Massaya's father is kicked out (along with his wife and child) of the Rattanamahasarn family for marrying her mother, who's believed to be a "low class" Malay woman. Both parents have passed away early she was brought up by her maternal grandfather.
Years later. Massaya grows up as a free spirited, boyish and a little crude woman. Head of Rattanamahasarn family (Massaya's grandmother) feeling sad and guilty about the past, orders her grandson Lak to bring back Massaya.
Massaya after coming back to Rattanamahasarn family feels like an outcast with overbearing rules, etiquette and a family who looks down on her. She can only feel comfortable with Lak; while she constantly faces bullying from her cousins and their mother. Add Synopsis In Spanish
Cast & Credits
Second point, I was watching this and then became distracted with Andrew Gregson's 1999's version --- which I loved....At this end of this review---I will make a short comparison reference between them. I didn't see the 1985 version.
Third point, I give long reviews without any spoilers. I will bold important sections you might want to skip too.
This story is great.
The story on the surface is banal. You have a tyrannical, matriarchal figure with a classist mentality which feeds various veins of destruction. She doesn't learn from her behaviour and it's circular; her actions rewrites itself in history until it comes to a head full circle.
Grandmama Queen had three children. Two of which are blood and an adopted son, and this is where everything begins. All three children have children of their own---she managed to control the lives of all two of the three---adoptee escaped; but it seems to purgatory. The sins of the father are the sins of the child in this case and hence we have a circular story.
However, this is where it becomes fascinating if you pay attention to the story without distractions. You have nothing to bother for 34 for hours (2 hours per ep). I see why the story was pushed back to the 1950s rather than keep it to present day. It's far more fitting. Children are far more willing to rebel today than in the past.
The fear, guilt, and power an elder can wield on a child (even if they are an adult) is magnificent in the cruelest way. The social classism is frightening in its significance. I know it's real past and present; however it's perpetuated within a family dynamic. Resulting in a cyclical perverse of Luk's love for Massaya. He's made to feel his love is either dirty, destructive, or unattainable. Then he has it, tries to fight for fight for it...then someone is so severely affected by it he thinks it is one of those things. He's in a catch-22. Massaya is an innocent who doesn't really understand is continuously hurt by his actions are inexplicable.
There is also an implicit religious discrimination that is fascinating. I was impressed by not only that they included this discrimination; but they added a historical and cultural aspect of Thailand I never knew existed. If you are knew to Massaya...then you will learn something. It was surprising to me.
The setting; it has that awkward century/decade dating. The summary says it should be the 1950s in Thailand however sometimes the clothing is not fitting the time period, the housing and decor, etc. At times, I'm waiting for a cell phone to pop out. The cars are hot.
There is something to see here and there is something that it offers.
I'll break down what the actors bring to the lead characters that make them impressionable.
Mookda as Massaya - Her first debut role. OMG. This girls scenes. She had me at her eyes. Her eyes. This is not really a spoiler, but she has this way of closing her eyes when Lak (Mick) says something into her ear. It's like what he's saying is hitting her heart. She can hold a scene and she can carry it. Therefore, I see Massaya and I understand her.
Mookda is a very petite woman. Tiny actually; so next to Mick she looks like a child. Mick looks like he's 30 and she looks 15. In reality they're around the same age.
Mick as Luk - Not his first debut. He's great as usual. I just worry about this boy being typecast. I like seeing him goofy at times. I like seeing him cry, I like seeing him hug her, I like seeing him dancing with Mookda. I like his moments of being drunk. He had a lot of diversity. I really liked him becoming angry. He was almost a bit two-dimensional in earlier episodes until he starts romantically seeing Massaya.
Mookda and Mick were delivering some serious love through their characters. Mookda was one of the first female Thai actresses I've seen where her character takes the initiative to show her man some love---where HE was surprised.
The actors had serious chemistry on and off screen. During my holiday break I saw this drama twice. I love it that much. Then I watched the 2000 version.
2000 vs. 2017 comparison
It's a strong toss up. As a note if we're looking for leads. Both are good for both time periods. I do feel that the 2000 story was great in the early episodes because it gave a better look at what Thailand had to offer as a country that I never knew. Therefore, not only was there a story, there was a history. Yeah, I became a tourist and it was fun. I felt the lead actress, Ford, was given a chance to give us better access into Massaya's Thai-Malay background (which I believe the lead actually does have).
While, unfortunately, I felt in the 2017 version the writers really lost a great opportunity build that into the story some more. I felt we lost a lot of the story on her mother which would have been great. We actually did get more on Massaya's mother's culture in the 2000 story than in the 2017. I would have loved to hear and see the full solo version of the Hitam Manis Malay song sung by Massaya in the 2000 that was lost in 2017---it was so beautifully done in 2000.
Even if Mookda couldn't sing she should have done it, just like in the 2000 version. It was so beautifully executed in the earlier version. Ford Buachompoo (2000's Massaya) obviously sung the original version of the song and it wasn't great but it was captivating and sweet. I loved Andrew's acting. Andrew was the best. He is a very natural actor. I felt he's a stronger and better actor than Mick.
I think I would have actually preferred his version of Luk in the 2017 during the 1950s time period with the 2000 time period mentality he executed. That would have made for some interesting storyline. Mick would have been FIRE! I felt that Mick...despite being great...I think I wanted this sort of cocky, flirty, but also protective and kind and very three-dimensional character/persona from the get-go that Andrew provided in the 2007 story. As I said, Mick was very two-dimensional early on, he didn't expand until later.
Luk ~ Andrew 2000 vs. Mick 2017---I'm giving it to Andrew 2000.
Massaya ~ Ford 2000 vs. Mookda 2017 ---- I'm giving it to Mookda 2017.
As you can see I raved about Mookda's acting and what she delivered. I raved about what Andrew delivered. I liked Ford, but she was whatever for me. Andrew owned the scenes each and every time, everywhere. Mookda and Mick had more chem than Andrew & Ford. So Mickda owned the screen. As I said, After watching 2000 I wanted Mick's Luk to be less the great self-righteous hero they made him out to be and a flirty guy added to his wishy-washy behaviour (the behaviour was because of his situation between love and duty).
I recommend both dramas. Andrew is so good. He's a great actor. He is on my fave list. I was never into him or Weir, until this winter break. He's brilliant.
The characters were all on point, and none of them were painted in a 1 dimensional light. They all had their good and bad points and there were situations that brought out both sides of people. Even the good aunt had bad points, and the bad aunt had good points - and they are all quite acknowledging about their faults when it is pointed out to them. Everyone were fully fleshed out characters here and got enough screen time. The writers for this must have been exceptional.
Controversially, my favourite characters would be Luk, Massaya, the bad aunt, and Pong. The main leads are my fav because they are so cute together and this story focuses mainly on the changing relationship between Massaya and Luk. Much more so than any other version. I watched precious versions in previous years and was always left dissatisfied because there wasn't enough romance. This one had the perfect balance of romance and family for me. (But maybe it has too much romance for other people? The main story is Luk and Massaya.)
I like the bad aunt over the good aunt because the bad aunt embraces her faults and goes along with it. Yet, deep inside, she loves deeply to a select few. She also sees others' faults and calls them out on it. She is a strong woman, and ans always, strong women are vilified by people around them. Granted, she didn't go about being 'strong' and truthful the correct way, but she was not afraid to call people out on their double standards no matter who they were. She also praised where praise was due.
Pong - I just understood him. He lived by his mom"s teaching, but knew when it was wrong, and he always did the right thing. His grandmother was his problem, as she was a problem for every single person in her family. Sometimes she reminded me of my own grandma, but my grandma gave up long ago on trying to control people - she knows she can't make young people do anything because we're too modern and wayward lol.
I like that this show was set in the past (maybe 1950s to 1970s) Characters like this would go about the situations in this story a totally different way in modern times. That is what makes this story so charming and sweet. I'd like to see a modern version, but I also know this story can"t really fly without being bratty and abrasive in modern times.
For Massaya, the character, some say she is immature and bratty. I don't see that. I see a young girl struggling at falling in love and fitting into the city life. She was also much more than the Ram... family thought she was, better educated etc. She did not expose herself because she was upset at their self- superiority, and unwillingness to learn about her. She struggled with being herself in a place that told her every way of life she knew before, was wrong. Even her grandma - maybe Massaya came to love her grandma, but she only stayed for Luk.
What I hated this show for - grandma tried to keep marrying everyone off. And the music was inappropriate at times.