Sunshine Upon Me


Reviewed by: sukting

July 18, 2005

Rating: two-point-five

How long
24 episodes

Foreword
How do Kim So Yeon and Ryu Si Won fare as they have never acted as a couple before? Is she convincing as a kind person after 'All About Eve' and how will Si Won look as a lawyer? This is his first time acting as a refined role after so many serials.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Jin Yan Yu - Kim So Yeon

Yan Yu is cheerful and does not bow to unfavourable circumstances easily. She stays near the sea and helps her father to sell fish. She decides to join a singing competition to try to win the monetary prize. On that day, she saves a lawyer, Dong Shuo. He was there to appease a crowd of unhappy fishermen with his client. He jumps into the water to apologise for his client's mistake. But he can't swim at all! Thus Yan Yu offers her kiss of life and saves him. He gives her his name card to contact him.

Her father died and her elder sister confesses that she is her natural mother and her father is actually her grandfather. She had her out of wedlock when she was 17 years old. Unable to take the shock, she leaves home and goes to Seoul. She wants to become a television commercial promoter of different products but she doesn't get the job. So she stays at Dong Shuo's home to help out in his family restaurant while waiting for good news. Coincidentally, Dong Shuo is a commercial lawyer and is an advisor to the television station. Both fall in love but are hindered by his fiance, Cui Rui Xi.

It is later found that she is the illegitimate child of Director Cui and Rui Xi is her half-sister. She is upset when forced to leave him, also to give up her career. Firstly to join a rival television station but later she is forced to give up her job to return the village to stay with her mother. But fear not, this is a fairy tale and both are together in the end after many setbacks.

I still prefer Kim So Yeon to be a villain. Somehow, I can still sense an evil air in her eyes and find it very awkward to see her as a kind person. She is not as successful as a gentle person here.

2. Jiang Dong Shuo - Ryu Si Won

No wonder Ryu likes this role. Dong Shuo is a very experienced lawyer despite his young age. Rui Xi and him study in the same university. His grandfather is also a close friend of Chairman Cui. Thus it is natural that both young people get engaged. Knowing Yan Yu's dream, he tries to fulfill it by bringing her into the company. He starts to find Yan Yu getting close to his heart as they get along better. He even gives her a pair of mittens to keep her warm. He doesn't feel restricted when together.

His parents own a restaurant and he is often unhappy as Rui Xi's mother thinks lowly of him as they are not rich enough. Dong Shuo is straightforward and has a gift of the gab. When he is angry, he can hit someone, past caring about his occupation. During his free time, he likes to play the saxophone and this is taught by his grandfather. He is normally gentle but upon knowing that his parents are against Yan Yu and chase her away, he can become nasty. Knowing what he wants, he even offers to resign to break off all ties with the Cui family. Upon knowing that Yan Yu has trouble raising sales, he will appear in the studio to give her support. This reminds you of Xiang Zhe in All About Eve, isn't it?

He is very troubled when Rui Xi refuses to break off their engagement and comes up with a few suicide attempts to force him to stay with her. She has even splashed a cup of water onto his face when he suggests a breakup. Director Cui even gives him a promotion as the programme director to keep him when he decides to resign. But this is a mockery - he doesn't have the say to keep Yan Yu when Rui Xi fires her.

Dong Shuo is too stressesd by Rui Xi's demands. Not knowing how to reject her, he decides to transfer overseas, he is surprised that Rui Xi decides to delay their marriage because she has given up on him.

Ryu's acting isn't that outstanding although there is improvement from 'Beautiful Days'. He looks so restricted in emotional and imtimate scenes.

3. Li Han Xiu - Piao Shi Xian

He is a good friend of Yan Yu. He follows her to Seoul and dreams to become a movie star. However, due to his plain looks and height, he hasn't been successful and even ends up acting in Category 3 movies. You will find him pathetic when he sheds clothes for those steamy scenes in tears. He tries all ways to break Dong Shuo and Yan Yu up as he likes her.

He does not hesitate to help Yan Yu in playing sidekicks in her commercials. Although he doesn't get her love, he manages to carve a route in his acting career in the end. This actor is a born loser right from the beginning. He lacks the qualities to be a fierce love rival.

4. Cui Rui Xi - Liu Shan

She is very pampered since young and always gets what she wants. She is cool while Yan Yu is warm. She was initially nice to Yan Yu. After knowing that she is her love rival, she starts to think of ways to drive her away. First in setting unreachable targets for her to achieve. When Yan Yu is successful and knows that she is her half-sister, she forces her to join another television company.

She can be so stubborn not to heed Yan Yu's advice from selling imitated goods when Yan Yu warns her. In the end, the company suffers a loss but she still refuses to admit the mistake, thinking that Yan Yu is framing her for it.

She is deeply in love with Dong Shuo and goes against her mother's wishes to want to marry him. To make Dong Shuo agree to the marriage, she even forces him to bring forward their wedding. This angered him and he suggests a breakup instead. She then attempts suicide and forces him to give in. However upon seeing how miserable he is in missing Yan Yu, she finally realizes her mistake and lets him go.

This actress isn't that fantastic in her acting either. I find her too fierce looking. Maybe they should have given her lesser make-up to make her more approachable to show that she is kind to Yan Yu at the start.

5. Grandfather Jiang

He adores his only grandson and knows of Yan Yu's predicament. He even helps to take care of Yan Yu's mother at his home. He supports Dong Shuo's decision and is different from the way his parents react.

6. Grandfather Cui

He often feels guilty for causing unhappiness to his son for breaking him and Yan Shu up. He tries to look for Yan Shu and his long-lost granddaughter but to no avail. Upon knowing that Yan Yu is his granddaughter, he treats her very well. But upon knowing that she is Yu Xi's love rival, he tells her to leave Seoul. What is heartless grandfather for showing favouritism or maybe he knows that Yan Yu doesn't succumb to setbacks easily but Yu Xi is weak? Whatever it is, I still think that this is unfair.

He spills the beans on his deathbed to his son and Mr Cui is angered to know that even his own wife knows the truth before him. This serves no purpose because Rui Xi hates Yan Yu even more after that.

7. Mr Cui - he is as Xian Hua's father in 'I'm still loving you'

I will call this man irresponsible and selfish. Why? How can he seduce a high-school girl to have sex with him? He doesn't even know that she carries his baby and even agrees to another arranged marriage by his father. Upon seeing Yan Yu the first time, please don't expect to see any touching scene. They don't even know each other's identity and he dislikes her very much. Upon knowing her identity, he is overjoyed and tries his best to accept her. But he also asks Yan Yu to leave Dong Shuo!

I feel that he still looks down on her status - but hey - who is the cause for this? Doesn't this poor daughter deserve happiness? He has no intention to be together with Yan Shu again as he is very devoted to his wife. However, he still cares for Yan Yu and visits her often in her hometown.

8. Mrs Cui - She is Liang Mei Mei in 'Beautiful Days'

She is a very jealous wife. She has never approved of Rui Xi choosing Dong Shuo and never stops introducing her to other men. To make sure that Yan Shu and Yan Yu will never ruin their happiness, she wants to kill them. First by locking Yan Yu up in the freezer. Another will be taking off Yan Shu's life support. Too bad she fails and both bounce back to health. This actress is sure a marvelous one and will make you shiver with her vicious look.

9. Jin Yan Shu

She is the traditional submissive woman who doesn't even think of breaking up others' marriage. She sets up her mind to look after Yan Yu alone but she tries hard to protect her. She makes her father lie that Yan Yu is his younger daughter. They move to stay in another fishing village but many still ridicule how old Father Jin is to have such a small daughter. Yan Yu can't accept the shock and although she misses her, she does not set out to look for her as she knows she needs time.

She has to satisfy herself by watching her on television. However, she is later forced to go to Seoul for treatment because of her sickness. She finally finds happiness when staying with Dong Shuo's friend.

Favourite character
None, no one gives me a deep impression.

Most hated character
Yu Xi's mother for always belittling Dong Shuo and trying to kill Yan Yu and Yan Shu.

Flaws

Same old predictable story line with little surprises. Very slow moving. They should have stopped at 16 episodes instead of 24.

Yan Yu's selling of the products. How can she be so good all the time to sell off everything for every programme? Let's be realistic!

I find little chemistry between Kim and Ryu. Maybe this is because they work together for the first time.

Song
The main theme Nae Pumi Gaduki is worth listening although not fantastic. No idea who sang both theme and subtheme songs but they are very touching.

Interesting scenes

Yan Yu's saving of Dong Shuo. It is romantic! You will get to see Dong Shuo changing into her dry clothes in the room when his clothes are wet. But he can be so shy that he uses a blanket to cover himself.

Dong Shuo gives Yan Yu the mittens to warm her hands from the cold and she is touched.

Yan Yu is given the position of stocktaking after Mr Cui dislikes her. She accepts it quietly and does the job in the freezer. Mrs Cui overhears Grandfather Cui's conversation with Grandfather Jiang and knows her identity. Blinded by anger and seeing her there, she closes the door and locks her in. Yan Yu bangs on the door but no one can hear her. It is alarming to see ice forming on her.

Dong Shuo walks past the freezer and is about to go home. He sees one of Yan Yu's mittens on the floor and gets worried as he knows that Yan Yu treasures all the things he gives her. He is alarmed upon opening the door and Yan Yu falls out from there!

He is so worried for her and holds her hand tightly in the ambulance. Upon reaching the hospital, he counts himself lucky for saving her in the nick of time. If not, she could have died because her body temperature almost drops to 20 degrees. When she wakes up, she is no longer the strong woman that he has known. She bursts into tears and hugs him, releasing her grief. But this scene isn't as touching as expected.

The ruthless expression that Mrs Cui shows when removing the life support. Very unfeeling. The way that she reveals all her crimes to all also shows that she isn't repentant at all. Wonder how she can get off so easily and not get arrested?

Dong Shuo bidding goodbye to Yan Yu over the first 'breakup'. But later both can't suppress their love for each other to return again.

Dong Shuo is alarmed when Yan Yu resigns and disappears suddenly for Rui Xi's sake, afraid that she will try to kill herself again. Poor man - he has tried everywhere - the whole of Seoul and her hometown. He is so distressed and overtired that he falls ill with a high fever. Yu Xi hurries to visit him and there he is in bed, mumbling Yan Yu's name in his sleep. This is when Yu Xi decides to give up.

Out of desperation, Dong Shuo tries out Yan Shu's hometown. He finally finds her there and both hug in joy. You must admire this man's perseverance - not to give up easily!

Interesting facts

Kim So Yeon used 10 months to 'kill' the evil look in her eyes and to swim after acting 'All about Eve' and 'Mother Sister'. She used the least make-up in this serial than other serials to act as a village girl. Many were astonished to know that she could act such a gentle character. Others still encouraged her to continue her career to act as a villain.

This serial was MBC's 2002 most viewed drama after 'Hotelier' at 23.7%. Wonder how it was so attractive to others but not to me? Many scenes serve no surprises at all.

There was the scene where Yan Yu saved Dong Shuo from the water. It was -5 degrees and was very cold. What bothered her was not just the temperature but more on whether the water was dirty. She drank a few mouthfuls but was still okay after that. As for Ryu, it was equally a freezing experience.

Kim and Ryu worked together for the first time. There wasn't any place for them to visit in the fishing village so they stayed in the same room and learned more about each other. In the end, both won the fifth place in the best couple category.

Si Won was so delighted that out of the four years in acting, this was the first where he could really gel his hair and wear business suits most of the time. He could even show off his 600 ties collection in the serial.

Conclusion
I must say this serial falls short of my expectations. I have expected Kim So Yeon to do better. Maybe it is difficult for her to scale greater heights because the role in 'All About Eve' is rare and not easy to surpass the performance. Plus Yan Yu is flawless - I doubt such a person exists in the true world. I mean due to her background, it shows that she is not a pushover. How can she accede to the Cui's family men's unreasonable requests? This is not logical.

Ryu Si Won's Prince Charming role is quite okay but several scenes are just not touching enough. The way that he delivers his concern for Yan Yu in hospital really pales in comparison to how Xiang Zhe expressing his worry when Shan Mei has a high fever in 'All About Eve'. He still needs to work a lot more harder.

This story is okay although predictable. If you like happy endings, this is the right one for you but you will have to wait till the last episode to see it because there are too many twists and turns.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


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