Also known as "The Fairytale of Autumn" and "Autumn in my
# of Episodes: 20
Theme Song: Reason (Autumn's Tale) - piano
(Although I watched this series in Korean and read the Chinese subtitles, I have no clue how to spell the characters' names in Korean, so I'll use the Chinese translations for the characters)
Song Seung Hun as Jin Xi (Cantonese: Jeun Hei)
Wong Bin as Tai Xi (Cantonese: Tai Chi)
Song Hye Kyo as En Xi (Cantonese: Yunn Hei)
Xin Ai (Cantonese: Sum Ngoi)
Mama and Papa Wun
Yin Xi's biological mother
En Xi and Jin Xi grew up believing they were blood siblings in a well-off family in Korea. They both seemed to have it all, with Jin Xi being a talented painter with plenty of girls vying for his affection in high school and with En Xi having the brains and the personality to be popular enough to be elected class representative. En Xi had what you'd call an "adolescent nemesis" in the form of Xin Ai, a girl in her class who had always been evilly jealous of En Xi because she was rich, smart, and popular, and had the protection of handsome older brother Jin Xi. However, an accident that injured En Xi when she was 14 revealed the truth: En Xi and Xin Ai had been accidentally switched at birth. Now the melodrama begins.
After what I believe is the most tragic part of the story (instead of the over-the-top love stuff) where En Xi and Xin Ai are returned to their respective actual families, the romance stuff begins. After around 8 or 9 years, En Xi and Jin Xi encounter each other again and realize that they've developed feelings for each other. However, both repress their feelings knowing their parents would oppose, and also because each has a lover in their life already. Jin Xi is engaged to You Mei whom he met at university, and En Xi had just "accepted" the love offered by Tai Xi.
Tai Xi and You Mei both figure out that En Xi and Jin Xi are not actually blood siblings and are in love. However, each tries to cling onto their lover. Tai Xi, in a noble way. First continually supporting and selflessly loving En Xi. You Mei, in an annoying way. She clings to Jin Xi as if he's the only man left on the planet and forces him to stay with her by threatening to commit suicide and lying about her injured arm. En Xi and Jin Xi finally acknowledge their love and "elope", much to the sorrow of Tai Xi and You Mei and to the vehement opposition of their parents and Xin Ai. However, they decide to not be together and return so that they don't hurt Tai Xi, You Mei, and their parents.
What's an Asian drama without a terminal illness? That's right, En Xi is diagnosed with leukemia and has only months to live. Of course, she hides this from Jin Xi who is just about to leave to immigrate to the US with You Mei. All hell breaks loose when the parents, family, You Mei, and especially Jin Xi find out about En Xi's illness, and Jin Xi rushes to the hospital as En Xi is wheeled into ER yelling "Hsa Ra E, Yun Seyo!" ("I Love You, En Xi!"). Jin Xi then gets back together with En Xi, dumping You Mei in the process when he finds out that she lied to him about her injured arm. Tai Xi looks on sadly, because En Xi does not have that many months to go, since they couldn't find a blood match for her.
So what happens at the end? En Xi dies. Jin Xi is devastated and as he walks on the street after her funeral and is overwhelmed by memories of her, he is run over by a car and is reunited with En Xi.
I normally adore tragic love stories that are sappy and make me cry and cry and cry. This is, no doubt,a tragic love story. But what made this NOT an enjoyable watching experience for me was the melodrama. My major complaint is that it is COMPLETELY unrealistic to have Jin Xi and En Xi fall in love right after they are reunited. How is it possible for two people to fall in love if they grew up believing they were blood siblings? It doesn't make any sense. Completely illogical...if it were not for the performances and Wong Bin I would have stopped watching this series halfway. Oh, I also don't understand why the parents were so against a relationship between En Xi and Jin Xi, after all, they weren't blood related technically.
Evaluation of the Cast & Characters:
Song Hye Kyo as En Xi-
This actress is naturally beautiful and elegant. A typical Asian doll look. I also like that she didn't look like she was anorexic. Sometimes she was bland but overall gave a really nice portrayal of En Xi. Her look matches the character perfectly. Her crying was great and the vulnerability she showed through her portrayal of En Xi is applauded. A pitiful character though, and unrealistically nice. I think she lacked chemistry with her male lead, Song Seung Hun--even their adult versions still seemed brother-sister-like. I really liked the child actress who played teenager En Xi- who was that? She did a fabulous job.
Song Seung Hun as Jin Xi-
Relatively likeable but not outstanding. I don't think he's handsome either-- sorry to the fans out there. Like Song Hye Kyo, his crying was really good- the tears seemed to flow naturally. He dressed pretty nicely too. He has expressive eyes and his best scenes were the ones when he was alone thinking about En Xi. I also really liked the child actor who played the teenager version of En Xi- Korean child actors are great!
Wong Bin as Tai Xi-
D*mn he is so good-looking. Tall, handsome, great hairstyle. Also my favourite character in this series (not just because of his looks). He was my favourite character because he was selfless in his love for En Xi. He took care of her, supported her, protected her. When she fainted he called Jin Xi knowing that he may lose her to him. Now that's a man. His performance was one of the best of the series. His look matches his character- hot-headed but willing to sacrifice everything for love. I actually liked him with En Xi better than Jin Xi.
Mama and Papa Wun- The mother's performance was great, the father was bland at most times and I found it illogical and sad that he didn't care too much (or didn't show it) when En Xi and Xin Ai were switched back. Where's the bond? At least the mother had some kind of feeling (or a lot) when they left En Xi.
Xin Ai- Her character was a b*tch, frankly speaking. She didn't appreciate her "fake" mother at all even when she took care of her for the first 14 years of her life. Even as the 14-year-old jealous teenager she was a b*tch. But I like the child actress who played her. The adult version of Xin Ai was ugly, to put it bluntly. Her face had "B*tchy" written all over it.
You Mei- Not as ugly as Xin Ai but equally annoying. She was clingy and had an irritating voice. Hated her character- get over him already! He's not that great. Doesn't really look good with Song Seung Hun either.
However, the consensus is- the child actors gave the most phenomenal performances in this series.
The whole first half of the series i.e. the "child" versions of En Xi, Jin Xi, and Xin Ai, note especiallythe tragic sorrow that shows in the tears of all when En Xi and Xin Ai return to their respective families.
When Tai Xi confesses his love to En Xi.
When Tai Xi gives En Xi the necklace.
When Jin Xi realizes that You Mei was lying about her injured arm.
When Tai Xi "breaks up" with En Xi because he is heartbroken and En Xi asks for a "breakup price" (she has just found out she has leukemia). Tai Xi knows something is wrong with her but doesn't ask.
The scenes in the forest when En Xi and Jin Xi elope.
If you like tragic love stories and can get over the illogical last half of the plot, then rent this. If you don't like dragging series with minimum dialogue, stay away. If you want a good therapeutic cry while watching fabulous performances by child actors, then watch this. Stay away if you're looking for TVB-type cops/firemen/car chases and the like. Oh, and stay away if you want a series that has a happy ending.