Love is Beautiful

Reviewed by: hkopinions

December 31, 2007

Rating: three-point-five

Dong Cung Qui Phi (Vietnamese Title)

Marianne Chan as Chor Chor/ Empress
Anne Heung as Chor Chor/ West Palace Concubine/ Si Si
Eddie Cheung as the emperor
Marco Ngai as the magician
Evergreen Mak as the con artist

This ancient series is about love and beauty. Anne and Marianne are sworn sisters and are best friends. They live in Mei Yen Chuen or the Beautiful People Village. Ironically, both girls are ugly and are ridiculed for their appearances. Marianne has a big red birthmark and a large mole on the left side of her face. Anne has marks all over her face. In actuality, Anne is very beautiful. When she was young, her father got really sick and Anne prayed to relieve him. Anne promised to stay sick and ugly as long as her father was well again. Although both are ugly, they have very different personalities. Anne is kind and honest. She is also very good as a blacksmith. On the other hand, Marianne is a troublemaker and is deceitful. Anne is the only friend Marianne has. By chance, the emperor is traveling in the village and is ambushed by his evil uncle, who is plotting to take the throne. Anne rescues him and hides him. As a promise, the emperor, played by Eddie Cheung, promises to marry the ugly Anne. Anne's father reveals Anne's true beauty. Eddie is stunned but gets taken off by his bodyguard to the palace. Meanwhile, Marianne feels betrayed because Anne is beautiful.

One day, Marianne sees a magician, Marco Ngai, performing tricks, which changes people's face into beautiful faces. Marco does a trick on Marianne and magically she changes to a very beautiful girl. The beautiful girl is Charmaine Sheh. Marianne begs Marco to do his trick permanently but Marco says that Marianne needs someone with the same features. Meanwhile, Eddie sends word that he will marry Anne and sends for her. Marianne gets in trouble with the law by killing a man she owes. Marco tells Marianne that Anne is a perfect candidate. Hesitantly, Marianne drugs Anne on the night before Anne leaves for the palace. Marco performs his magic and the two faces gets switched. Now, Marianne is Anne and Anne is Marianne. The evil Anne arrives at the palace and Eddie spends all his time with her. Marianne tries to get to the palace to find Eddie. Along the way she meets Evergreen Mak, a con artist. At first Evergreen was going to turn Marianne for a reward but learns to enjoy her presence.

He promises to take her to Eddie for money. On their way, evil Anne stabs Marianne and Evergreen takes her to an inn. Meanwhile, Marianne's father discovers the truth and tries to tell Eddie but is poisoned by Anne. Eddie becomes suspicious and travels to the town Marianne is at. He sees her at night while someone was trying to kill her. After a very complicated plan, the truth is revealed. Eddie forces Marco to restore the face but Marco can't. Anne is imprisoned. Marianne was about to leave the palace because Eddie is in love with beauty, but Eddie forces himself to fall on his knees to beg for Marianne's hand. Marianne is made empress. Marianne teaches Eddie how to become a better emperor and also wins the heart of the people and Eddie's mother. Eddie's uncle forces Eddie to go to war hoping he would die. Marianne goes with Eddie and the morale of the army goes up.

Marianne Chan
Marianne was exceptional in this series. I am glad that Marianne doesn't mind playing an ugly girl. The transition from evil to good was well played. I believe Marianne is one of the best actresses of all. She can play both likable and unlikable roles. It is unfortunate that this is Marianne's last role, since she wants to retire.

Anne Heung
Well, I just don't see Anne has an actress. I don't think she is that beautiful. Her acting seems wooden and she definitely can't cry.

Evergreen Mak
I find his character very funny especially his hand gestures. He fits well as a con artist. Too bad Evergreen doesn't end up with Marianne cause I sense some chemistry. Catch Evergreen in TVB's "Where the Legend Begins" in 2002.

Eddie Cheung
Wow, I didn't know an emperor was that stupid? How can you fall in love with the same girl and an evil girl, too? Eddie did make a good emperor but at times I just wanted to slap him.

The story
Why is it that emperor's always have evil relatives, especially uncles trying to take the throne? I am glad that Marco plots to take the throne too. The story is very moving but I think the beheading part was very weird. Marianne's head was flying around and she talks to a dog. I think Marianne's character is too gullible, although she is kind. She can forgive Anne for all her wrong doings like stealing her man, beheading her, and stealing her son. Wow!

Best supporting actor
Evergreen Mak as the con artist

Best supporting actress
? as the Dowager Empress

Best villain portrayal
Marco Ngai as the magician

Worst character portrayal
Anne Heung as Chor Chor/ Si Si/ West Palace Concubine

Watch it or forget it
It is a very good series to watch, especially if you are a fan of Marianne Chan. The series does drag a little towards the middle though. Beware of Anne's horrible acting skills because you will hate her more.

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