Akazukin: Or maybe Steven can move his style of series from mostly romance based (which I believe require more imagination space so his romance with the female lead is more believable) to mostly family based or comedy or just life experience series........ Actually, I think he very well has the talent, just that his talent for romance should not be wasted either until the day he gets married.
Tamaya: Steven is excellent as a romantic male lead.
The slight turn of his head, the expressive glance of his eyes, the beginning of a slow smile,
perfection! How many hearts have fluttered at that look. And a bamboo flute looks just right in his hands.
capturing of Ji Yuen's rare smiles.AF1509
a hint of a smile or a toothy grin, a twitch of his lips or a lift of a corner, a beaming smile, indulgently or jovially, a wistful smile, a helpless smile, a rueful smile or a wry smile, a bitter smile, a polite smile, a disdainful smile or a sneer, Steven performed them all with subtlety.
Happy, artless smile of a man in love
The twitching of a polite & formal smile
The spreading, happy smile of a child at hearing his revered elder's approval and concern.
His joy shines through his crescent eyes.
Akazukin: his smile is burdened with problems he kept in his heart. It was such a child like smile, like you said, and it shows the feelings of a son he has facing his godfather, but the smile seemed burdened deep inside. It isn't a carefree smile that we have seen from him in other times
The indulgent, helpless smile of a son fussed over by his mother.
The side-glance and wry smile of a man at hearing the poetic truth in Hin's statement.
Hin: Some reasons just can't be explained. I promise you. (not to let SS know)
An enigmatic smile, difficult to pin down, maybe a smidgen of irony & sadness combined? Probably at his own momentary mental weakness & pathetic situation that he, a most sane & pragmatic anti-smuggling official, could be reduced to actually spying on those two before him; all because he has inexplicably fallen for Sing Suet, a smuggler's daughter, no less. The irony of his circumstance is most definitely not lost on him.
Akazukin: I think for that moment, he was more concerned of Sing Suet's well being than to think about what he has become peeking like that. I think he felt thankful to Ting Hin but sad that there is nothing else he can do for Sing Suet, sad that he has to rely on Ting Hin to take care of Sing Suet. He can no longer stand by his side like he used to in the Tao village.
screencaps sources: Steven-ma.org Sits album, Steven's Warm House and Steven baidu.
I deeply enjoyed reading your analysis of JY's smile. He surely had different smiles in one day. And your description is totally how I felt when I watched the scene too. I felt that the only time Ji Yuen was able to smile happily without burden was only in the span between him finding out that Sing Suet was still alive and had Ting Hin providing a roof for her and finding out his godfather has been a corrupted official all this while. The scene where he visited the Wu is included. His smile when he reported himself to his mom is an excited one. He probably went around the house garden partially to try his luck if he can bump into Sing Suet. Of course, beautiful childhood memory would also welcomed him at that time. So we have him smiling in a good mood and excitement.
When he really found Sing Suet and the chance to talk to her after the dinner, I think he has abundant hope that Sing Suet will have positive reaction hearing his confession. He probably think Sing Suet thought that the love he showered her during their time in Tao village is fake and only his method of completing his mission. Do you think Ji Yuen purposely make use of Sing Suet to achieve his goal? (Something like Ron's character in EU - he likes her but he is together with her to achieve his goal) Or is it just a slip of events on how he made use of her? As in he never thought of using her when he chooses to be with her but chances that this relationship gave him made him slip?
Down the childhood memory lane recalling the good times.
Filled with anticipation at seeing Sing Suet again - Yuen's strides are quick and confident as he returns from his quick exploratory lookout for Suet; his smile bright as the sun instantly dazzled Ting Yim. Take note of the tinkling background music (usually reserved to announce the long anticipated appearance of an ancient China beauty) as he stops before her, spellbinding her with his wide grin.
Suet/Yuen's encounter at Hin's house
After what must have been the longest ever dinner, Yuen finally goes looking for Suet. It was not happenstance that Suet bumps into him. He must have searched high and low for her after being released from the dinner. Anticipation realized â€“ his face lits up; his heart leaps at the sight of her fueled by an upsurge of uncontrollable joy pumping it. He is so happy to see her, incredibly so.
â€œSing Suetâ€ he utters her name with much tenderness. â€œHow have you been?â€
Sensing the coldness emanating from Suet, he quickly tempers his smile and collects his emotions. Wearing a conciliatory smile, he says: â€œDon't worry, I'll not bring up the past.â€ His sidelong glances, blinking eyelids and slight pauses all underlined his apprehension at Suet's responses. Suddenly he does not know what to say.
So with his heart still hanging precariously on his sleeve and his much diminished smile bravely hanging on to his face, he asks expectantly: â€œYou've heard what I said?' He wants to make sure that she has indeed heard him. However, whatever hope he has had of her softening towards him is quickly and unequivocally dashed when she opens her mouth to rebuke him.
Suet's lashing instantly snuffs off that brave little smile and kills off what little hope he has had. His face shuttered, his eyes dimmed and his smile vanished. The impassive mask slips into place on his face.
screencaps credit: steven-ma.org, steven-ma sits album and steven's warm house