The Third Wife is what May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My, above) has become to a wealthy landowner in rural Vietnam in the late 19th century. We’d all love to marry someone wealthy, but is there a catch? She’s only 14. It is also a time and place where in some situations, you wouldn’t meet your husband until the actual wedding day! Plus, some daughters are sold for a dowry, making it feel more like the times of Henry VIII!
May clearly feels incredibly uncomfortable about everything that’s happening – and with good cause – especially early on, when her new husband sucks an egg yolk off her belly button(!)
In fact, everything seems to be done to please the landowner, and without regard to how she feels, but as I mentioned earlier, this all feels like they’re living in the middle ages in terms of how women are treated.
‘The Third Wife’ also has an awakening not just for her own intimacy, but when she stumbles across others also doing the do. In fact, this seems to be what she does the most. And what if she gets the hots for someone else? Oh, what a tangled web we weave!
Despite her young years, the pressure is already upon her to sire a son for her new hubby, but when she tells her female compatriots that she only feels pain during the intimate process, she’s told to pretend that she likes it, so he will like it too, and that “one day you’ll like it for real”. Oh, charming(!)
But of course, she does become with child, and is desperate to give birth to a boy, even to the point where she’s praying for one, but will fate be on her side, or will she sire a daughter and be cast out by her husband? Well, you’ll have to watch and find out how things turn out, but elsewhere, when it came to one particular relationship, when a man thinks a child is his, he’s told they actually belong to HIS father, so I started wondering if I’d put on Eastenders by mistake, as this all sounds like some tired soap opera.
However, along the way, we have many great visual shots of Vietnam, and even the most subtle of shots are beautifully filmed, such as in a face-only shot, when May is lying face up in the water outside, and you can see the same look reflecting just underneath. So, if you like a film that looks great even if it’s about as shallow as the ponds featured, then this is worth a look.
As an aside, at one point, May is told that a drink of mugwort, lotus seed and wormwood is good for her blood. Erm… yeah, sounds delish, eh?
Thankfully, the Blu-ray picture does great justice for the visuals, but don’t get excited about the extras… there’s just a theatrical trailer. Why isn’t there anything else?
Running time: 93 minutes
Cat no.: MON70355
Released: August 19th 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 1.55:1 (although the press blurb says 1.66:1)
Disc Format: BD50 & DVD9
Director: Ash Mayfair
Producers: Ash Mayfair, Thi Bich Ngoc Tran
Screenplay: Ash Mayfair
Music: An Ton That
May: Nguyen Phuong Tra My
Ong Ba: Nguyen Hong Chuong
Hung: Long Le Vu
Mistress Ha: Tran Nu Yen Khe
Mistress Xuan: Mai Thu Huong Maya
Lien: Lam Thanh My
Nhan: Mai Cat Vi
Ba Leo: Nhu Quynh
Son: Nguyen Thanh Tam
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.