[TW DRAMA] Autumn’s Concerto (2009)

warning: may contain spoilers

photos_15025_1451976419

Literally: Next stop, happiness..

Plot:

11506580_860478

Ren Guang Xi is a rich playboy whose mother is the dean of his school called Sheng De University. A law student who doesn’t take his studies seriously, he prefers accepting challenges from his friends. One is to kiss a girl within 24 hours and he found his new target named Liang Mu Cheng. Liang Mu Cheng grew up in a wealthy and decent family. However, one day her father’s business went bankrupt and he was killed in a car accident, so she and her stepmom had nothing left. They coincidentally met a man who later became her stepmom’s boyfriend and they lived together. They didn’t have a stable livelihood and they were just starting a catering service in Sheng De cafeteria. There were rumors that Mu Cheng goes out with several men and her innocent looks are just fake. Guang Xi determines to show her true colors. They met up and Mu Cheng was forced to go out on a date. When Guang Xi successfully kisses Mu Cheng within a day, he didn’t tell it to his friends and told them that he failed out of pity for Mu Cheng. Guang Xi then continued to meet up with her and see the goodness in her and ended up falling in love with her. One day, while Mu Cheng was waiting for Guang Xi at their usual place, her stepfather suddenly appeared and tried to rape her. Good thing, Guang Xi came back in time to rescue her. It wasn’t actually the first time wherein Mu Cheng felt scared, but she caught her stepfather peeping into her while she’s taking a bath at home. Guang Xi plans to take this to the court since Mu Cheng is being blamed. They opened a Truth Investigation Court in school and Guang Xi served as Mu Cheng’s lawyer. It was the first time to actually see Guang Xi working so hard and this helped her win the case. Later, Guang Xi found out that he has tumor in his brain and he has only about a month to live. Although he may be able to undergo surgery, the chance of survival is only 15%. There’s a new surgical procedure offered by He Yi Qian’s father that has higher chances of survival, and the only way to receive it is for Guang Xi to marry Yi Qian. He decides to leave Mu Cheng, not because he wants the procedure, but he felt a burden to her. Guang Xi’s mother was never fond of Mu Cheng. She persuaded Mu Cheng to leave him as it’s the only way to receive the procedure and she did. 6 years later, Guang Xi survived, but because of the side effects of the procedure, he doesn’t have any memory before his surgery. He’s now a successful lawyer and is getting married to Yi Qian soon. On the other hand, Mu Cheng is living a quiet life in Hua Tian village with his son named Xiao Le. Fate made them meet again as Guang Xi was assigned 240 hours of service in the same village as punishment for punching one of his clients on the face. Will Guang Xi remember his past with Mu Cheng as he meets him again after 6 years? Who is the mysterious kid living with Mu Cheng? How does Mu Cheng cope as a single mother?

D06EEB81-FB03-4798-BD24-548A226B87CD-800x600

Opinions:

Let’s be honest, amnesia, rich guy and poor girl, parents interfering, these plots are so overused and recycled in many many dramas. This may be our initial reaction upon hearing these, but you better think twice! I’ve been watching Korean dramas these recent years that I felt a slump; I no longer enjoy watching them because they’re repetitive and predictable. Finding out that I have not written a review, I decided to watch Autumn’s Concerto again. Amidst all those crime, medical, fantasy dramas, all I actually need is a simple love story which this drama offers. I remembered the first time that I watched this drama was when I coincidentally saw it airing on tv. It was the first episode and the plot was really interesting. I found myself anticipating every single week and couldn’t wait for Sunday to come. Even without a favorite actor, I still watched the show until the end. I also found my liking for melodramas through this show.

11506581_036200

The plot is very simple, yet touching. The two leads were very in love with each other, but because of some circumstances, they were separated. Both underwent a lot of hardships, but fate brought them back together again. The fate part sounds so fake, to be honest. How can you remember your feelings for your lover from 6 years ago, and completely dump your current lover? And the moment when all his memories came back, Guang Xi was mad at everyone who changed his memories. It was like someone wrote his life for him. I do understand why he’d be mad and want to revenge. I think the big difference was having a child that he didn’t know of, so he just want to be a good father to Xiao Le. I think the story and character developments were justified. And even if there were slightly annoying elements in the drama, they were all forgivable. Sometimes, we don’t need stories that are hard to interpret, or even superpower elements to make a drama work. Sometimes, all we need is a sincere story that tugs at our heartstrings.

11506576_948027

21 episodes seemed a bit long for a drama, but I didn’t feel it was draggy in any part of the series. I think the wonderful storytelling of 6 years ago helped a lot. Also, there’s actually something going on in every episode. Most of the scenes were necessary and not filler episodes. The flow of the storyline was smooth and I just love every single character in the story. I just hated the part when Guang Xi kept on getting mad and Mu Cheng getting misunderstood. Nonetheless, The dialogues were very meaningful and touching as well as the background music so the combination was perfect. Watching this for the third time, I realized a few things that I didn’t notice before. Like how the opening of each episode was filmed like a music video, and the rest of the drama felt like a movie. And it wasn’t a rom-com, but real pure drama. And the villagers speaking in Taiwanese dialect adds comedic elements to the drama, and in a way to attract older generations to watch this drama too. This drama really set the bar high as it’s so rare to find Taiwanese idol dramas as beautiful as this. And I realized that watching this in 2009 and 2017, it doesn’t make a big difference. Proves how classic the story is. I also realized the goodness in both second lead characters; that they weren’t bad at all. And if it wasn’t fate that pulled the two leads together, the second leads could have a chance to make their one sided love mutual.

163_15498_554925

The chemistry is wow. At first glance, I wouldn’t think that Vanness and Yi Xuan will have that spark. Yi Xuan is darker than Vanness which is quite weird in Asian standards, but I’m glad it wasn’t that obvious in the show. They look so good together onscreen even though offscreen say otherwise. They both said that they are not each other’s ideal types, and they are just “brothers”. No one could’ve predicted that these two will have great chemistry. Their kissing and bed scenes were so natural and with Xiao Le’s addition, they just looked like a real happy family. I would want them to work again and reunite in another drama maybe after 10 years?! I do hope so. Other than the main couple, I also found Gary and Boss’s tandem funny, grandma and Xiao Le’s dialogue exchanges touching, and Xiao Le and Tang Tang’s scenes cute. There are probably characters that we hate at a certain point in the drama, but their actions were justified. I also felt the closeness of the cast and staff on set. Believe me, I watched all behind the scenes that I could find in youtube, and they were all so fun to watch.

php8gLbC8

Characters:

U4100P28T3D2703873F328DT20090918112621

Van Ness Wu Jian Hao as Ren Guang Xi — I still remembered Vanness in F4. He wasn’t exactly my favorite, but somewhere between second or third. (Vic was my favorite!) I know, he’s not the best actor out there and he’s ABC so Mandarin isn’t his first language. Memorizing lines of a lawyer is a big headache, but I’m so proud of him that he successfully filmed all those scenes. It’s also thanks to the director for shooting those scenes line per line. I must say that the director really brought out the best in Vanness. I actually fell for his character during my second/third time watching this drama, and became a little fan of his. I actually like him better when he portrayed his character six years ago, than the present one, which is weird since the flashbacks were filmed earlier and shouldn’t he get better and not worse? When his memories came back, his facial expressions were always furious and he sometimes over exaggerates his eyebrows. Nonetheless, he really fits the role and I think this is his best hairstyle and look in his entire career. His face is not really a standard handsome face that everyone will like, but he gives off a cute and charismatic vibe with this role.

rsq0004so38o71pp009

Ady An Yi Xuan as Liang Mu Cheng — Prior to this drama, I’ve never really seen her in other shows. It’s because she films in China most of the time and she doesn’t film idol dramas. At first glance, I thought that she’s really kind and innocent looking. Her tone of speech is really soft and her features is suitable for the role. I really admired her the first time I watched this drama especially her crying scenes. She could cry so easily and it was so moving. After watching the behind the scenes, I realized that Liang Mu Cheng, the role and Yi Xuan in real life are complete opposites. She’s actually quite boyish and loud, and I didn’t expect that from her. Still, there’s this elegance and aura in her whenever she acts. I really like her portrayal and she was natural most of the time.

B8E56BF2-07D6-4FCD-A873-BB125495A9DB-800x600

Chris Wu Kang Ren as Hua Tuo Ye — One of the rare times wherein I don’t like the second male lead for the female lead. I thought that there’s a big difference between Kang Ren and Vanness visually, so I wasn’t really attracted to him. And the character itself wasn’t appealing, so I wasn’t rooting for him at all. I just felt bad for him throughout the drama since Mu Cheng never loved him and only treated him as a friend from the start. I think it was during my third watch that I realized he wasn’t that bad after all. He’s still there for Mu Cheng and Xiao Le despite everything else had happened. And even if Guang Xi came back, he still protected Mu Cheng. I think Kang Ren’s acting was also not bad, and I think even better than Vanness. I heard that Kang Ren actually won Best Actor and was nominated a few times already in his recent dramas. Now, this is really an actor who worked from bottom to top.

16

Ann Hsu Wei Ning as He Yi Quan — She’s beautiful and has Western features, she and Vanness actually looked great together. I think she’s a great supporting character who really supports Ren Guang Xi. Although I thought it was wrong to lie to Guang Xi, I felt pity for the character since Yi Quan was such a kind person. Usually, we see second female leads who has a strong personality, but in this case, both girls have soft personalities. I think the character was a bit laid-back since her relationship with Guang Xi ended abruptly, just like that. She respects Guang Xi’s decision since she knows she’s at fault too. But if I were her, I would fight for it since six years is such a long time already. Anyway, Wei Ning is really lovely in here and she did justice to the character.

11167432138158015157

Xiao Xiao Bin as Liang Xiao Le —  Although this isn’t his first drama, it’s the one that boosted his popularity. I really thought that this was his cutest era. He was younger in Down With Love and he was older in his movie with Vic Zhou, so his age was perfect here in Autumn’s Concerto. I thought that the character itself was very mature and lovable so he was well received by the casts and the audience, but it’s all thanks to this gifted child that’s he’s able to memorize his lines at such a young age. Genetics play a big part I think, since his father was also a child actor when he’s young. His facial expressions are all on point and his lines were so clever and touching for a 5 year old kid. I think his appearance contributed to the success of the drama. If it wasn’t such a bright kid, I think the impact would be less. It’s just sad that his popularity didn’t last long and I don’t think he’s still acting now. He’s past the age of being cute, but I hope when he grows older, he tries acting again since he had a lot of potential.

image.axd

Ending:

The ending was quite rushed since the last episode aired for 30 minutes only.  Mu Cheng and and all of us thought that Guang Xi wanted to divorce with her, but actually he doesn’t want. He still loves Mu Cheng. The fake kidnapping of Xiao Le sounds so forced, but it was a way for the two leads to fix their misunderstandings and get back together. Guang Xi and his mom’s relationship was also cleared of misunderstandings as he found out that it was actually his father who two-timed and not his mom. The mother also felt affectionate for Xiao Le, so she finally gave blessings to Mu Cheng and Guang Xi. Tuo Ye and Chi Xin’s ending was also good as they were cleared of all charges and Chi Xin’s mental health was back to normal. The final scene of the three was just so heartwarming, I can’t help but smile from ear to ear. It was a simple happy ending, no need for a grand wedding. The drama taught us that happiness can be attained through simple things, like being with people we love and care for.

d1e725556df8484bb017f4bb9d884ea5

Final Thoughts:

Years passed but Autumn’s Concerto will always be my favorite Taiwanese drama. A mix of joy, laughter and tears combined with great music, casts and writing and director, it’s so hard to find another Taiwanese drama that would surpass this. I still feel mad that this drama didn’t receive any nomination or award in the annual Golden Bell Awards. Such a perfectly crafted drama, all I can say is why!? But as a drama lover, I realize that these awards doesn’t prove one’s skills. I recommend this to anyone looking for a serious timeless romantic drama. Even if you watch it after 10 years, it still remains a classic.

 Rating: 10/10

U1702P28T3D2743577F326DT20091025105508

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. dennyjean
    May 07, 2018 @ 12:40:31

    I cried watching Autumn’s Concerto. It was such a classic gem. And you’re right about the Korean dramas. They can produce great dramas with outstanding visuals but most of them are actually repetitive when it comes to content. I think Taiwanese dramas are really underrated. They could deliver such amazing and heart-rending stories better than dramas from other countries. In fact, most of the classics that I grew up with are Taiwanese dramas. And I really hope a lot more viewers would delve into it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: