music in C/TW drama last year. The songs are not technically brilliant, performed by the actors themselves adding authenticity and heart. I have not heard of 朴树的《New Boy》 prior, but it did not shy from being effective. As the song rolls in first episode, it promptly takes me back on a journey to their time, their youth. This is exactly what a highschool boy would write for a crush and how he would sing it unabashed, fearlessly, only when back in time as an innocent boy in puppy love.
The kicker , this is 16 episodes. SHORTEST I have ever watched a Cdrama. You get the goods delivered in easily 1/3 of time spent, what a bargain! GO WATCH~!
何以笙箫默/Silent Separation/My Sunshine
First two episodes of this most anticipated C-rom adapted from a widely loved C novel are decent, true to novel and a bit flat. The music is so uninspired, the cinematography can use lots of moody fluffing up. I did not adore the novel to death but it was a simple well-written read I did not mind spending time lazing around with an afternoon. What I like about GuMan’s prose is, it is never showy, and I can see her thoughtful with her words, nothing is lazy, every word is there for a reason however trivial, not brilliant nor impressively witty, but very obvious she has put her mind to every detail, it makes as much sense as it is possible within the confines. What I do not care about GuMan are her story have no real hooks for me, they read like little ripples, some resonance, but left my heart not yearning more. Since I am not a rabid fan of the original novel, I do not have a heated preference for what exactly my MoSheng, Yichen must be or else blasphemy! I just need pretty (and my pretty usu deviate from rest of Cdrama watching fangirls lol) and pretty decent actors, who have guaranteed screen chemistry with each other, explosively too much perhaps, in order to sell this story because it played more along the playbook of a very nuanced/controlled J indie and to fit it in the louder, OTT C/TW idol romance mold, it needs that OTP swoony distraction. Wallace C is ok, has always been, and will never be my standard of drop dead gorgeous must!flail, but he is not a miscast per se. I just have a whole list of hotties in my manrem I’d rather droolz at, in a role so many can nail in their sleep, but that’s just me. I trust TangYan before seeing much of this through the grapevine (I stayed away from trailers etc, my peeve if I am going to watch it as a drama no matter, I will give the end product its deserving sole attention) and she did not disappoint me handling a much quieter ‘withdrawn’ role than her typecast. My initial impression, it was ok, that’s a relief…watchable for some angstier C-rom escapism that might be useful when I am in the mood.
Then GLORIOUS BURSTING OF MY SHOUJO HEART!!! I clicked on ep3 munching my chips after lunch yesterday, just to see how they can do the unthinkable of using younger unknowns for the OTP in a 7 year flashback in their college days, replacing extremely anticipated performances of the hardcore fans of WallaceC and TangTang, esp WC…I was going to wait and see and probably forget about drama if not for his diehards crying banshee spiting nasty vitriol spamming weibo, over the younger actor doing the unthinkable, robbing ANY second off WC from their screens!…and so nosybodyme have to check out how much fail a sacrilegious job the babies (actually 20sth actors looking authentically like kids in college) did! And both of them are shockingly naturally perfect for role. I like newcomer 罗云熙’s face more than WC’s, I just prefer sparkling larger globes emoting rather than squinting/constipating=acting in general. He is classically trained in ballet, with a very lanky 50ish kg ie about MY WEIGHT but close to 180cm way too skinny frame, befitting the hardworking serious YiChen poor boy who needs a scholarship in order to continue schooling or sth. 吴倩 is yet another fresh faced young C actress I need to keep an eye on. She is currently also appearing in the crappy DoMD as one of WXB’s sweet, pleasant wifey 沐剑屏. I repeat, BOTH the young actors are such comfortable fit, natural for their roles there really are no reasons for the fangirls to get panties twisted really. It is still playing along the cliched aloof smartypants dreamboat and the bubbly ordinary girl crushing him, there are little touches GuMan inserted to the tried and true, an extreme being Kotoko/Irie adage we can never get enough of, but with a nice execution, dreaminess. GuMan’s characters are much closer to normal in the bell curve. YiChen is typical good looking boy, top of his class, enough to attract fangirls, priority is studying, typical. Not typical to the cliche is he is never annoyingly rude to the nuisance that Mosheng could be, he is quite in touch with his emotions, not a dinosaur in the romance department, little happy smirks whenever he notices Mosheng’s pining are so cute.
Mosheng pines after him after her camera lens caught the gorgeous light of him, other than taking the initiative in pursuing him, she never pushes me to doubt having a functioning brain. I do not think GuMan writes polarizing heros/heroines for the angst of it, just a tad of exaggeration, sprinkles of shinier pretty dusts or smarts to fuel the fantasy. WallaceC and TangYan are squarely at my expectation, they are not perfect for role but very serviceable. I did not skip one heartbeat with their chemistry, it will never be what TY has with WallaceHuoHuo (and my eternal regret he is not YiChen instead because with this solid backbone a story, super hard to come by from the headdesky writerbrains ran over by multiple trains, TY/WH’s crazy chemistry can elevate the material which needs some lifting imo to be dramatized swoonworthily on screen) From my impression after 5 episodes, I am confident the story will play out fluidly as GuMan is attached with the scriptwriting chore, but I doubt it would ever leap into being squeeworthy addictive for me. It is a good watch and the surprise lies in I do not want the unknown young actors to stop appearing on my screen, replaced by their 7 years later counterpart. The directing is dated, but the progression is congruent, just not enhanced with dazzling gorgeousness dripping wallie material screen after screen, that is a bit disappointing, considering the general consensus nod on the gorgeous famous pair and how spunky and fresh the team’s last work, the very successful modern C romance (finally!) with ShanShan Comes Eat.
But yes my heart did flutter, and squees escaped me:
How is it your business she eats too expensive cakes?! And just your business to tilt your head cutely along hers in OTPsync.
A few taps of her fingers, he turns.
Do not follow me… *smile*
It is me (spreading the rumor my gf is Zhao MoSheng). If you are set to be my girlfriend three years later, why not exercise my right earlier?!
…Focus on your reading. *Keeping an eye on his gf daydreaming her life being more glorious than all the explosive beautiful fireworks in world.*
I don’t know why (I picked you as my gf) I have not thought it through thoroughly.
-Don’t! Never think too thoroughly!
-I will be the best girlfriend!
*smiles sweetly at her* Just be good.
Wristgrab…argh…discarding umbrella…GRABBY KISS!… all in a breath AFTER urging non-blood related in so much angsty fauxcest love with him sister to scurry off.
Give me three, four years, I will let you live comfortably.
Nothing… afterall I will remember.
I did not get you a present.
-Close your eyes.
MY SHOUJO HEART!
There is also this in store, I am not there yet and super spoilerish gifs:
see if this is your thing… kekeke.
IT IS NOT RIGHT TO BAIT ME WITH SONG FROM ❤PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS❤ PEEPS!!!
Oh and this has 杨玏/Yang Le, playing fast friend with MoSheng as her assistant who is cutely crushing unrelated sister of YiChen. I am seeing some facetwinning with myLoverboy YH, he is EVERYWHERE in (eg 大丈夫) things that piqued my interest, that is in decent dramas I can watch without shouty. He will appear in 锦绣缘华丽冒险/Cruel Romance next, the HXM/JoeChen Manguo vehicle that could be very gorgeous to look at, but insufferable to sit through because I know our pretty XiaoMing, when he is encouraged handsomely to preen and pose and be hot and bothering on screen, without fail guaranteed he will translate to me as hilariously and cringeworthy sleazy.
He also has our good old bickering hate>love chemistry with the Uni bff now a b8tchy actress.
Frankly, I want her!
Someone make him and YH be hot brothers, slashy fauxcest welcomed, PLEASE! When he smiles he shows his young age of mid 20s, with cute pokey dimps, but when he doesn’t, he can look much older and less idolpretty than my Loverboy…I guess that can be groomed as versatility. He has a famous actor Dad and big deal backers HuaYi, on top of being quite talented in his own right, keep an eye on him, boy can go far.