Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.

behind your smile faust's smile

Appear weak when you are strong and strong when you are weak

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Behind Your Smile  (2016)
Also known as
Faust’s Smile
 Melodrama,    Mystery,    Romance
Written by
 Du Xinyi   &   Wang Yuqi
Directed by
Chen Ronghui
Country of Origin

oh! … brief

Lim Man, a reluctant businesswoman takes the decision to save her husband’s business which has serious negative consequences for a family run dairy farm. Ultimately, her decision causes the loss of the farm, the death of the father, and the destruction of family well-being and wealth. Lin Man never looks back or regrets the decision she made. But her decision will cost her and her only child.

oh! … talks drama

I am not a fan of revenge melodrama’s but this one was surprisingly and deceptively good!

Writers Du Xinyi and Wang Yuqi wrote a feasible story, surrounding the harsh reality and cut-throat nature of corporate business versus family-run operations. The backstory to the modern reality is good, plausible and well-written and depicted throughout the drama. The narration of the character’s and their portrayal and development is strong. The writers didn’t use excessive melodrama, thankfully, but balanced the stronger, intensely emotional exchanges at times with a fair amount of humour and romantic tension. It was good!

Director Chen Ronghui did a good job with the direction and interpretation of the script and scenes. Most scenes were well-planned out and the choreography around the few fight scenes was fair. The story plays out quickly and doesn’t drag too much which is often the case with melodrama. The cinematography is simple and straightforward.

Perhaps one of the stronger aspects of this drama was the soundtrack. The complete soundtrack is composed of ten pieces, eight of them various instrumentals of the opening theme, “He Isn’t Worth It,” by Shi Shi and the closing theme “Not Your Business” by 831. I really liked both songs and I have already added them to my playlists.

I found the costumes amusing at times – those jean dungarees or overalls were oddly shaped. Also, Jian Xiaoyue’s costumes were hysterical most of the time. But, of course, our male lead played by Marcus Chang was elegant in his finely cut suits.

The cast chosen to play the various characters were agreeable in the roles they were cast in.

Zhao Yiting, the biological son of “Healthy Farm’ owners, played by Marcus Chang, is a bitter, angry young man who feels resentful towards Lin Man who destroyed his family and livelihood. Marcus Chang was exceptional in this role, portraying his character’s icy demeanour perfectly. And then later, bringing out the softer side of his personality. It was a job well done!

Lei Xinyu has the misfortune of being born to Lin Man. Gentle natured and gullible she gets trapped in the reality of the consequences of her mother’s decision. She has no idea that her mother is such a corrupt person. Eugenie Liu did a fair to middling job with her character. She plays the innocent well enough for the most part, where she failed miserably was in the crying scenes, which were either excessively over-emotional or forced. Other than this she did a fair job. I’d have liked to see a more natural portrayal.

By far my favourite character and actor were Sean Lee as Zhong Qianren. I typically always end up rooting for the second male lead or the third wheel in a love triangle and Zhong Qianren is no exception. Sean Lee, besides being tall and handsome with a charming boyishness, is a fine actor and he did well in his performance for this tdrama. I would have liked to see how dapper he looked in a suit and tie, oh wait, that’s what Google is for 😉 His performance was underrated and understated, but that’s his style.

Jian Xiaoyue, Lei Xinyu’s so-called saviour is the character I had the most problem with. I either loved her and understood the reason behind the character, or I hated her and wanted to slap the back of her head – hard! The women in this drama are portrayed in bad light. Not that I’m a feminist or anything along those lines, in fact, I am very anti-feminist movement. But I’m a strong woman and I’ve never had to rely on or depend on a man. I use my wits and knowledge to survive and rely on myself because I’m the most dependable person I know 😊

The chemistry between Jian Xiaoyue (Esther Yang) and Lei Xinyu (Eugenie Liu) was a little too cutesy for my liking, but that speaks more to my personality than the fact that the mushy girlfriend scenes were wrongly interpreted. I’m very pragmatic, I don’t tolerate mushy girlfriend crap well.

The chemistry between Lei Xinyu and Zhao Yiting was mostly tense and awkward to start and then settled into something a little cheesy and eventually became romantic. The two were balanced as opposites, both physically and in acting ability, not to mention complementing each other’s character traits. It was pleasant to watch.

oh! … sidekick

The only sidekick I want to write about is Lin Man, although there was a number available to choose from.  Played by Kelly Ko, this character was the one central to the revenge plot but who we saw the least of. The writing around her ‘apology’ was stronger than I expected. Surprisingly so. Kelly Ko did a good job at painting the spiteful and arrogant morally corrupt woman. I think I’d have liked to see her reach a miserable end but not to be, instead, she finally sees the light and comes to her senses. I guess that’s not too bad.

oh! … that’s a wrap

This tdrama isn’t anything award winning, it comes together nicely and entertaining enough to watch through to the end. Could it have been better, certainly, but as light entertainment, it was surprisingly good.

I am beginning to think that while South Korea produces the most kdrama available, the writing behind the stories is not as good as some of the other countries also producing good storylines. South Korea seems to be stuck in reproducing the same basic stories again and again, with little thought to innovating new stories. Too much of the same is boring.

oh! … soundtrack


oh! … gallery

oh! … trailer

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