Lavender (Xun Yi Cao)
Ambrose Hsu as Ji Qing Chuan/Leo
Tammy Chen as Liang Yi Xun
Wang Jian Long as Xiao Tong
Liang Yi Xun (Tammy Chen) and her older sister, Yi Chen, were born with an untreatable heart disease. This heart disease forces the sisters to refrain from strenuous exercises (even running) and emotional stress. Their health would slowly deteriorate, and eventually, they would die.
Because of her sickness, Yi Xun is ostracized by everyone, and she therefore is afraid to tell anyone about her disease. When she was in elementary school, everyone bullied her, except for this one boy, Ji Qing Chuan (Ambrose Hsu), who always protected her.
On Yi Xunâs birthday, Qing Chuan tells Yi Xun that heâs immigrating to American with his family tomorrow. Qing Chuan rides with Yi Xun on the bike (because she cannot run) and brings Yi Xun to a broken greenhouse, which is his secret place, and to meadow full of lavenders. There, Qing Chuan admits his crush on Yi Xun. He also promises Yi Xun that he will return to Taiwan on her 20th birthday to meet her at the school. Qing Chuan takes two bottles out â each with a lavender plant inside â and gives one to Yi Xun.
When Yi Xun is about to turn 20, a famous singer, Leo, arrives at Taiwan. Yi Xun finds out that Leo is actually Qing Chuan. Yi Xunâs attempts to meet Leo were always assisted by Xiao Tong (Wang Jian Long), her co-worker who also loves Yi Xun. This love triangle gets more complicated as Yi Xun finds her heart belonging Leo, but always broken by him, and Xiao Tong always mending it. Just when Qing Chuan reciprocates Yi Xunâs love and starts a relationship with her, Leoâs girlfriend from America, Maggie, comes to Taiwan, determined to win Leoâs heart back.
As Yi Xunâs relationship is getting worse, so is her body. She wonders whether she should tell Leo about her disease, afraid that he would not love her anymore if he knew.
I've recently finished this ten episode drama. It was the first modern romance I've actually watched from beginning to end. Before watching "Lavender", I thought I could never stand another mawkish and sentimental drama with more cancers, car accidents, and shouting. Naturally saying, I would fall asleep watching Korean dramas.
Why this drama is different from every other modern romance:
1) Child-Adult Characters:
In many dramas, I see the adult character as a completely different person compared to the child character. However, in "Lavender", the child character and adult character not only physically look alike, but they have the same air and essence. The best one in here is Yi Xun. When she is little, she has that softness on the outside but strength on the inside. When she is older, she still has that strength and softness.
2) How the mood and plot is developed
Often, we think that how the plot is developed is most important in action dramas to raise suspense. However, I think it is not any less important in romances. In order to make the viewers feel the most sorrow, the plot has to be developed correctly, especially the ending. Also, in romances, suspense is also necessary for the end, as viewers wonder who would get paired up with whom, will they be together, will he/she die, etc.
The way the mood develops in this drama is wonderful. It starts out sweet and gets darker along the way, so subtly that you would not notice it until you are crying your eyes out. Another way the plot is beautifully revealed is the ending. Instead of going straight through, it goes to the end first, then goes back to continue. For the fear of spoiling the ending, it is best to watch it to understand why this way is better.
3) Character development:
These characters are fantastically developed! My main praise goes to Tammy Chen who plays a perfect Yi Xun. She has the character down right. Her emotions are not too exaggerated but not unnoticeable. Her crying is perfect; like I have said, not too exaggerated. Secondly, Ambrose Hsu has done a great job playing the cold and emotionless Leo. His skill in acting is best shown by the change you can see in Leo as he turns from a cold, non-smiling person into someone who could be so caring and full of warmth. The third goes to Wang Jian Long for playing such a good waiter. His mood also changes. In the beginning, he seems to just teases and plays around with Yi Xun. Later, he seems more mature and sophisticated, and we see his passion for Yi Xun.
The songs in here are awesome! The beginning song is called "Hua Xiang", literally translated, "Flowerâs Fragrance". It is very catchy and you will have it stuck in your head. The ending song is called "Shing Fu De Shun Jian", literally translated, "The Moment of Happiness". Itâs so sad that it makes your heart cry. Not only the melody is awesome, but so are the lyrics to both songs. Both of the lyrics show depth, but especially the ending song. Both are sung by Ambrose, who is not an extremely fantastic singer, but who is very good nonetheless.
What I have to criticize:
First, it is all these English lines. I understand English well, but there are full sentences in English or even just a sudden English word suddenly appearing in the middle of a Chinese sentence. The change was so sudden I cannot adjust to two languages. Also, realistically, unless the Taiwanese people are extremely diligent in learning their foreign language, they would not know these words.
Second, it is their speech. I wonder if it is just the Taiwanese accents I am not used to, but I feel that Leo could hardly speak Chinese. Did the director purposely make Leo have an American accent? Because without the subtitles, I could not understand what he is saying.
Despite a few difficulties with understanding the lines (all solved with subtitles), everything else is fantastic! Therefore, I highly recommend "Lavender" to you, even if you think you cannot stand any more plot-less and mushy dramas. Try watching the first episode. The plot will hook you on right away!