Midway Review: The Rational Life

I came across a gem on Netflix, and it’s been consuming a lot of my free time lately. So I thought I would drop by and write a quick review about it.

The Rational Life revolves around Shen Ruoxin, a career-oriented and independent woman in her thirties who ultimately falls for her younger assistant, Qi Xiao.

What I love most about The Rational Life is that it does not center around romance.

Yes, it plays a big role, but the show also tackles challenges and problems that people face every day: marriage problems, job hunting, societal expectations, challenges women face in the workplace, young love vs mature love, and many more.

The show conveys so many good messages through the relationships of the side characters. They have stories of their own, each tackling a separate issue that corresponds to where they are in their lives. For example, Ruoxin’s best friend, Ziyang, ultimately realizes that her marriage is falling apart because of different ideals.

Ruoxin is also one of the strongest and most vulnerable female protagonists I came across in a while.

Right from the first episode, we see how capable and well-respected she is. But there are still people in her organization trying to bring her down. She fights a lonely battle. And we see how her work and age bias takes a heavy toll on her.

She isn’t swayed by status or emotion. She sticks to her morals and strives to find the best way out of a situation. When her boss, Xu Mingjie, pursues her, she turns him down as gently as possible because she does not want this to impact her career.

Another strong point is that everyone in the drama acts their age.

When her boss gets rejected, he doesn’t turn to petty ways to get back at her. He reassures her that nothing has really changed between them. He still gives her work opportunities, acknowledges her efforts, and listens to her ideas.

Qi Xiao, Ruoxin’s assistant, is also very lovable. He gets jealous when Xu Mingjie pursues her but isn’t overly dramatic or exaggerated. Instead, it was cute and understandable.

While this drama has many strong points, there are still a few points that may prevent someone from fully enjoying this show.

First, the coincidences are a little too… convenient. There are plot points that happen because of a coincidence which may pull you out of the story.

Second, you have to at least have a basic understanding of Chinese culture. Because this is a Chinese drama, many of the messages and themes obviously revolve around the culture. To understand character motivations better, it would help if you have an understanding of the culture.

This drama is also a slow burn. The romance is there, but it moves slowly.

Overall, I love this drama. I’m more than halfway through, and I’m pleasantly surprised at where the plot is going.

It’s not dramatic or overly exaggerated but a down-to-earth portrayal of real-life issues with a cute romance. The plot moves in a way that makes sense and doesn’t loop back to similar situations. There’s always something new to bring to the table.

Also, I’m loving the drone shots of Shanghai. The show really makes me want to go back.

Lastly, just look at this visual explosion:


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