Last updated on January 25th, 2022 at 07:31 am
5) A Love So Beautiful 致我们单纯的小美好
2017 was a great year for dramas. Not only did one of my favourite all-time dramas called Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom came out that year but there’s also another really good drama called A Love So Beautiful.
A Love So Beautiful is a coming-of-age, school romance. Shen Yue (沈月) plays the leading lady, Chen Xiao Xi. She has a hardcore crush on Jiang Chen, played by Hu Yi Tian (胡一天). Jiang Chen is an aloof, popular, and smart guy who happens to be Chen Xiao Xi’s next-door neighbour and classmate.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. When I first heard about the drama, I remember thinking ‘Oh no. Not ANOTHER school drama.’ Unless done correctly, I find a lot of them super cheesy and unlikeable. I forgot about it for a while but the drama kept popping up on recommended videos on YouTube. On a whim, I watched the trailer. From that short video, I was interested in seeing how the actress would flesh out the character.
I’m so glad I gave this drama a chance. Shen Yue is the perfect choice for Chen Xiao Xi. She is clumsy, dorky, foolish, and bubbly. She was determined and didn’t give up even when she was rejected by him. There were many moments I experienced second-hand embarrassment on her behalf. She’s quite the romance. It’s funny. I really believed that Shen Yue was Chen Xiao Xi and that’s good acting! Shen Yue also has the look of a girl next door. I loved her friendship with Jing Xiao, played by Wang Zi Wei (王梓薇). Girl best friends are extremely important and not talked about enough. They leaned on each other on tough times and showed how heartwarming friendship can be.
Hu Yi Tian’s character, Jiang Chen is the complete opposite of Chen Xiao Xi. He’s soft-spoken, not vocally expressive and does well academically in school. I really like his character but I don’t think his character needed to act much. The acting fell on Shen Yue’s shoulder more. As rookie actors though, they did very well. When he started to warm up to her, there were many heart fluttering moments. I love the moments where he got jealous or his hidden smiles. Their height difference is extremely cute. Shen Yue is 160cm (5’3) and Hu Yi Tian is 188cm (6’3). Hu Yi Tian is so tall that he looks kind of awkward sometimes.
I LIVED for the small moments between the two of them. Being a secret romantic (my best friend says otherwise), I love grand gestures in dramas but I also appreciate the little romantic gestures. In dramas where the male lead comes from money, there will be these over the top gestures to show their love for their female lead. It’s nice to watch but impractical. Jiang Chen and Chen Xiao Xi’s romantic moments seemed more realistic because it was easy to imagine those things happening to you.
When there are episodes that skip over to a few years later, I always laugh at how ridiculous characters look after the time jump. What’s up with Shen Yue’s hair in this drama? Her hairstyle before and after the time jump wasn’t flattering on her. How is any actress supposed to pull it off? I do admit that her bowl cut hairstyle adds to the dorkiness factor. I have nothing to say about Hu Yi Tian’s character. He looks the same before and after the time jump.
In terms of character development, Chen Xiao Xi definitely matured later on the drama. I especially enjoyed watching the parts where she finally stops chasing him and he chases HER. About time! It’s only fair that way, right? Haha. Jiang Chen was so used to Chen Xiao Xi taking the initiative then when the tables were turned, he was clueless about what to do. A very memorable scene was when he had to lay out all his cards on the table to get her back. EEEEKKKK!
The epilogue showed scenes from Jiang Chen’s perspective and that was amazing! A lot of dramas only focus on the female perspective with glimpses of the male perspective. It was refreshing to watch scenes from his point of view. I only wish it was longer.
I was watching Shen Yue and Hu Yi Tian’s interviews. They were basically playing themselves. Shen Yue seems like a bubbly girl next door, like Chen Xiao Xi. On the other hand, in Hu Yi Tian’s interviews, you can tell that he doesn’t talk much and is more aloof. Again, he seems like his character in the drama. Perfect casting!
I’ve noticed that I don’t like the OST in lighthearted dramas. I didn’t like the music in this drama, Romance of Tiger and Rose, and Legend of Yunxi very much. Don’t get me wrong. I really like the following dramas or else I wouldn’t include them in my top recommended Chinese dramas. However, their music never appealed to me as much. I guess I like slower and sad songs in more serious romance dramas.
A Love So Beautiful shares a lot of similarities with It Started with a Kiss, a drama which aired back in 2005. If you like the bright optimistic girl falling for cold guy type of drama, here are two dramas for you!
I don’t remember the last time I was this into a youth drama. They’re soo overdone and usually, I agree but this one is different. I promise! It’s a wholesome drama that is also an easy watch with only 24 episodes.
Dance of the Sky Empire is another relatively simple drama but it’s in a historical setting.
6) Ashes of Love 香蜜沉沉烬如霜
This romance drama is about how the main female lead, Jin Mi can’t feed any romantic love (hint: it’s like the Love and Redemption female character) because her dying mother foresaw that her daughter was going to go through a love trial so she fed her a pill. This causes a problem when she meets her love interest, Xu Feng who is the second prince of the heavenly realm.
When I watch the first episode, my first impression of the drama was that it was going to be funny because the female lead was so clueless. How much romance can the drama have when she’s like that? Lol. I didn’t watch the drama right away when it aired so I saw reviews online (I don’t mind spoilers at all). I knew it was going to be an emotional roller coaster. It made me anxious because I knew all the light-hearted moments were going to end soon before the drama takes a dark turn.
I understand that due to Jin Mi’s upbringing and her love pill that she wasn’t to return Xu Feng’s affections so soon. However, it became increasingly frustrating after a while. Honestly, I thought her character was annoying in the beginning. Jin Mi starts off being naïve and sheltered to the point I wasn’t buying it. I don’t think it’s Yang Zi’s (杨紫) acting, who plays Jin Mi, but rather the way the character is written. I remember thinking that if her character is going to keep being like this, I might as well stop watching. I’m glad I stuck it out because her character had a 180° turn.
Even after her character development, Yang Zi’s acting didn’t move me even her crying scenes. I felt rather indifferent to her acting. She went from being dense and ignorant to being absolutely heartbroken to being determined to do whatever it takes to make up for her mistake. Yang Zi had a hard character to pull off, I’ll give her that. I heard that the first choice was Guan Xiao Tong (关晓彤)? I would have been interested to see how another actress would portray this character. One thing is for sure, you need acting chops to pull off this character and I’m doubtful Yang Zi’s acting is fully there yet.
Now for our male lead, Deng Lun (邓伦)! He is the definition of romance. Before Ding Yu Xi, my previous favourite male actor was Deng Lun. I adored his character. Deng Lun’s character, Xu Feng is proud and arrogant but soft and protective towards Jin Mi. Don’t we all love it when the male character shows a side of himself that only the female lead can see? He fell in love with her, completely smitten very early on. He was also in tune with his feelings. Deng Lun’s lines made me squeal.
There’s something so attractive about a guy being protective of the female lead. In many dramas, the male lead often says subtle things to the female lead who doesn’t get his underlying meaning behind his words. I love those kinds of scenes and there were quite a few of those. I LOVED the part when Xu Feng and Jin Mi were going through their mortal trial. As an audience member, it was a pleasure watching a redo of their storyline as mortals. Great chemistry together.
There is one particular song that swept me away. The song is called 不染. The artist, Mao Bu Yi sang with such emotions that you can’t help but feel the song deeply in your heart. It is a song I continue listening to this day and will be going forward.
There were a lot of filler episodes. I don’t care for subplots much (unless it was Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom) and fast-forwarded the scenes with Liu Ying and Muci, our second leads. It as a distraction from the main couple and wasn’t that interested in them. I was too excited to keep watching Xu Feng and Jin Mi’s that I couldn’t focus on another couple, to be honest.
I cannot forget about the actor, Luo Yun Xi (罗云熙)! These actors were practically all new faces to me but he stood out from the bunch. This guy is so talented in acting! He has expressive eyes. It’s no wonder he got so much praise for this role. He has a delicate feel to him which is exactly needed for his character as Run Yu. He went from being kind and gentle to vengeful. You can’t help but pity his character.
Let’s be real. Most of the time, you need good looks to be a leading man and Luo Yun Xi has it all. Luo Yun Xi gained a lot of fans after this show, including me. I was rooting for him to be a leading actor in a drama where he FINALLY gets the girl. Two years later, it happened.
Three actors from Ashes of Love are in a new drama called And The Winner is Love. The romance drama stars Luo Yun Xi, Chen Yuqi (陈钰琪), and Zou Ting Wei (鄒廷威), who played Liu Ying and Muci respectively. It isn’t a sequel because they play completely different characters but if you want to see a mini-reunion of Ashes of Love, here’s your chance! It’s somewhat weird watching a romance form between these two after watching Ashes of Love.
Okay back to the Ashes of Love. The production team went full out. I could tell they had a huge budget judging by their scenic backgrounds and costumes. It was so beautiful that I had to pause the drama a few times just to take in how visually appealing the set was. It must have taken so much time for the team to set everything up.
According to BTS (behind the scenes, not the boy group. Haha) on YouTube, the set was at 56°C. My god, how can the actors even act as that temperature? Wouldn’t they be sweating nonstop? How did their makeup not melt off? Good camera angles, I guess. Everyone’s hard work paid off because look at how successful the drama ended up being!
The romance drama will take an emotional toll on you and takes commitment to finish. Out of my entire list, this is the longest one with 63 episodes but there is a reason why this drama is one of my favourites. I would recommend highly recommend this drama!
Part 4 out next week!