First Half of My Life Review (我的前半生)

The First Half of My Life is a 2017 C-Drama starring Ma Yili (Zijun),
Jin Dong (He Han), Lei Jiayin (Chen Junsheng), Yuan Quan (Tan Jing),
and Wu Yue (Ling Ling). If you are an avid fan of kabit-serye,
you might find that the story and concept are nothing new. Somehow,
the story of First Half of My Life reminds me of an old movie entitled
“Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan.” This Filipino movie is about two best friends
who fall in love with the same man. Despite the slight similarity in the
storyline, what made me hooked in the First Half of My Life was my curiosity about how this C-Drama would fare.

The story starts with Zijun who is “happily” married to Chen Junsheng.
They have a young son who is well-loved by his grandparents from both
sides of the family. Junsheng holds an executive position in the company
that he is working for that is why Zijun can afford to go shopping
anytime she wants. She is protective of her marriage and tends to be
suspicious about some women that are within her husband’s work circle.

On the other side of the story is the power couple Tan Jing and He Han.
Both have strong personalities and are very much dedicated to their career.
Han is Junsheng’s boss while Jing is Zijun’s best friend since college.

Zijun’s world collapses when Junsheng tells her that he wants a divorce.
To add insult to injury, the mistress is the woman that she befriends in the office. Without Junsheng’s money and a ready source of income,
she risks losing Pi’nger (son) to the former’s custody.

Jing helps her get on her feet but being a busy career woman, there are
times when she asks a favor from Han to be her proxy. Initially, Han and
Zijun clashes but when she realizes his sincerity, she begins to warm up
to him. Just like Jing before, Zijun becomes Han’s mentee and from being a saleslady, she now has the confidence to work in a corporate set-up.
Ironically, she targets a position wherein she will be one of Ling
Ling’s subordinates. Now, all five of them have a working interface.

While spending more time with Zijun and Pi’nger, Han feels that he is
falling in love with her. He tries to forget about his feelings by
proposing to Jing but Jing feels that there is more to the friendship
between her best friend and fiance. When Han confirms that he loves
Zijun, Jing returns the engagement ring.

Jing feels betrayed by Han, Junsheng, and Zijun. She feels that Han never
really loved her and his past relationship with Vivian is just an excuse
not to marry her. She feels that Junsheng covered up Han and Zijun’s
relationship to protect his position in the office. She hates Zijun for
allowing Han to fall in love with her.

Because the real score is now revealed, Han professes his love for Zijun.
Zijun tells him that the feeling is mutual but she cannot be with him because
she does not want to hurt Jing. In an attempt to save their friendship,
Zijun helps in tracking down the person who tried to set up Jing. But the
sad thing is, even when Jing’s name has been cleared, she still has to find forgiveness in her heart to redeem their friendship.

In the end, Junsheng stays with Ling Ling despite the trouble that she
made concerning Jing. Han resigns from his job to protect Jing and
goes to Guandong to start a seafood business. Jing remains in Shanghai
and continues her career. Zijun leaves with Pi’nger for Shenzhen to
start a new life.

They say that the First Half of My Life has an open ending so I’m going to
write my interpretation of the seaport scene. A year later, Zijun inspects the new project site and sees a man who she mistakes for Han.
In another seaport area, Han sees a woman who he mistakes for Zijun.
Both of them tell about their past life in Shanghai and why they end
up in Guandong. There are six seaports in Guandong and if Zijun regularly
visits the Port of Shenzhen, there’s still a small probability that they will see each other. Why? It’s because of the timing factor. Han’s seafood
business requires him to be away on the sea for most of the time.
And during his port transactions, he is too busy to even check on
every woman who comes to the port. Likewise, Zijun is busy with her project
and it’s impractical to wait on the port for every incoming ship. In the
first place, she does not know Han’s ship. She can easily find it out knowing how smart she has become but choosing not to do it means that she does not want to reconnect with Han. Mistaking the man for Han was just her initial reaction because she loves Han. But it doesn’t mean that she would reconnect with him as her lover. Zijun is more loyal to Jing than
her feelings for Han. In the same way, Han is more loyal to what
Zijun wants than his feelings for her. He respects her that is why even
if he can trace Zijun’s new workplace, he did not do it.

Some fans say that the story is about women power and independence. I agree.

If I may just add, this story is all about TIMING.

  1. It took a while for Junsheng to realize that the wife that he divorced is exactly the strong woman that he wanted to. Had he given Zijun more
    time to be a better person, then he would not divorce her in the first
    place.
  2. Jing and Han’s readiness for marriage came late when the latter is no longer in love with her. Had they settled early on, Han would
    probably choose to be loyal to Jing because he takes “contracts”
    seriously.
  3. Ling Ling’s timing is perfect when it comes to destroying Junsheng
    and Zijun’s marriage because they were at their most vulnerable
    stage when she came into the picture. A workaholic husband finds a
    reliable ally in Ling Ling and thinks of his carefree shopaholic wife
    as a liability.
  4. Jing and Zijun’s friendship can still be saved, it’s all a matter of timing. When Jing finds another man and is truly happy with her life,
    she will surely soften to Zijun and maybe try to reconnect with her.
  5. Item 4 leads to the possible scenario that since everything and
    everyone is forgiven, then Zijun can now reconnect to Han and start
    a new life with him.

Therefore, the Zijun and Han love story is only possible at a later time
because of the timings that I mentioned. I so love this C-Drama and if
we’re going to have a local adaptation, I think that these actors/actresses
fit into the role.

Ikaw Sana

I’ve never been a fan of tele-serye until I got hooked on GMA 7’s “Ikaw Sana.” Let me just clarify that I am not a fan of Jennylyn, Mark and Pauleen; I just learned to love their tele-serye.

Pauleen, in “Ikaw Sana” plays the role of Sophia Montemayor-Olivares. She is Eliza’s (Jennylyn) wicked half-sister. Like a true tele-serye that’s full of drama, the two women fell for the same guy, Michael Olivares (Mark). I’ve never appreciated Pauleen Luna’s acting skill until she played the role of Sophia. Pauleen can internalize and feel her role well. I wonder why she was not given any heavy drama role before. I can’t think of any actress who fits the role of the evil socialite Sophia than the pretty Pauleen Luna.

Mark needs to look matured as he’s still baby-faced; he can still be paired with younger actresses like Ynna Asistio. There’s no question that the Jennylyn-Mark loveteam is one of GMA’s bankable team. The couple (Jen and Mark) has evolved from portraying teenybopper to matured roles. There is chemistry between Mark and Jen. I wonder why Mark and Jen didn’t end up with each other in real life!

Jennylyn has grown prettier since her Starstruck days. I no longer read bad publicities about Jen and I hope that her reported mood swings won’t happen again. She is lucky because GMA gave her another chance after that unplanned pregnancy that gave her a very cute Alex Jazz.

Tirso Cruz (Gener Montemayor,father of Sophia and Eliza) and Maritoni Fernandez (Loretta Montemayor, wife of Gener and mother of Sophia) are seasoned actors and I think everybody appreciates the way they deliver their character. But honestly, my favorite is Ms. Marissa Delgado as Amanda Montemayor, the grandmother of Sophia and Eliza. Marissa is one classy lady that can effectively portray the role of a high-society matriarch. I always wait for her tarayan scenes with Maritoni Fernandez, who is also a classy lady and a LADY in real life. She is a daughter of a British aristocrat, Lord Anthony Moynihan.

Love, revenge and family issues; that’s “Ikaw Sana.”