Tao Mo (Jiang Zi Le), an illiterate young man, becomes the mayor of Danyan city after buying the position. As he strives to better himself so he can become a fair magistrate, he meets Gu She (Yan Zi Dong), one of the top lawyers in town, and immediately feels an inexplicable connection to him.
It had been on my to watch list for quite a while when I finally started it, but once I took the plunge, it was a matter of days before I completed it. With only twelve episodes under its belt, Love Is More Than a Word makes for the perfect watch for those who, like me, aren’t in the mood for a long commitment.
Love, Love, Love
From the very first moment they lay eyes on each other, it’s clear to anyone with eyes that both Tao Mo and Gu She are infatuated. It’s a joy to see them interact, but what’s even better is the way they find themselves acting when not in each other’s presence. Just thinking about Tao Mo is enough to make the famed Iceman smile, while the mere mention of Gu She’s name has the naive county magistrate perking up like an excited puppy.
This is a really sweet relationship all around, one which you will undoubtedly enjoy watching grow and flourish. The general treatment of those feelings by themselves and everyone around them must also be mentioned, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen such easy acceptance in a drama before, except in Guardian.
Good production quality
While the quality of the costumes is undeniable, what struck me the most in Love is More Than a Word could certainly seem… trivial, to say the least. To me, it should be pointed out that those characters actually change clothes—or at least shed a few garments when at home. Unlike any of the other period dramas I’ve ever seen, when they get home, they let down their hair and take off their outer robes, which is… novel, much appreciated, and so very relatable.
Although there are a few regrettable mistakes here and there, it’s my opinion that they can be excused on account of a lack of budget: considering that this is adapted from a Boy’s Love novel and hardly even tries to hide the devotion between both very male leads, it’s already a feat that this even got a sequel at all.
Honesty Can Be Scarier Than Tricks
As an illiterate young man, Tao Mo has no knowledge of verbal jousts and witty puns. Instead, he’s an honest, hard-working young man, and every single one of his words drips with sincerity. Other than the fact that this makes him very genuine about expressing his feelings, it also makes for hilarious situations as his enemies can’t even fathom that anyone can be that much of an open book, and therefore start shaking in their boots whenever he takes a step.
The entire time, Gu She, of course, watches with a smirk. (Or is that a headcanon? I don’t even know anymore.)
The Peanut Gallery Is Everything
Honestly, the secondary characters were brilliant, too. I especially adored the interactions between both leads’ manservants, who had this great frienemy dynamic going on which led to hilarious scenes.
Another secondary character whose facial expressions made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion was Advisor Jin, whose mimics just scream “sly fox” the entire time, it’s great.
However, you should know that this show definitely will not work for you if you’ve never seen a Chinese period drama before. The interactions between characters, double-edged conversations and overall city politics require at least some cultural knowledge to understand and appreciate.
What’s more, while the show is easy and quick to watch since it’s only 12 episodes, you will wish that a lot of things had been more developed, like the sect affairs which were barely touched on, as well as the emperor’s relationship to Gu She and other such court matters.
It didn’t take too much from my overall enjoyment of the show, however, simply because Gu She and Tao Mo’s relationship was just too sweet for me to nitpick.
If You Know Anything About Chinese Censorship
You will never, and I do mean NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS see that ending coming. I never thought I’d ever be satisfied by a drama’s ending before. But you know what? This scene. This one, single scene, was so powerful, so emotionally-charged, that it made up for every fault I found in this show. It was, simply put, perfection.
All in All…
One of the best BL CDramas I’ve seen so far. A must-watch.
Title: Love is More Than a Word
Starring: Jian Zi Le, Yan Zi Dong, Lu Zhuo, Myron
Aired: 09/12/2019 to 09/25/2019
Number of episodes: 12
Genres: LGBTQ+, Romance, Politics, Historical
Where to Watch: YouTube
Ma grade: ★★★★☆