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[TVB drama] 《摘星》Growing Through Life review

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发表于 2011-5-16 13:04:59 |显示全部楼层
Not written by me, I think quite fair comments: 
http://djfrostbite.blogspot.com/2011/04/growing-through-life-2010-review.html

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Growing through life

The story

Growing through life talks about the struggles of 2 families over 2 generations. Hoi Leung (Damian Lau) has always felt that his father is biased towards his older brother Hoi Yeung. He felt even more betrayed when the woman he loves left him and went to marry Hoi Yeung. Damian was devastated, but was determined to set his life back on track. He met his current wife Liza (Cecilia Yip) and had a perfect family. His business became really successful too. But his picking on Yeung’s family causes the 2 families’ relationship to sour.

Hoi Sing (Raymond Lam) is Hoi Yeung’s son. His deceased father left him with a small factory, and Raymond is determined to run it well. Yet, Damian continues to cause trouble for the factory, worsening the tension between the 2 families. Damian continues to try to ruin Raymond’s factory until Raymond’s mother (damian’s ex-lover) revealed a long kept secret. Raymond is actually Damian’s son! Damian is shocked, and determined to nurture Raymond into a successful businessman like him, and mend the broken ties between him and his son. However, he did not use the best methods, and Raymond only walked further and further away from him.

Meanwhile, Raymond’s good friend Lam Dai (Bosco Wong) starts to feel jealous as Damian gives Raymond many privileges. After several setbacks and humiliation, ambitious Bosco decides to craft a long intricate plot to climb up to the top…


The characters

Damian lau

The title of the series is called ‘growing through life’. Surprisingly, I feel Damian’s character is the one that ‘grows’ the most throughout the series. I’ve never really hated him from the start. But his changes throughout the series really impress me and touch me a lot. From a relentless businessman who looks down on people, to a desperate father imposing his ideas on a long lost son, and slowly to the forgiving, sacrificial father who quietly waits for his son to accept him. I really enjoyed every moment of Damian’s performance in this series.


Raymond Lam

To be honest, I really didn’t like Raymond’s character much at the start. His hair looks old-fashioned, and he is impulsive and impatient, and made many wrong decisions. In comparison, Bosco is much more composed, and smarter. Raymond’s character was sweet sometimes, funny sometimes, irritating sometimes. It was only towards the end when he matured and toned down, did I really like him. I feel that Raymond’s acting has matured a lot in this series. Great performance, great tears, and I can really feel his difference at the start and the end of the series. His performance was especially good when he is going through the ‘down points’ of his life, like when Song Wei Fei left him, when his mother died, and when he found out Damian is his father. I liked Raymond’s performance in this role, and am looking forward to even more improvements in the future.


Cecilia Yip

I have some mixed feelings about Cecilia in this series. Cecilia’s character undergoes DRASTIC changes at different points of the series. She started off as the perfect wife- caring, forgiving, understanding. After she lost her baby and found out that Raymond is Damian’s son, she becomes a totally different person. She becomes really mean, really crazy, and slightly frightening to watch. She thinks Damian does not love her at all, and treats him like an arch enemy. She yells and screams a LOT. And then when Damian got into an accident, she realized how much he actually loved her, and became her original self in one episode. Cecilia’s crazy performance was really intense, and I have to admit that I did enjoy watching those scenes. She became crazier and crazier each episode, until it was finally revealed that she is actually seeing a psychiatrist. Her performance was really good, but part of me feels that it was a bit over the top. There were too many of those crazy scenes, and also, she recovered way to fast!

Zhao Zi Qi

ZiQi is Damian’s ‘spy’ at first, sent to ruin Raymond’s factory. Zi Qi is a really cute spy. She is bold, she is smart, yet no one can ever tell she’s the spy, because she looks very honest. She betrayed Raymond a few times at the start, yet it’s hard to blame her. She has a family to feed, and her medical bills to pay for. Later on, she starts to like Raymond, and never left him no matter what. This is a cute and likeable character. She and Raymond make a cute bickering couple. But after 30 episodes, I still cannot get used to the dubbing, I really dislike the dubbing…


Bosco Wong

At the start, I am very supportive of Bosco’s character. He is smart, calm, a good friend, and filial son. I felt bad for him when he went through many setbacks, like when Damian fired him, and ZiQi rejected him. I could understand why he turned bad, but of course, he did go too far, and make it hard to forgive him. But throughout the series, we know he just wants to prove his capability, and did still have a conscience. Even when he did really bad things, like killing Damian (twice), you can see his remorse and regret. I always thought Bosco suits the ‘cute’ characters better, and never thought he would pull off a bad character. But I was wrong, and Bosco really did surprise me. This must be one of my favourite roles for Bosco, and I’m also surprised that Bosco can cry well. When his father died at the end, I could really feel his pain, and I cried with him too. Great job, Bosco!


Toby Leung

Toby looks good in this series, and her acting did improve from the first time I saw her. But no matter how, I just can’t seem to like her. Every time she appears, there will be some tears, some slow music, and some cheesy lines. Her scenes are always so draggy, and make me want to fast forward them.


Song Wen Fei

I never knew who she is before this series. She’s a mainland artist, who spoke in Cantonese for this series. Song Wen Fei’s character is really beautiful, yet pathetic, desperate, and sometimes slutty. It’s a relatively small character, but I find her very interesting to watch.


The chemistry

Damian lau and Raymond lam

Even though Raymond only called Damian ‘dad’ twice in the series, those 2 times meant a lot. This is the second time Damian acted as Raymond’s father, and both times, they look really good together as father and son. Great chemistry, great development… I loved their interaction the most towards the end, when they finally stopped arguing and we are just waiting for the moment for Raymond to accept Damian.


Raymond vs Bosco

Raymond and Bosco have different backgrounds, and different characters, yet they are ‘good friends’ (at the start).

Raymond grew up in a more well-off family. His father is the boss of Bosco’s father. Thus Bosco’s father always calls Raymond ‘little master’. It does get annoying, but who would have known that Bosco minded it so much… Raymond is the self-righteous one. Though he is not stupid, his thinking is more straightforward, and he is less ambitious. All he wants is to ‘keep his father’s factory’ and ‘work with Bosco’.

Bosco, on the other hand, grew up from a less well-off family. His first love left him because he is poor. Bosco said ‘It’s fine if you leave because you don’t love me. But if you are leaving because I am poor, I will never forgive you!’ Later on, there was Damian who humiliated him many times. There was ZiQi who rejected him because she likes Raymond instead. And importantly, he feels that his father sides Raymond more than him. I really can’t blame him for wanting to climb up and get people’s respect. But he went too far, and hurt way too many people…

Raymond and Bosco have good chemistry at pals. I’m glad they never explicitly fought over the 2 girls (ZiQi and WenFei) as that will be really clichéd. I’m glad they didn’t have many big confrontations, and Raymond merely distanced from Bosco quietly, because that is much more real. I like how the producers portrayed the changes of their friendship. It is real, and not too dramatized.


Damian and Cecilia

They were a really loving couple, unfortunately their relationship turned REALLY sour in the middle, mainly because Cecilia went crazy (thanks to Bosco). I was so glad to see them make up. Their conversation at the poolside (somewhere in episode ~26) was really touching. Great chemistry there… It’s sad that Damian had to die and leave Cecilia alone for the rest of her life.


Raymond and Zhao ziqi

Cute bickering couple. Their chemistry reminds me very much of Raymond and Li Qian in ‘Twin of Brothers’. (Is it because the female dubber was the same?), especially when Ziqi stares at Raymond with her big eyes. I’m not a fan of them for sure, but yes they are cute at times… but for some reason, I feel Raymond doesn’t really like ZiQi that much. Sometimes it seems like he’s just ‘settling’ for her…


Bosco and Toby

Bosco never loved Toby from the start to the end, but Toby loves Bosco so much. From the start, Bosco was already lying to her. But Bosco is so good at lying, he can get almost anything he wants from her. Poor Toby…


Dominic and Bosco

A naggy geeky father, and a smart ambitious son. As the audience, we can tell how much they care about each other. Unfortunately, Bosco does not feel Dominic’s love so much, and Bosco does terrible things which broke his father’s heart.


The story

On the whole, the story isn’t perfect. It has its flaws, and some room for improvement here and there. The first few episodes were really not too appealing. And sometimes, I find the series being a little too preachy (same problem in ‘The Drive of Life’). And the theme of ‘letting go’ was brought up way too many times. Nevertheless, the story is special in its own way. I really like how they show each character’s growth and changes, and how they portrayed all the different relationships, plus some twists and turns here and there

The performance

Performance wise, I’d like to commend every member of the cast for doing a great job! Damian is the shining star once again, I can’t emphasize enough what a great actor he is. Younger stars like Raymond and Bosco seem to have matured a lot. Thumbs up to their performance too. Cecilia’s crazy performance reminds me of Christine Ng in ‘the building blocks of life’. I can’t say I like it, but it really was respectable. I’d also like to mention Dominic Lam. I’ve never seen him play this kind of nerdy fatherly role before, and I think he really nailed it. Great job!

The ending

The ending is less abrupt than many other series, but still a little too abrupt. Bosco turned good so fast, and Raymond and Toby forgave Bosco for KILLING their father too easily. How many years will you take to forgive someone for taking your father’s life? Maybe never. Yet Toby was actually thinking of visiting Bosco at the hospital before his liver transplant. Is love really that blind? Yes, I know the producers want a happy ending, and want Bosco to turn good at the end. But he seems more relieved than remorseful. In his last conversation with Raymond in jail, he was talking about how good he feels and how well he sleeps every night because he had ‘let go’. As the audience, it’s a little hard to accept…


The Best Scenes (there are many, but I can only remember a few for now)

-      When it was revealed that Cecilia was actually seeing a psychiatrist, it was quite a dramatic and sad scene…

-      When Damian and Cecilia were having a conversation at the poolside, it was a very poignant conversation, and Damian was hinting that he had recovered his       memory

-      When Damian was begging Toby not to break the law to win her case against Bosco, he told Toby how he didn’t let go in the past, and how that caused him to      lose many more things. It was gradually revealed that Damian had regained all his memories, and how sad he is that he cannot acknowledge Raymond as a son. And the next moment, Raymond was standing there, he heard everything. That was quite an emotional scene.

     - Before Damian died, Raymond called Damian ‘dad’ twice. The first time Damian couldn’t hear it, and then Raymond said it again. It was so touching! Who would have known that was the last time we’ll see Damian alive…

     - When Bosco’s father was dying, he told Bosco ‘Son, I’m proud of you’. Bosco was crying. On the other hand, Raymond was somewhere else reading Damian’s diary. Damian said Bosco is like a reflection of himself, and asked Raymond to forgive Bosco. That was such a touching scene! And the perfect emotional climax for the last episode.


Worth watching?

Compared to the Drive of Life, Growing through Life has a much smaller cast and smaller budget. It doesn’t really have the ‘grand’ feeling, but it is a good series in a different way. Worth watching? I would say yes


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发表于 2011-5-16 16:39:21 |显示全部楼层
Now I am realy want to watch this series after reading this comment. Thank you for sharing!!!
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发表于 2011-5-16 23:59:10 |显示全部楼层
Good Review. I was just reading the post on Growing Through Life again during the weekend and found that I had to rewatch some of the eposides again. It is a good drama and worth while spending the time watching
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