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Out of the Dream 梦见狮子 [2021]

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Out of the Dream 梦见狮子



English Title: Out of the Dream

Adapted From: Meng Jian Shi Zi (梦见狮子) by Xiao Hu Ru Wei

Director: Huang Ying Xiang

Scriptwriter: Zhang Xiao Han
Broadcasting Network: iQIYI

Episodes: 30

Where to Watch w/ English Subs: iQIYI



Yao Chi as Bai Fei Li

Chen Yusi as Yu Fei

Fu Jing as Guan Jiu

Wu Yucheng as Hao Shi


Xie Xing Yang as Dao Ge

Wu Yu Heng as Hao Shi

Sun Zhen Ni as Ling Jiu

Shi An as Ni Lin

Sheng Gang Shuai as Shu Ji

Jing Yan Jun as Xiao Zhu

Feng Bo as Yan Peishan



Out of the Dream is a love story between a Peking Opera performer, Yu Fei, and a stage play producer, Bai Fei Li. They first meet when Bai Fei Li is trying to find a female actress for his play. He attended Yu Fei’s performance and really liked her. He started pursuing her to star in his play, but she wanted nothing to do with it.


Due to a mistake, she is kicked out of the opera school. Yu Fei eventually agreed to perform for Bai Fei Li because something comes up and she needed money immediately. Yu Fei goes through a family crisis which separated them.


They meet again, by chance. Yu Fei is preparing for the Beijing Opera School enrollment and Bai Fei Li is facing difficulties at his company due to the lack of funding. Yu Fei started working part time for Bai Fei Li as he agreed to help teach her English (which, I guess, is a requirement for the opera school, haha!). This is the start of their love blossoming.






Plot/Story (Rating 7.5/10):

Yu Fei and Bai Fei Li got together early in the drama, around the episode 6-8 mark. As we all know, dramaland likes to separate couples towards the last few episodes to show “angst” in a relationship. I was surprised to find out that they stayed together for most of the drama. There were disagreements that separated them for less than 24 hours, but the major breakup happened around episode 21. However, I thought the breakup was necessary for both of them to grow as individuals. 


Sometimes dramas like to show that one is a bit superior than the other in terms of social class, but Yu Fei and Bai Fei Li were shown as equals. No one person was better than the other and the topic of money (who’s richer) rarely came up. It was obvious that Bai Fei Li was the one who is better off, but that was never a topic of discussion. They both contributed equally into their relationship.


They went through major life changes and struggles and for the most part, they did it together. There were definitely hesitation of not letting their inner struggles affect the other person, but at the end of the day, they found strength in each other. I love the emphasis on mental health. In a world where mental illness is viewed as a sign of weakness, I love that we got the opposite of that with Out of the Dream. The drama captured it all – the struggle, the inner demons, the recovery, and the love that blossomed by going through it together with someone else.


Yu Fei’s only family member was her mom and she lost her to cancer. She has a strained relationship with her dad because of her stepmom. Yu Fei struggled with wanting to have a relationship with her dad but also remembering all the things that happened to her mom because of him. Even with her mom, Yu Fei viewed her as someone who only wanted new cheongsams (qipao) and never truly loving her. Yu Fei’s mom left her at the opera school when she was 12 and she grew up never having that parental love. Regardless, her mom was her everything and her death affected Yu Fei in so many ways. At the same time, it also motivated her to become the very best version of herself.


Bai Fei Li was raised by his grandparents when his mom died (she committed suicide). His dad only care about his business and Bai Fei Li was often left alone as a child. Bai Fei Li also had a horrible stepmom but in some ways, I actually feel really bad for her. She married a man who only viewed her as an object. He even told Bai Fei Li that he liked having the stepmom around because she doesn’t ask him for anything especially asking him to reciprocate feelings. Ever since his mom’s death, Bai Fei Li’s relationship with his dad turned sour. He stopped requesting attention from his dad and grew up resenting him.


Out of the two, Bai Fei Li went through the most trauma because he was the one who found his mom after she committed suicide. He developed PTSD and the sound of opening a closet, the clothes she wore (she was an opera performer), and blood would trigger a panic attack. It took him a long time to share this with Yu Fei because, to him, it was a sign of weakness and he only wanted to show her the good parts of him. What I appreciated was that even though this caused an argument between them, Yu Fei never forced him to share it. Instead, she shared her feelings of wanting to know all about him and his vulnerabilities because they made up who he is.


When he finally shared his inner demons with her, that scene was shot so beautifully. Words cannot expressed how much I absolutely loved this scene. It happened after he had a panic attack and shared a letter he wrote during one of his counseling sessions. Bai Fei Li is alone in a dark room writing the letter through a series of flashbacks of all his demons and insecurities in their relationship (Yu Fei leaving him if she found out). Yu Fei appeared in front of him and asked what he’s doing. He told her he’s writing down how to divide his assets if something happened to him. She answered that the props and comic books should be left to Jiubai (his company). She asked if he would give her the script to South Song, and he joked that he’s leaving it to Xiao Cang (their hamster). The next question she asked showed how much she was willing to accept him for who he is, all the goods and the bads. I’m not going to share what her last question is, you should watch the drama and find out yourself. Haha!


I think a lot of times with mental illnesses, it’s painted in a way where the person suffering is having to feel sorry for what they are going through instead of the other person understanding that their (the person suffering) actions has nothing to do with how they feel toward that person. The next scene I loved that touched on this was when Yu Fei came to see Bai Fei Li after he was discharged. Even though he wanted to see and hug her so much, he couldn’t bring himself to physically. He was also unable to really speak, so she talked for the both of them. Yu Fei was comforting and talked about how it was her fault that she missed all his signs (for help). 


Another thing to appreciate about this drama is that they did not wait until the last minute to wrap up all the problems! I dislike it when a drama rush the ending. Throughout the drama, the issues that came up (e.g., problems with the rival company, reconciling with Yu Fei’s dad, coming to common grounds with Bai Fei Li’s dad, the problems with the second male/female leads, etc.) those were all wrapped up before the last episode, some even around the middle of the drama.


The second couple were pretty likable and while I did skip some of their scenes they were extremely adorable. Guan Jiu is Bai Fei Li’s business partner and Hao Shi is their costume designer, who is also Yu Fei’s cousin. They have an age gap (maybe by a few years) so that was Guan Jiu’s hesitation. She also harbored a crush on Bai Fei Li because when they were younger, he helped her become the person she is today. Hao Shi, just like his cousin, is persistent but he never tried to cross any boundaries. He waited until she came to him. There was a scene where Guan Jiu is drunk and took off her heels. She mistaken her heel as a cellphone and started talking to it. Hao Shi picked up her other heel and used it as a cellphone too. Haha!


The side characters, the coworkers at Jiubai, were likeable too. There were issues that came up with them, but they worked through it together and I loved the comradery. On Yu Fei’s side, her group of friends were very supportive. I loved the owner of the bubble tea shop. He always said things like, “there’s an old saying…” but the validity of that is questionable. Yu Fei went to him whenever she was feeling down, and he became her therapist in some ways. Haha! The second male lead, who was a childhood friend, was very giving and did everything for Yu Fei. He looked out for her in many ways. I never once found him to be annoying even though he had a few stern conversations with Bai Fei Li. There was even a time when I questioned if I had SLS because his smile is so infectious!


Now, onto the things I didn’t like – the strange editing. This didn’t happen often but there were times when something happened without any progression to get to that point. I loved it when the main leads got together, but I felt there were little progression leading up to the confession. I thought they were still casually talking and there were limited sweet moments between them to show me that they were going to get together that quickly. The dubbing was off at times too. I’m not familiar with the casts’ voices but the volume would go from being clear to fuzzy and sounding very far away to clear again.


I don't think the drama particularly dragged, but I do think that some situations were not really needed. The ending was a bit strange. I did not understand the need to add this in. They presented this idea of a parallel universe in which Yu Fei and Bai Fei Li never met because dreams are considered us in a different world. WHAT?! Skip the last 10 minutes or however long this was at the end of episode 30. Haha! 


Cast/Acting (Rating 7.5/10):

This drama did not have anyone that's extremely well known. I think the leads are all newer actors/actresses. I thought they did a great job conveying the struggles their characters were going through. Out of the four main leads, I'm only familiar with Chen Yusi. I watched her in The Blessed Girl and really enjoyed watching her there too. 



Production Value (Aesthetics/OST/Cinematography) (Rating: 7.5/10): 

The scenes showing Peking Opera were great. I loved watching those and even the stage production scenes at the end too. To be honest, I usually don't have much to say about this section because I think production companies typically do a good job with what they are given.


The OST...let's talk about that -- that opening song is sooooooo addicting. It has been on repeat for the last two days because that's how much I like it. 




Re-Watch Value (Rating 7/10):

I think there were enough moments in this drama to trigger a re-watch. 


Ending Thoughts

This is the healing drama I needed this year. I joked with a few members that every time the word “healing” is attached to a drama, I have to prepare myself for something traumatizing instead. It makes sense because in order to heal, one has to go through a traumatic event, right? I think what made Out of the Dream different from other healing dramas I ended up not enjoying this year is that there were layers and nothing took a long time to explain. I think it's important to find the right pace in talking about an issue and resolving it. Sometimes dramas get the timing off and that's when people start losing interest, especially people like me who can easily drop a drama. Haha! Out of the Dream was not on my list of drama to watch, but I ended up watching it because the Chinese dramas in Q4 have been really lackluster -- nothing super interesting (it might have also helped that Out of the Dream dropped all it's episodes in one day too). I had little expectations and was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered. It's definitely one of the better dramas in Q4 and is worth a watch. 


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