The Third Wife Image

The Third Wife

By Alan Ng | February 5, 2019

This little love triangle is sent into a spiral when Hung forces his son into an arranged marriage. In love with Xuan, Hung’s son can’t find the courage to stand up to his father leading to a tragic explosion of events. Everyone becomes tainted by the unintended consequences of this sacred tradition.

Nguyễn Phương Trà My admirably carries the emotional storyline from beginning to end as a young teen placed in a situation that is not only forced upon her but one she isn’t emotionally ready for. Not only does she blossom into an adult after her marriage, but also struggles as a sexual being as she spies on Xuan’s affair. In the end, May is faced with a decision to live in the safety of this system or embark on a journey of personal freedom.

“…expertly explores the subservience of women in Vietnamese and Asian cultures.”

This is Ash Mayfair’s first feature film and a personal story loosely based on the life of her great-grandmother. She expertly explores the subservience of women in Vietnamese and Asian cultures. All ending on a note of freedom, hope, and change.

Visually, The Third Wife comes off as a wonderful painting. Director of Photography Chananun Chotrungroj beautifully captures rural Vietnam, and the sets are authentic amazing.

If there is a negative, it comes in the over-emoting acting that is commonly associated in Asian films, especially from the men. That aside, Mayfair’s The Third Wife is a powerful reminder that the oppression of women is not strictly a Western problem and everyone—women or men—want to be free to choose their own path in life.

The Third Wife (2018) Written and directed by Ash Mayfair. Starring Nguyễn Phương Trà My, Mai Thu Hường, Vũ Long, Nguyễn Thành Tâm  Lâm. The Third Wife screened at the 2019 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

7.5 out of 10 stars

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  1. Jane Goldsmith says:

    What happens at the end is unclear to me. May sits alone with her baby in a meadow. The baby won’t take her breast. She picks a spray of deadly nightshade. The film ends there. Do we infer she eats the poison plant and dies? Or will she also try to poison her baby? Or does her unhappy life just go on?

    • Chris Gore says:

      The directed at the end of the screening said it was intentionally left unanswered. I don’t necessarily agree with that.

  2. jerry says:

    I am a korean and can speak english.
    I watched this movie today…
    But I don’t understand what director wants to say…

    Mijangsen is great, but the overall atmosphere is gloomy.

    I still don’t know what I watched….

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