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Completed
Lighter & Princess
65 people found this review helpful
Dec 16, 2022
36 of 36 episodes seen
Completed 11
Overall 6.5
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 1.5

Fantastic couple, wasted on immature writing

This entire show can be summarized as the power of one woman's obsessive love and sacrifice.

Pros:
1. Fantastic chemistry. Really top-notch acting from both leads. they suit each other. especially Zhang Jingyi. I can feel her yearning, her boundless love, every time she looks at him. Their romantic moments seemed so visceral and raw, it almost felt voyeuristic.
2. Beautiful music and the editing really emphasizes it. The songs were placed with much thought and really heightened every scene.
3. Well-written villain (Gao Jianhong) for most of the show I heavily empathized with his feelings of insecurity, shame, anger and despair. He was indeed mistreated by the male lead and sometimes female lead too. Some of his actions are not justifiable but you can really understand why he became the way he did which I think is important in these revenge stories

Cons:

1. We, as the audience are aware who the main lead is but in this show all the characters also act like Li Xun is the male lead. It's like he has the protagonist halo. The supporting characters all behave as if they know they're just extras. It doesn't matter that Li Xun is rude, cruel and arrogant. He can yell at his friends. He can yell at his colleagues. He can humiliate them in public and they just sigh and say 'oh well thats Li Xun for you' 'hes smart and handsome so he can do and say whatever he wants'. It was so unrealistic. Nobody in real life is that passive or accepting of terrible behavior no matter how smart the other person is.

2. The way their relationship and ml and fl character arcs are written is so particularly infuriating. Straight-A student Zhu Yun who is perhaps tiring of her parents' controlling nature meets arrogant, brilliant, mysterious and carefree Li Xun as freshmen in University. She is somewhat fascinated by him but mostly they get on each other's nerves. But she acknowledges his genius and they fall in love as they work together. Ever since their partnership in the programming base, Zhu Yun is particularly loyal to Li Xun. She stands resolutely with him no matter how rude or cruel he is to her friends coz ultimately he is right and they are wrong, he is smarter and better than them so she and all their friends need to be accommodating of his cruel brilliance. She's probably the only one in the show to even try to confront him but rather than confrontation it's more of a compromise. She ends up agreeing with him anyway or justifying his actions. They begin a romantic relationship coz she chases him and swears she will forever be unrelentingly supportive and kind and submissive. Then he goes to prison. You'd think their characters or relationships would change after this huge shift but no. she's still blindly sacrificial and supportive and giving while he teases, insults, sneers and is at best detached. When they finally get together it's not a happy moment coz I didn't feel for one second that he loves her as much as she loves him. All the sacrifices, all the adjustments, and all the pain in this relationship have been borne by her. He gives nothing but he takes endlessly. The development to their reunion is shoddy at best. Once again they get together coz she pursues him. They don't even have one real conversation despite having gone through so many traumatic changes.. Everything is swept under the rug to tie the endgame up in a nice, pretty bow. The audience is still left with the feeling that they know as much about Li Xun as they did in the first episode and he still is that arrogant college freshman. You're left feeling something akin to pity for Zhu Yun coz you know for the rest of her life she alone will be bearing all the responsibilities and the emotional weight of their relationship.

Perhaps I am in the minority but alas I could not enjoy an unequal relationship where all the burden of the sacrifice and the fate of the relationship is solely on the female lead.

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Completed
Queen of Tears
35 people found this review helpful
Apr 28, 2024
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 4
Overall 6.5
Story 2.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 1.5
This review may contain spoilers

When you try to be too many things and end up being nothing.

Queen of Tears is a show that is trying to do it all. It wants to be a complex story about a dying marriage. It wants to investigate the fragility of mortality. it wants to look into twisted messy familial relationships. It wants to explore the tragedy of losing your children. It wants to be a thrilling chabeol game of thrones. It wants to be documentary about toxic unrequited love from an obsessive villainous male lead. The end product is a sopping misshapen mess that manages to be none of the above .

It claims to be a journey of a married couple at odds finding their way back to each other (but the male lead spent half the show trying to divorce the female lead or hoping she dies) it attempts to be a meaningful essay on death and sickness (but haein's illness seems to be an afterthought half the time, merely a plot device to remind the people around her that she exists and that shes human and that she deserves to be loved) it takes multiple sloppy shots at trying to play the inheritance games (but the chabeols you're supposed to root for are so stupid and pathetic you feel no sympathy for them when they get taken for all they're worth) The messy familial dynamics fall flat as we watch a mom very unreasonably neglect and villainize her 10-year-old kid over the apparent murder of her other child. It tries to skim over the terrible topic of miscarrying your child into a mere oddly placed 10 minutes.

The show is its own worst enemy. it stages an effective angsty scene between the leads about the difficult choices u need to make when ur ill and then undercuts it in the editing room by immediately following it up with an oddly placed flirtatious and humorous scene. It tries to impress upon us the terror of yoon eunsong's controlling, manipulative ways and immediately follows it up with Haein freely stalking her apparently abusive lying cheating ex-husband with a smile on her face. some shows are capable of maintaining a light tone while speaking about heavy topics and still pay them the respect and significance they are owed [refer: oh no here comes trouble] but queen of tears is not one of them. Rather than a show that uses comedy cleverly as a way of bringing to light its complex subject matter, it comes across as a jarring whiplash of moments thrown together by two different editing teams who were given two very different instructions.

This is a show that tries to tell more than show. They want to tell you that these people love each other but when you think upon it for more than two seconds you start wondering why they fell in love, why they fell out of it, why the miscarriage that got 8 minutes of screentime tore them apart so viciously that the husband began to wish his wife would die and her terminal illness would make her more likely to leave him with some soft cash to fall back on. On the surface level, it's all there, Hyun Woo's self-centeredness, and Haein's inability to communicate her emotions but it's too little too late for the depth of the melodrama they plunge us into.

Despite Kim Jiwon's and Kim Soohyun's stellar performances, you exit the couple's showdowns thinking "damn is it really that deep?" and that's where a romance drama fails for me, it fails if I think the romance is too soppy coz that means that the foundation or crust of the writing is too weak to hold the decadence and the intensity of the acting job.

Queen of Tears ends it's run tonight as a show that tried to do too many things and ended up doing none of it satisfactorily. Rather than introduce terminal illness, scheming villains trying to usurp wealth, and obsessive friends from college they should have delivered on the one thing they promised, a married couple at odds finding their way back to each other. If only they had stripped down the additional dressing and focused on the messy terrible marriage of Hyun Woo and Haein and their respective and combined issues and how they overcame it without the unnecessary roadblocks like amnesia and evil second male leads, maybe it could have been worthy of the acting performances of the leads.

if you want to watch a messy married couple falling back in love its better to watch hits like flower of evil or go back couple coz this one was just disappointing.

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Completed
I Belonged to Your World
5 people found this review helpful
Mar 17, 2023
20 of 20 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 4.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
This review may contain spoilers

All love is the world is for reunion. Only the love between parents and children is for separation


Pros:
1. The cast:
- Liu Yitong as the dedicated and filial sacrificial Qi Shou who perfectly struck the balance of loveable but tragic. A desperate son fighting a war in which his mother can only win if he loses.
- Judy Qi as Qi Yue. split between two timelines. an imperfect but loving mother that raises the perfect son in one timeline and a young ditzy lonely teenager who yearns for familial affection in another timeline. she is sweet, bold, feisty, stupid, kind, and loving all in one. she was fun to watch and struck the right emotional notes in many scenes
- Wu Di Fei as Lu Xiao, a nerdy gentleman who Qi Shou has chosen as his father's replacement and his mother's future husband

2. The relationship dynamics
- Qi Shou and Qi Yue: one of the most refreshing, funny, heart-wrenching mom-son duos in c-ent. Qi Yue is estranged from her family and living alone even though she is just a teenager. She is clearly yearning for familial affection. she has nobody. that is when she bumps into a grown man who claims he is her son from the future. Pushing through initial denial and awkwardness, the two embrace their roles as mother and son. most of the scenes have a touch of refreshing whimsy as we watch a man in his mid 20s casually calling a teenage girl his mother. Through a series of flashbacks we see that even tho Qi Yue was considered an incompetent and unreasonable woman by many, she loved her son to death and poured all the love and care she could give to raise him. Even tho she was suffering through an abusive marriage she puts it aside and chooses to spend her life on loving her son. She raises a great son who in turn goes back in time and raises her into the kind of woman who can live a better life. Qi shou and Qi yue are stuck in a loop where both are simultaneously the child and the parent. its a complex and deep relationship that draws to a tragic and heart wrenching end coz Qi Yue's happiness comes at the cost of her dearest son's existence.
but regardless this mother-son relationship is the core, most significant relationship of this show and it is showed in the end where Qi yue begs her would have been abusive husband to marry her even tho she is married to someone else who she loves and is loved by because at the end of the day, her greatest love was not her husband or her potential husband, it was her son.

- Qi Shou and Xu Zhaoyang: it is not a relationship that is explored as much as the relationship between the mother and son. for most of the show we are left guessing as to whether or not if xu zhaoyang is the original father of qi shou and qi yue's original husband. in the beginning, the only interactions we see between the two is those of qi shou threatening his father to stay away from his mother and beating him up because while it hasnt happened in this world, in the world he comes from his father is abusive at worst and negligent at best. Lu xiao even notices that the bright and cheerful qi shou who is usually like his mother becomes uncharacteristically violent when it comes to xu zhaoyang. as qi shou draws closer to his father he finds out that his father was also a victim of domestic violence and like qi shou, he too was only a son trying to protect his mother from a terrible situation. we also find out that all the mischiefs xu zhaoyang does is only to protect and provide for his mother. but from the way qi shou is unfamiliar with xu zhaoyang's mother ie his paternal grandmother we can assume that she like qi yue also passed away early due to the stress and threat of constant violence
This really shakes up the foundation of Qi shou's relationship with xu zhaoyang as he now understands that perhaps his father as a victim perpetuated the same violence he faced onto him and qi yue. In one of the biggest character development moves, qi shou selflessly gives up his savings to help move xu zhaoyang and his mother out of their violent household. using this money xu zhaoyang is able to save himself and his mother and seems to have stopped all the exploitation he used to do like scam girls. perhaps being able to save himself and his mother from this violent situation has made him less likely to continue the toxic cycle of domestic abuse.

this way Qi shou not only changed his mother's life but also his father's life. he didnt only save his mother from an abusive situation he also saved his grandmother from the same. he saved two mothers with his sacrifice.

-Lu Xiao and Qi Yue: for most of the show i didnt get that invested in this relationship since it is not the main point of the show. Lu Xiao is kind of like an unsuspecting pawn that Qi Shou constantly manipulates into the right place at the right time so he can change his mother's fate. so some aspects of their relationship can come across as manufactured because it is. it is a relationship that did not originally exist in either Lu Xiao's or Qi Yue's life and in the initial scenes there is a calculated nature to Qi Yue approaching Lu Xiao coz originally she treated wooing Lu Xiao as the assignment her son has given her. but by the end you realize that Lu Xiao is probably the kindest and loving person coz even when he becomes aware of being manipulated at least to a certain extent to fix Qi Yue's life, even tho he is warned by his future self to not let qi shou change the past, he understands the depth of the love that causes Qi shou to even sacrifice himself for his mother. he chooses to validate qi shou's sacrifice and love and also chooses the real love and affection that has bloomed between him and qi yue. in the end even tho his pregnant wife is broken and begging someone else to marry her coz she cant deal with the grief of losing her son, lu xiao understands her and supports her.
we also get a few tidbits in the end from qi shou who reveals that lu xiao spent a lot of time caring for him and qi yue in his original timeline. it brings up a lot of questions like whether or not lu xiao originally liked qi yue but wasnt able to do anything about it coz of qi yue's marriage to xu zhaoyang. this makes qi shou's initially random decision to pair his mom up with her high school classmate a lot more meaningful. at the very least lu xiao and qi yue were friends. perhaps qi shou wanted to give them a chance to fall in love before his father made an entry and ruined his mom's life.

lu xiao you are NOT the father, nor are you the step father but you are the father who stepped up


Cons:

1. editing: truly horrible. its like this show was originally made to be a full length 24 ep show but for wtv reason iqiyi decides to run it as a 20 ep 35 min drama. its edited like a low budget mini drama with random cuts that makes the audience have to connect the dots coz it feels like entire scenes have been cut. sometimes even entire plot details are ignored and swept under the rug. like how lu xiao of the future was able to send young lu xiao a message warning him against qi shou changing the past. we dont see him get this message. we assume lu xiao ignores this message as he is moved by qi shou's filial piety and his romantic love for qi yue but its so bizarrely inserted and then ignored
2. lack of original timeline tidbits of qi yue qi shou and lu xiao. qi shou reveals that in the original timeline lu xiao is his professor and often took care of him and his mom. such scenes would have been a great addition to the show instead of qi shou simply saying it
3. logical issues: regular time travel plotholes like the grandfather paradox. also why qi yue never asks him why she has to woo lu xiao again if she is going to end up with him anyway, or why qi shou doesnt disappear till after the wedding even tho qi yue is already pregnant with lu xiao's son before the wedding. perhaps the last one was done for dramatic value but there are many moments when u think logically speaking qi yue should ask this question or be more suspicious about certain things.
4. ending- very obviously a censorship problem like mr bad and the day of becoming you. the ending is confusing and weird. although i have my theories this is honestly just a sad and tragic ending as expected

Overall it is a tragic, moving tale of a son crossing the bounds of time and space to rescue his mother from a terrible fate; even at the cost of his existence even though it is presented as a comedy.

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Completed
New Life Begins
1 people found this review helpful
Dec 12, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 6.5

Came for the arranged marriage trope, stayed for the feminism

Initially I only started this show because I like Bai Jing Ting and the romantic pairing in this fall in love after getting arranged married. But as I watched this I realized that the focus of the show wasn't on romance but rather on showing the beauty of female friendships which I really loved.

This show can somewhat be considered a harem drama because it focuses on the wives of princes. Many of them are married to the same man. harem dramas are synonymous with toxic relationships & women harming each other all in a bid to assert their position as the legitimate, head wife. But this is where new life begins flips the script.

Women in the show recognise that the system pits them against one another when really their circumstances are because of their husbands. They form strong bonds with each other, support and uplift one another. Their characters exist independently outside of the marriage. They're real people with personalities, thoughts, opinions, flaws, ambitions and with their female friends they achieve their dreams, they achieve the freedom they crave and live their lives as they please.

In these Palace dramas its common to see the princes be ambitious but their wives are often relegated to tertiary characters with no life of their own. But Li Wei, along with the other women have their own ambitions independent of their husband' political ambitions but ambitions that regardless impact the politics of the country in a meaningful way.


I really enjoyed the show and the characters and they will be dearly missed.

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Completed
Who Rules the World
1 people found this review helpful
Nov 21, 2022
40 of 40 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 2.0
This review may contain spoilers

Great idea- disappointing execution

Who rules the world in my mind will always remain as a drama that failed to live up to expectations and the potential it had. the foundation of the story was solid: two famous martial artists in the jianghu world that are actually secretly royalty bond as they engage in a game of thrones in a bid to see who will rule the world
unfortunately the writers failed to match up and deliver a coherent script. i will discuss the cons first and then talk about what i liked about the show

cons:
1. false marketing. i doubt its just me but this show was very much promoted as a wuxia show and the initial eps had all the makings of one as it was featuring two wuxia heroes one from a cultivating sect. however it quickly abandoned its classic wuxia settings for a palace political storyline. it went against expectations and jarred a lot of people including me.

2. the writers are obv not familiar with writing intriguing political conflict coz literally all of the politics in this is incoherent. random alliances, random wars, random resolutions. ofc there were a few fun but not necessarily well written political games like when heifengbaixi went undercover or feng ju's coup but the moments were few and far between

3. the latter half was just a mess of weird pacing, editing, ooc behavior of supporting characters, plot holes after plot holes. just a whole mess. langhua almost killing bai fengxi for no reason, huang chao's unnecessary proposal to bfx, how the trio finally managed to break into imperial capital even tho huang chao failed coz yu wuyuan was using innocent people as buffer to hold him at bay. ywy randomly finding out bai fengxi is feng xiyun. they elevated the scenes that didnt require an elevation and suppressed the reveals that required an elevation. so many logical fails throughout this show that even a watcher like me that likes to switch off my brain for entertainment couldn't stop noticing the plot holes

pros:
1. heifengbaixi: this ties in to the cons. the writers were unable to recognize their strengths ie, romance. since they are incapable of producing a thrilling political drama they should have done what theyre best at and given more space to romantic relationship between the two leads. cdramas rarely have this kinda couple that have no stupid misunderstandings, no third act breakup. this is one of the best heterosexual cps ever coz they're twin flames, equal in every way with a relationship built on mutual respect, tacit understanding and deep friendship.

2. yang yang and zhao lusi have great chemistry and work well off each other. with the script being a snooze, the main attraction of the show remains these two people. they fit their roles and theyre engaging to watch. i doubt anyone would continue this show past ep 20 if these two werent the leads

3. the budget was proved via set design and cinematography. everything looked really royal and the shots were really pretty

4. since i have lambasted the writers this entire review, i want to end it on a positive note and give them kudos for the one thing they did right: foreshadowing. right from the chess game with old taiyin the script already insinuated that feng lanxi would never be the ruler of the world. in the chess game machination when faced with the question of what all he can sacrifice he cut all the strings surrounding his life except one: bai fengxi. once again in the chess game with huang chao, he lost to him on purpose coz his priority will always be bai fengxi. this is what makes the love story at the core of wrtw such an admirable one coz as ambitious as feng lanxi is, his greatest ambition will always be to be by his lady love's side. so even tho the ending is a bittersweet one as he hands over his whole life's work and dreams and ambitions to huang chao and retires to spend what little time he has left with his wife, it is an understandable choice as he has always been telling us in very unsubtle subtext that his greatest dream is not the world, it is bai fengxi.

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Completed
Moonlight
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 7, 2021
36 of 36 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

A drama that makes you feel like you've LIVED through it.

The good: 1. Chu li's character sketch -when we first meet her i was foolish enough to make some snap judgments about her character based on her cutesy high pitched voice and fresh from the suburbs to the city innocent look but she's no maiden in need for rescue. We mustn't take her cutesy baby act at face value she's actually a fierce woman who can not take no for an answer and will work till she drops if its for something she believes in. She's also not perfect. She can be hot tempered, impulsive and even rude but she's loyal, kind and sensitive. Despite my original reservations and doubts about her being a cutesy but dumb female lead her character consistently impressed with wit and an iron will. They were able to give us a believable three dimensional character. Esther Yu was able to successfully portray this fiery but adorable young lady perfectly. 2. Ding yuxi's acting- the character of zhou chuan is not always loveable he's very much so a temperamental artist. He can be childish and frustrating but hes been a joy to watch because of Ding yuxi's enviable level of acting skill. He is always enjoyable to watch and all his emotional scenes always come across as very sincere. It was lovely to watch Zhou chuan grow up while watching this show. 3. The pacing - the drama is very quick paced and almost never boring. It always makes you want to click next episode button. The bad- 1. The romantic relationships - both main and second lead relationships take a lot of time to get established. This is likely because the drama is 36 eps and the writers feared if they got together too soon the audience would lose interest which I understand but the way they went about delaying the inevitable relationship between zhou chuan and chu li was stupid to me. Chu li gives zhou chuan multiple opportunities to confess but he coldly rejects every opportunity. He has loved no other girl before him so he has nothing to be that afraid of. Moreover he was the one who started liking her first. The drama doesn't give anything apart form some vague reason as to why zhou chuan doesn't want to start a relationship with chu li. 2. The main "villain" of the drama is deputy chief miao. He was almost cartoonish in the way he went about trying to destroy his own company just to ruin chu li's career. I admit she was rude to him several times but he's so vengeful against her it feels like she ruined his life or something. He just exists to hate her intensely for no good reason i guess. Apart from that I've no complaints about this show. I know some people including me must be wary about the 36 episode run for a modern drama but trust me it's totally worth it. Its not only easily enjoyable but memorable in a way a lot of rom coms aren't. I assure you you will miss them once you're done with the show. Happy watching!

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