A Love So Beautiful is a 24-episode romance drama with a school setting. For a good part of the drama, we follow the characters in their high school days, then a short time in university, before ending with seeing them in their professions.

Heading into the first episode, we quickly see we’re in for an opposites attracts drama plot. The male lead character is Jiang Chen (Hu Yitian). Jiang Chen is smart, tall and handsome. He’s shown to be aloof and is straightforward and blunt. Meanwhile, the female lead character, Chen Xiaoxi (Shen Yue), isn’t very smart. She gets low grades for her subjects. Her mind is often elsewhere in class (namely thinking about Jiang Chen), and she is thought of as someone who causes a bit too much trouble.

The high school section which goes up to Episode 17 shows the persistence Chen Xiaoxi has towards her like towards Jiang Chen.

Jiang Chen and Chen Xiaoxi.
Chen Xiaoxi waiting for Jiang Chen and looking bored.

The opening scene of Episode 1 sees Chen Xiaoxi letting Jiang Chen know she likes him. Jiang Chen is direct with rejecting her. “I don’t like you.” The rejection is awkward for Chen Xiaoxi, but she responds with saying she’ll come up with a way.

We see Chen Xiaoxi put effort into changing Jiang Chen’s disinterest in her. Chen Xiaoxi tries to show Jiang Chen how thoughtful she is with preparing breakfast for him. She waits for him before school to give him steamed buns. When she fails to catch Jiang Chen the previous day, she gets up earlier to catch him. She comes up with writing a love letter when the idea of delivering breakfast to Jiang Chen fails. Chen Xiaoxi ends up making a mistake in the delivery of her love letter. She manages to put a love letter into Jiang Chen’s bag, but it’s not her love letter. That love letter of Chen Xiaoxi’s ends up in the hands of the disciplinary teacher after she gets into a confrontation with some senior students who make fun of the love letter she helps her male classmate, Lu Yang, deliver to his crush. The outcome of this is Chen Xiaoxi needing to write a self-criticism letter. She brings along Lu Yang, bestie Lin Jingxiao, classmate Wu Bosong and Jiang Chen with her in writing a self-criticism letter as they helped to stop the disciplinary teacher from reading aloud her love letter.

Li Wei.
Wu Bosong looking at Chen Xiaoxi.

There is a love rival on both sides. On Jiang Chen’s side is Li Wei. On Chen Xiaoxi’s side is Wu Bosong.

Li Wei is a model student who is seen as prettier and more feminine. She seems to be able to get Jiang Chen’s attention easier when he agrees to help her with explaining things she doesn’t quite understand in class or even choosing her to be the class president over Chen Xiaoxi. This makes Li Wei appear to be someone Jiang Chen finds agreeable and a love rival to Chen Xiaoxi. Li Wei isn’t a threatening love rival, though. At most, Li Wei comes across as a fellow classmate Jiang Chen accommodates and helps. Wu Bosong, however, is a strong love rival.

Wu Bosong is the new transfer student in Chen Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen’s class. Wu Bosong is similar to Chen Xiaoxi when it comes to grades. They’re pretty low, but his low grades is due to him spending a lot of time training in the pools. He is a talented swimmer who has won many medals.

Wu Bosong calls Chen Xiaoxi his boss. First meeting between the two is in the fields when Chen Xiaoxi reads aloud a love letter which sounded tough and threatening. His like towards Chen Xiaoxi starts developing after a swimming competition where he placed second. Chen Xiaoxi’s loud support brought him out of his disappointment from not meeting the performance his coach expects of him. The performance Wu Bosong’s coach expects is first place. Any other placing is not good enough. Wu Bosong’s coach is also Wu Bosong’s dad.

Lin Jingxiao.
Lu Yang looking at Lin Jingxiao.

Among the main plot is developments for the secondary couple, Lu Yang and Lin Jingxiao. Lu Yang is in the same class as Chen Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen. He’s got an interest in reading novels which he recommends to Chen Xiaoxi. He plays online games as well. Lu Yang starts liking Lin Jingxiao after she was like a protector who challenged the senior students who was making fun of his love letter and causing trouble.

Lin Jingxiao is Chen Xiaoxi’s best friend. Also in the same class as Chen Xiaoxi, Jiang Chen, Wu Bosong, and Lu Yang, she is a top student and has an interest in astronomy. Lin Jingxiao is seen as a tomboy because she’s tough. She defends the weak.

Lu Yang is not someone in Lin Jingxiao’s radar, initially. She likes the school doctor, Li Shu. Lin Jingxiao’s like towards Li Shu starts from when she snuck out of school during athletics day to see her dad. The side of her trousers got torn and Li Shu offered his clothing to cover herself.

Lin Jingxiao begins liking Lu Yang when he takes over the apology she had to make in front of the entire school for the medication Li Wei took from the doctor’s office without permission. She’d chosen to take the blame so Li Shu could be free from fault and not be fired from his job. Lu Yang used that time up on the stage to make his like towards Lin Jingxiao known to her and the entire school. When finally Lin Jingxiao likes Lu Yang and they become an item, Lu Yang tries to scare her away. Lu Yang has a heart condition which he was born with.

We enjoy the way A Love So Beautiful progresses the love triangle between Jiang Chen, Chen Xiaoxi, and Wu Bosong. Jiang Chen being the male lead character, we expect him to be the one Chen Xiaoxi ends up choosing to be with no matter what issues come between. However, the drama gives a lot of love to Wu Bosong.

With Jiang Chen being the male lead character, he of course shines more compared to Wu Bosong. Jiang Chen is shown to be the guy many girls like where they confess to him and say he’s handsome. Jiang Chen’s intelligence has him in a highly-respected profession. He becomes a skilled surgeon in the cardiac surgery department after graduating university.

Though Wu Bosong is not shown to be a guy who gets a lot of confessions from girls and he doesn’t seem to be as popular with them as Jiang Chen is, he’s got a bit of a subtle celebrity status as he is a swimmer whose competitions get broadcasted on TV and he is interviewed, making him visible and in the public eye. There’s also focus on Wu Bosong’s athletic body which Jiang Chen is shown to agree he can’t match. Beyond high school, Wu Bosong is a swimming star who is stopped to ask for autographs by his fans and those who recognise him through the commercials he’s in.

Jiang Chen and Chen Xiaoxi calling each other.
Wu Bosong.

In the high school section of the drama, we do see the typical lean towards the male lead character. Everything Chen Xiaoxi does, it’s for Jiang Chen. We see her wanting to win the hurdles race in the school’s athletic day so she can win the prize of a watch to give to Jiang Chen for his birthday. For her birthday, her want is to buy tickets to a football exhibition match because Jiang Chen likes the football team that was participating in it. We see her favour Jiang Chen more when she digs beneath the mountain of meat pieces in her small bowl that Wu Bosong gave her to get to the one chicken wing that Jiang Chen had given to her earlier. Chen Xiaoxi also mistaken the secret Wu Bosong wrote in a game Chen Xiaoxi and the gang played to be Jiang Chen’s. What Wu Bosong had written down was that he likes Chen Xiaoxi. Wu Bosong doesn’t get the attention from Chen Xiaoxi, but Jiang Chen very easily and constantly gets attention from her.

That lean gets less towards Jiang Chen and a bit more towards Wu Bosong after the university section.

The university section begins at Episode 17 and up to Episode 19. It’s the section where finally Jiang Chen is Chen Xiaoxi’s boyfriend. We get to see Jiang Chen do things we never saw him do in the high school section. This is him taking the initiative as well as entertaining Chen Xiaoxi’s wants. He asks Chen Xiaoxi out to dinner and holds her hand when, through a song, she hints she wants them to hold hands. Jiang Chen also interlocks fingers with Chen Xiaoxi after initially denying the request.

Though the university section is only two episodes, it spans three years. Therefore, Chen Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen are together for three years before an issue comes up for the two which sees them separate.

Jiang Chen’s demanding hospital schedule causes a strain in their relationship. A major event then occurs for them both. While Chen Xiaoxi has a very close shave with a male property agent who looked to want to do things with her other than showing her around an apartment Chen Xiaoxi was looking to move into, Jiang Chen loses his first patient. Both needed emotional support from each other, but neither provided it. Adding to this is Chen Xiaoxi being disappointed that Jiang Chen didn’t tell her about an opportunity he had received for a four-year advanced training at a top hospital in Beijing. With Chen Xiaoxi having found this out from a hospital staff instead of Jiang Chen, she believes Jiang Chen went to make that decision without seeking her opinion first. Jiang Chen hadn’t made that decision to go yet, however. He also had chosen to decline the opportunity after a meetup with Chen Xiaoxi, but his superior wished for him to spend a bit more time to consider it. Upset, Chen Xiaoxi says she doesn’t want to love him anymore. The relationship then gets to the point where they don’t communicate very well anymore, bringing about misunderstandings and Jiang Chen goes to Beijing for advanced training.

Wu Bosong and Jiang Chen standing in front of their cars.
Jiang Chen annoyed.

Episodes 20 up to Episode 22 are the episodes which sees Wu Bosong take over from Jiang Chen as the person Chen Xiaoxi goes to.

This section of the drama leading up to the final two episodes is three years after Jiang Chen had left to Beijing for advanced training. Jiang Chen is back. It’s implied that Chen Xiaoxi is the reason Jiang Chen is back when his conversation on the phone with his superior explains he had declined a great opportunity at that hospital in Beijing. Also possibly because of Chen Xiaoxi, Jiang Chen seems to have declined the possible opportunity to be the deputy director of the cardiac surgery department at the hospital he was an interned at of which is the hospital he is now working at as a doctor in the cardiac surgery department.

Jiang Chen and Chen Xiaoxi’s first encounter with each other after three years is at the hospital. Chen Xiaoxi is there after hearing that her dad had an accident and a back surgery is required.

The theme in these two episodes seems to be seeing Chen Xiaoxi no longer staying around Jiang Chen. Chen Xiaoxi still feels the same in the way that if Jiang Chen asks her to do something like “Come over here” or “Apologise” she will oblige and do it. However, we don’t see her continue to remain by his side when she recognises she’s idly there as he’s working away.

Jiang Chen gets an understanding of where he stands with Chen Xiaoxi after he asks Chen Xiaoxi whether she has ever regretted. Chen Xiaoxi’s answer is a resolute “no”. Chen Xiaoxi also says to Jiang Chen she no longer wishes to guess what he’s thinking. This comes after Jiang Chen kissed Chen Xiaoxi out of the blue after Lu Yang’s bachelor party where Jiang Chen brought along a fake girlfriend.

With this mindset that Chen Xiaoxi has towards Jiang Chen, we see a lot more interactions between Chen Xiaoxi and Wu Bosong. She picks up Wu Bosong’s calls in Jiang Chen’s presence. She leaves a gathering where Jiang Chen is also there to go meet up with Wu Bosong when he asks to meet. Chen Xiaoxi also chooses to ride in Wu Bosong’s car over Jiang Chen’s when they all attend Lu Yang and Lin Jingxiao’s wedding.

Even though we see Chen Xiaoxi going to Wu Bosong more and leaving Jiang Chen alone more, predictably and expectedly, Wu Bosong isn’t someone Chen Xiaoxi will choose to be with.

Due to finding Jiang Chen back in Chen Xiaoxi’s life, Wu Bosong rushes to propose to Chen Xiaoxi. He gets the answer he already knows Chen Xiaoxi will give him. He receives a rejection. Though rejected, Wu Bosong helps Chen Xiaoxi repair her broken relationship with Jiang Chen. In a meetup with Jiang Chen after the rejection, Wu Bosong secretly lets Chen Xiaoxi listen in on his conversation with Jiang Chen over the phone.

Wu Bosong exclaims, “Jiang Chen, return Chen Xiaoxi to me.” “You have never loved her as much as I love her. Jiang Chen let me have her.” Jiang Chen goes about expressing why he can’t allow that.

Jiang Chen mentions a belief he sees everyone to have. “Everyone thinks Chen Xiaoxi loves me more.” Jiang Chen seems to say that it’s not accurate when he expresses his view of everyone eventually leaving him just as his dad had when he passed away and when his mum took his younger brother along with her when she went to work elsewhere, but had left him behind. Chen Xiaoxi, on the other hand, was always there. Her constant presence became something he’d look for. He would open the curtains because he wondered what she was doing. Seeing a difficult question whilst studying he thought Chen Xiaoxi must be crying because of the difficulty.

Jiang Chen tells Wu Bosong that he was at a loss on what to do when Chen Xiaoxi didn’t see him off before he went to Beijing for his four-year advanced training. When he came back one time, he thought Chen Xiaoxi’s view of him being perfect and compatible for her had changed when he found him with her. That had him try but failing to convince himself that he was better off without Chen Xiaoxi.

The reason why Jiang Chen can’t let Wu Bosong have Chen Xiaoxi is revealed after expressing his want to hear her voice and the want to eat with her: he can’t live without her.

The rewatchability of A Love So Beautiful is high. There are many rewatchable scenes. Many of our favourites are during the last four episodes because we just love seeing a switch of roles where Jiang Chen chases after Chen Xiaoxi after seeing 17 episodes of Chen Xiaoxi sticking to him like glue. Those developments in the 17 episodes are also what makes the end episodes so enjoyable to watch, so we love those too.

Jiang Chen.
Chen Xiaoxi.

There was a moment in Episode 20 we couldn’t quite figure out. It’s the moment where Jiang Chen says Chen Xiaoxi never understands anything then asks her to apologise. We were unsure why Chen Xiaoxi needed to apologise.

The scene before this was Jiang Chen giving Chen Xiaoxi and Wu Bosong a ride home after Lu Yang’s bachelor party. (Wu Bosong had too much alcohol so he couldn’t drive and he couldn’t reach his assistant.) It was then Jiang Chen catching up with Chen Xiaoxi so he could give her the keys she lost in his car. Jiang Chen made a point of being very busy and having a million things to do. This was not it, it seems, because Jiang Chen said it’s not his meaning when Chen Xiaoxi recognises she has taken up his valuable time with making him chase after her to give her keys to her.

So, we wonder if Jiang Chen wanted Chen Xiaoxi to apologise for being with Wu Bosong at Lu Yang’s bachelor party, for peeling Wu Bosong a mandarin and allowing Wu Bosong to feed her a cherry tomato. Or was it Jiang Chen testing to see if Chen Xiaoxi will still listen to him? We think we missed something here. It was confusing what the scene was trying to say and get across.

An earlier scene in Episode 20 at the hospital in Jiang Chen’s office: it was interesting to hear Chen Xiaoxi easily say she didn’t regret at all when Jiang Chen asked if she ever regretted. She answered it with very little hesitation. We thought that because she was almost obsessed with Jiang Chen during high school she wouldn’t be so firm with that answer of hers, but she surprised us with how she moved past it while Jiang Chen, the aloof one, was still affected and stuck in the past. She showed it when Jiang Chen showed up with his fake girlfriend to Lu Yang’s bachelor party and she was fine. Then at Lu Yang and Lin Jingxiao’s wedding, Chen Xiaoxi told Li Wei she and Jiang Chen have broken up and that they aren’t compatible for each other when Li Wei said for Chen Xiaoxi to not invite her to her and Jiang Chen’s wedding because she liked Jiang Chen so much back in high school.

Chen Xiao looking sad at Jiang Chen taking a call.
Jiang Chen pleading Chen Xiaoxi to forgive him.

The scene after Wu Bosong helps Chen Xiaoxi hear Jiang Chen’s true thoughts and feelings towards her (Episode 22) was interesting too. In this scene, Jiang Chen and Chen Xiaoxi sits together at a park bench. A call from the hospital sees Jiang Chen needing to leave. Chen Xiaoxi looked to be thinking how frustrating or typical it is that Jiang Chen is called away by his work at the hospital again, but isn’t able to stop him from tending to what she seems to agrees is priority. And so we see Chen Xiaoxi choosing to leave so that Jiang Chen can head back without feeling obligated to remain with her and delaying care to a patient—that’s how we read this scene, anyway. Not sure if that’s exactly what’s meant by this scene in the park. This seems to bring fear in Jiang Chen. We see him quickly pull Chen Xiaoxi back with a grab of her hand, his head placed against it then pleaded for her to forgive him because he knows he’s the one who has been wrong.

Chen Xiaoxi’s response to Jiang Chen’s plea for her to forgive him is what’s interesting. She denies Jiang Chen of forgiveness. It seems that even her past like towards him which seemed so unwavering and strong, and what she just learned from listening in on the conversation between him and Wu Bosong, aren’t enough to make her forgive Jiang Chen and return to him then and there. That hand of Chen Xiaoxi’s that Jiang Chen holds onto, Chen Xiaoxi removes it from his and says she needs some time to carefully think it through. She then continues to leave him.

It’s a happy ending for Chen Xiaoxi and Jiang Chen, of course. That scene created such a sweet and cute scene afterwards. It had us feeling happy for Jiang Chen when his eyes beamed and his smile so bright and happy when he found Chen Xiaoxi in the resting room adjacent his office after finishing a surgery. We could feel that it was like a difficult wish of his that had just come true for him.

Chen Xiaoxi's mum.
Jiang Chen.

A Love So Beautiful has these one-minute or so epilogues or Easter egg scenes. Not all episodes come with them, but when they do, they are either fun or funny scenes, or ones revealing something extra about a scene in the episode. The ones that reveal a bit more about Jiang Chen are the best ones for us. Episode 1 shows Jiang Chen being not as indifferent to Chen Xiaoxi. Episode 11 is funny where we hear what is going through Jiang Chen’s head when Chen Xiaoxi’s mum went to him to ask if he’s noticing something off or different about Chen Xiaoxi and whether there’s a boy she is paying particular attention to. There’s one in Episode 18: It was surprising and funny. We didn’t know Jiang Chen could scare someone like that. It was so loud that we thought the whole neighborhood would have been frightened by it. He went, “Boo!” to Chen Xiaoxi.

The most interesting epilogue (9 mins or so) is at the end of Episode 23. It’s a recap of moments in the drama in the eyes of Jiang Chen. We hear a narration of his thoughts on moments between him and Chen Xiaoxi and we get insight into the reasons for his responses and actions during those moments. Jiang Chen expresses the possible point in time he may have fallen for Chen Xiaoxi in this epilogue. He describes Chen Xiaoxi as a game character custom-made for him and someone who might be insane because she tolerates his selfish, awkward and anti-social person. Closing off, Jiang Chen expresses being blessed with a lot of good fortune and thanking Chen Xiaoxi for coming back to him and allowing them to regain what they once had.

There’s an extra clip within the credits screen of Episode 23 and it looked like it was giving Wu Bosong a sort of a happy ending by suggesting who he might be paired up with. A small frame around the top-left shows an interviewer asking some people on the streets who their favourite character in the drama was. Two recognisable faces appear. It’s Wu Bosong (or someone looking like Wu Bosong) with Su Mu (or someone looking like Su Mu). Su Mu was the orthopaedic surgeon for Chen Xiaoxi’s dad’s back surgery. Su Mu answers the interviewer’s question of her favourite character in the drama being Wu Bosong. Deal breaker for her is the big diamond ring. She’s referring to the one Wu Bosong had used to propose to Chen Xiaoxi with. We think Wu Bosong is a pretty cool second male lead character. He comes across as easy-going, thoughtful, considerate, and just knows how to be a fun-loving person. So, thinking there’s a girl who thinks he’s awesome is awesome.

There’s a Korean version of this drama. We actually had chosen to give the Korean version a go first before watching this Chinese version. We thought that maybe we’d get a feel of the plot through the Korean drama first before watching the Chinese one. But about three episodes in, we found it hard to continue.

We did go back to watch the Korean version and the main plot is pretty much there. It did leave out the backstory of the male lead character. With the male lead character being someone who is aloof, we thought the backstory of the male lead character helped explain the beginning of his curiosity towards someone like the female lead character and how she became a habit for him. We don’t think the male lead character’s backstory was so important that it should have been kept in the Korean version, but the impact wasn’t the same. With the male lead character’s backstory told in the Chinese drama, it allowed us to understand how special the female lead character is to him, that she is one-of-a-kind because she’s always there unlike everyone else who leaves him. And so, she is the only person in the world who is perfect for him and that’s why he loves her and can’t live without her. It is why he must get her back to him. There is no one else for him.

We didn’t really get this same understanding or feeling in the Korean version when the male lead character just said he loves the female lead character more than the female lead character loves him and he can’t live without her.

Both versions had the busy hospital schedule of the male lead character as the reason for the female lead character and the male lead character breaking up, but the way they broke up was different. In the original Chinese drama, Chen Xiaoxi said she didn’t want to love Jiang Chen anymore. We saw them still go see the other, but misunderstandings or something made them turn around or watch from a distance. Chen Xiaoxi also did go try to catch up to Jiang Chen to see him off after saying she won’t, but she was too late. In the Korean version, the female lead character, Shin Sol-i, directly said to break up. It’s because she wasn’t able to take it anymore. Shin Sol-i didn’t see the male lead character, Cha Heon, off at all. So, in the Chinese drama, the break up was not as clear-cut and dramatic. There was still a bit of care and want from both sides for Jiang Chen and Chen Xiaoxi, but Cha Heon and Shin Solo-i looked to have just broken up.

The final section of the Korean version wasn’t as good of a watch as the original Chinese drama. All the moments were there, the significant lines were there, but the moments were underwhelming. It might be the slight changes in dialogue, character, and scenes throughout the drama that made the moments in the final section less sweet.

The scene where Cha Heon said he was wrong and asked Shin Sol-i to forgive him saw the two sit in awkward silence. There wasn’t a call from the hospital to say Cha Heon was needed back at the hospital. We go straight into seeing Shin Sol-i standing up to leave and Cha Heon pulling her back in the same way Jiang Chen had pulled Chen Xiaoxi back. Cha Heon then goes to ask Shin Sol-i for forgiveness and saying he was wrong.

This scene was rather weak. With Cha Heon’s busy hospital schedule not coming across very well in the episodes, without that backstory we mentioned above, and not seeing Cha Heon having a hard time watching Shin Sol-i leave him time and again to go meet up with Woo Dae-sung just as Chen Xiaoxi had left Jiang Chen time and again to go meet up with Wu Bosong, we couldn’t place the desperation that would bring Cha Heon to plead Shin Sol-i to forgive him and say he was wrong like he had.

The female lead character and male lead character in the Korean version was not as good to watch. We couldn’t quite understand Shin Sol-i’s character. We can’t describe her character much except that she has cute gestures and sports a goofy wide smile. With Cha Heon, we found him to be a rather bland character. He’s stiff and doesn’t talk much. He’s got a very quiet personality. We think the female doctor colleague of Cha Heon got the right word when describing Cha Heon: boring.

And so, the Korean version was underwhelming and not a good watch. The Chinese version: awesome watch. The Chinese version is a must watch for anyone who is looking for a cute romance drama with an opposites attracts plot in a school setting.




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