Review: Like a Flowing River

Thoughts on a few characters

Name: Like a Flowing River
Writer/director: Yuan Ke, Ping, Ane, Tang Yao/ Kong Sheng
Date: December 2018
Number of episodes: 47
Genre: Historical, Life
Based on book/manga?: Yes, Big River Goes East by A Nai.

Why did I press play? It was highly praised by a reviewer. It also went into explaining the context and purpose for this drama.

Who are the main characters? Which actors play them?
Song Yun Hui played by Wang Kai
Lei Dong Bao played by Yang Shuo
Yang Xun played by Dong Zijian
Song Yun Ping played by Tong Yao

These are thoughts on three of the main character that appear in episode 1- 8.

Firstly Wang Kai is such a fantastic Song Yun Hui. It’s some of the best acting I have seen in a long time. Specifically his reaction to finding out he has enough marks to attend university. After the first few moments you completely forget it’s Wang Kai and just see this quirky guy. There are many perfectly executed nuances. For example, the adjustment of glasses to little uppity mannerisms – if he thinks he knows best. I love every scene with this character.

I do have issues with Yang Shuo as Lei Dong. Just to preface, to me he has no sex appeal. Regarding his romance with Ping the whole thing puts me off. The marriage night – I just skipped that part, these two don’t have on-screen chemistry. Also Hui words of caution on the weeding night to put his sister in his plans and not run off to do his own thing. I hope this is not a premonition of what is to come. Maybe brothers intuition was right in not wanting her to marry him. 

Unlike Wang Kai’s acting. I am very aware of the actor: Yang Shuo. I feel like I’m seeing the reminiscent of who he was on Ode to Jo. Maybe the two characters have some overlap? When he is leading the brigade, he does have attributes that are unique to the character and almost convinced me. He was casted for a reason, so we’ll see how he pans out. Currently he is my least favorite character and I don’t enjoy scenes with him in it. Also he is a little big for his boot. He is quite assertive, but then he is also caring – a bit of a mixed bag.

Tong Yao who plays Song Yun Ping is also doing a fantastic job. She is an introverted girl, but her subtle expressions and logical thinking brings a lovely character to live. She particularly carries the weight of time. He fashion (lack their off), her hair, trying to earn money via raising rabbits. In terms of getting a grasp on life back then for a hopeful women, she is the gal to keep an eye on. I felt a loss of interest in her as soon as she got married, she becomes a bit boring and it feels like she trapped or cornered. Her mother-in-law is a pain and I wonder if her life will be more restricted. Will she be left behind with her husband’s ambitions? 

That’s it for now! I really wanted to get these thoughts down.

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