Dream Behind the Curtain

Reviewed by: TKL

August 18, 2004

Rating: four

Starring: Kevin Lin, Vivian Chen, Xiao Qiang, Liu DeQi

The series was based on a novel by Qiong Yao, one of my favorite writers (call me mushy if you want!). This is a must-see series if you are a fan of Qiong Yao's works. I remember that it was quite long, about 16 tapes. Yet it is a very poignant story about two sisters who love the same guy and the emotional struggles they go through.

Xiao Qiang and Vivian Chen play two sisters in this series. Xiao Qiang is the older sister. She is a ballet dancer who is becoming famous. Because she is so beautiful, so perfect, that people do not notice her little sister played by Vivian Chen. In contrast to her, her little sister does not fulfill the parents' dreams. She fails to get into college. Basically, she cannot do anything right in their eyes.

Yet there is one person who notices her, who is always looking out for her and comforts her when everything goes wrong. That person is Kevin Lin's character. That is why Vivian's character falls helplessly in love with her sister's boyfriend.

As Xiao Qiang's character becomes more famous, she does not have time for her boyfriend. Unfortunately, this has pushed him closer to her sister. He realizes that the person he loves is Vivian's character, not Xiao Qiang's but how could he tell her that?

Liu De Qi's character was introduced briefly into the series as a rich playboy--yet he is not like that. Deep down, he is an honorable, caring and understanding man. He notices Vivian and falls in love with her. Kevin and Vivian struggle with their feelings and guilt. When he finally decides to tell Xiao Qiang his true feelings, they had an accident before he even has a chance to tell her. Xiao Qiang's character loses one leg and is really depressed. How would the problem be resolved? I would leave that for you to find out.

Xiao Qiang gives a memorable performance in this series, especially after her character finds out the truth about her sister and boyfriend. The character's transformation into an evil, hateful person was very convincing. I end up feeling pity for Xiao Qiang's character. Vivian's character is supposed to be the "heroine" of the story yet to me, she is too selfish. As for Kevin, he portrays the character's pain and frustration of a person who is trapped in an unwanted situation really well. However, his acting is exaggerated in some of the scenes that require action, like running or falling.

I really like the character of Liu De Qi in the novel as he is supposed to be the ideal man in every woman's dream. Yet Liu De Qi's acting ruins this image. He was supposed to be the "knight in shining armour" who will come and rescue Vivian's character. Somehow, I was not convinced by his acting. The changes in the series makes his character even more unrealistic.

There are many more complicated love stories in the series that I would not go into, like Xiao Qiang and Vivian's father who has an affair, ..etc. Overall, the series is not dragging. The dialogue is long, yet it is the main entertaining factor of the series. I like Qiong Yao's style because anything the audience feels that the character should say, the character actually says it--if you know what I mean. I remember one scene between Kevin and Xiao Qiang where Xiao said "I wish I could rip your heart out" and Kevin tore his shirt apart and said "Here it is, why don't you just go ahead and rip it out".

It is hard not to let yourself be emotional when you watch this series. It is very engaging from the start to finish. Qiong Yao has a way of making you feel pity for every character in the story. In the end, it is clear that not everything that happens is because of only one person's fault.

The series is worth watching. If you are into romantic series with just talking, analyzing life and its faults, reasoning, and crying without any action, this is the series for you.

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