Review: THE THIRD WIFE Is A Beautifully-Shot Drama That Balances On The Edge Of Tedium

FIRST IMPRESSION

The potential is there, and the visuals are phenomenal, but the script of The Third Wife fails to explore some of the more interesting questions it poses early on.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

The Third Wife is a new Vietnamese film written and directed by Ash Mayfair. The movie tells the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who becomes the third wife of a wealthy landowner, sending her into crisis as her loyalty to her culture clashes with her desire to be free. It debuted at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

One of the most aggravating things about this film is that it just isn’t that interesting. You would think that the story of a young woman facing internal conflict over being unwillingly betrothed would be fascinating. Unfortunately, this movie gets so caught up in some of the uninteresting and over-the-top subplots that it is unable to really delve into the aspects of the story that are more intriguing.

The film also takes a bland and matter-of-fact approach to the story. Some will praise the movie for its unflinching nature, but the movie isn’t able to capture the authenticity for which it seemed to be aiming, instead feeling somewhat cold and aggressive. Thankfully, the film avoids feeling overly melodramatic due to this approach, but at the expense of being involving.

The movie’s character development is also somewhat weak. The film does a solid enough job of making you sympathize with the protagonist because of the situation in which she finds herself, but it doesn’t do much to take her personality any further than that. Additionally, the supporting characters in the movie are completely underdeveloped. This is particularly problematic given the film’s reliance on subplots featuring the supporting characters.

the third wife table

Some of the themes in the movie are quite interesting, although the film never really explores them to their full potential. The movie opens up discussions about topics such as female sexuality or the obligation to fulfill one’s societal expectations. The bones are there — the film just needed significantly more emotional depth and complexity to reach the thematic heights it should have.

The cast of the movie is definitely very strong, which is important since the storytelling is largely reliant on their efforts and range. The lead actress, Nguyen Phuong Tra My, does an excellent job in her role. This is her debut as a child actress, and she shows a tremendous amount of talent in her turn. She is visibly (and rightfully) uncomfortable with some of the more emotionally-driven sexual moments, and this uncomfortability will rub off onto the audience to make them feel even more awkward than they already are.

It is on a technical level that this film stands out the most. This movie looks and sounds absolutely brilliant. The visual style of the film is unabashedly formal and old-school. Some modern audiences may be put off by the way in which the movie is shot, with plenty of long and static takes, but it fits the story extremely well. The score of the film is very good too, doing a great job of complementing the tone.

Overall, The Third Wife was a beautifully-shot rendition of a story that fails to meet expectations. Like any movie, it will connect with some more than others, but it does appear more likely to bore than entertain.

The Third Wife opens in theaters on May 15.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

The Comey Rule | Official Trailer #2 | SHOWTIME

Jeff Daniels and Brendan Gleeson star as former FBI Director James Comey and President Donald J. Trump in this two-part event series that tells the story of two powerful men, whose strikingly different ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course. Watch the premiere on September 27 at 9/8c on SHOWTIME. #SHOWTIME #TheComeyRule Subscribe…

Rapid Fire Questions: Tommy Dorfman and Rainey Qualley • Love in the Time of Corona • Hulu

Get to know the cast of #LoveInTheTimeOfCorona as they answer #RapidFireQuestions. All episodes of Freeform's Love in the Time of Corona are now streaming. SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe to our channel for the latest shows & updates: http://www.youtube.com/hulu?sub_confi START YOUR FREE TRIAL http://hulu.com/start FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hulu/…

Timothee Chalamet & Armie Hammer Having Sexual Tension for 5 Minutes Straight

Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer together? Say no more. We are absolutely here for it! » Rent Call Me By Your Name on Prime Video: https://amzn.to/2ZJhdDo » SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/PrimeVideoSubscribe About Call Me By Your Name: Amid the summer splendor of 1980's Italy, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire that will alter…

Black Box – Official Trailer

#WelcomeToTheBlumhouse #BlackBoxMovie Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. (Born With It) and script by Osei-Kuffour Jr. and Stephen Herman, Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie (Jurassic World 3, The Circle), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), Amanda Christine (Colony), Tosin Morohunfola (The Chi, The 24th), Charmaine Bingwa (Trees of Peace, Little Sista), and Troy James (The Flash, Scary Stories to…

Star Trek Day 2020 | Dominic Keating On The Items He Kept From The Star Trek: Enterprise Set

Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) had a little help lifting a few items from the set of Star Trek: Enterprise. Stream full episodes of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access. Subscribe To "CBS All Access" Channel HERE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrRttZIypNTA1Mrfwo745Sg For more content from "Star Trek: Enterprise," click HERE: https://bit.ly/3lQSHtH Watch full episodes…

Hispanic Heritage Month | STARZ

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with us all month long! Enjoy your favorites like #Vida, #TheSpanishPrincess, #MaidinManhattan, and more on the #STARZ App now. #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Like STARZ on Facebook: http://starz.tv/STARZFacebookYT Follow STARZ on Twitter: http://starz.tv/STARZTwitterYT Follow STARZ on Instagram: http://starz.tv/STARZInstagramYT Visit STARZ on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1mkHKgZ

Our Cartoon President | Season 3 Ep. 10 | Full Episode (TV14)

Coronavirus. With the pandemic ravaging the country and his reelection in jeopardy, Cartoon Trump launches a propaganda campaign to convince America he's got the crisis under control. Mid-season premiere. Order SHOWTIME to watch more. TV14. Watch new episodes of Our Cartoon President on Sundays at 8:30/7:30c on SHOWTIME. #OurCartoonPresident Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel:…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here