A Fragile Flower Image

A Fragile Flower

By Alan Ng | March 21, 2024

A gifted singer finds herself in the pitfalls of instant fame in Mai Thu Huyen’s dramatic tale, A Fragile Flower. Thach Thao (Maya) is a beautiful young woman with the voice of a songbird. Her kinder Mama Rose caregiver, Eliie (Trizze Nguyen), books her at a nightclub to sing, where Thao impresses the handsome Son (Quoc Cuong). Not wanting to be that performer who sleeps her way to the top, Thao rebuffs Son’s invitation for a drink.

The next day, Van receives word that an executive at the influential SET (Seoul Entertainment Television) wants to meet with Thao for a chance to star in a movie. When Thao arrives, the SET executive is Son, whose wife Yvonne (Mai Thu Huyen) is the Son’s general manager of the station.

Seeing Thao’s potential, Yvonne approves Son’s request to make a movie but only authorizes half the budget. Son goes behind Yvonne’s back, raises the remaining funds, and begins the film’s production. Soon, Son and Yvonne start clashing heads over production decisions.

While traveling the Western U.S. to film the movie, Son and Thao begin getting close…like really close. Son struggles to hold back his feelings for Thao because he’s married, and Thao holds back even strong…because he’s married.

As the stress of the film and feelings toward Son increase, Thao begins feeling ill and can barely stand up at times. During a severe incident, Thao faints in the arms of Son, and, of course, the paparazzi are there to catch it all on film.

“…an executive at the influential SET wants to meet with Thao for a chance to star in a movie.”

A Fragile Flower is essentially Vietnam’s entry into the songstress story, ala A Star is Born. The film features several songs by Maya as Thao, setting the mood for her feelings at the time. It explores all the trappings of fame while creating an intriguing love triangle between Thao, Son, and Yvonne.

Thao is the young ingénue…naive to the system. Son is the loyal husband and Thao’s de facto manager, who is frustrated back and forth emotionally due to Yvonne’s jealousy.

Let’s be honest. As an American film critic, the story of A Fragile Flower is not new. What’s new is that the story is taken from a Vietnamese perspective, as this country’s film industry has been burgeoning for the last several years. A Fragile Flower is a bridge for a Vietnamese production company to reach the Vietnamese-American audience here in the States.

Like similar stories told in the U.S., A Fragile Flower can be seen as the dramatic vehicle for famed Vietnamese pop singer Maya…or at least a way to bring her popularity to the States. The film is a musical showcase for Maya, poised to present her as a legit dramatic actress.

Unlike U.S. stories, A Fragile Flower takes a very positive direction to the story. While there are protagonists, antagonists, and love triangles, the overall story features three imperfect people trying to reach their goals and making bad decisions along the way. No one is the traditional greedy American villain, but there is undoubtedly that temptation to become one.

Like J-Dramas and K-Dramas, A Fragile Flower is most decidedly a V-Drama…a romance V-Drama. The film’s intended audience is those who enjoy romantic stories, and it definitely delivers in that regard. Personally, I would have preferred if the story had taken a darker and grittier turn, but I appreciate the filmmaker’s effort to maintain a positive direction.

A Fragile Flower (2024)

Directed: Mai Thu Huyen

Written: Nhat Ha

Starring: Maya, Quoc Cuong, Mai Thu Huyen, Trizzie Nguyen, Nhat Ha, Baggio Saetti, Anh Dung, Duc Tien, Khanh HoangEliie (Trizze Nguyen), etc.

Movie score: 7/10

A Fragile Flower Image

"…takes a very positive direction to the story."

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  1. Y Lan says:

    The movie “A Fragile Flower” fails to deliver anything beyond a clichéd narrative that’s been retold numerous times, only now with a Vietnamese backdrop. Its attempt to weave a complex love triangle and explore the trappings of fame falls flat, offering no new insights or compelling twists to distinguish it from predecessors like “A Star is Born.” Despite the cultural shift, the film’s lack of originality and depth in storytelling, coupled with predictable character arcs, makes it deserving of no more than a 1-star rating. The positive spin on the story, while intended to be refreshing, actually detracts from any potential the film had to engage and resonate with audiences on a deeper level, leaving it as a missed opportunity to truly showcase the emerging talent and narratives within Vietnam’s film industry.

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