Today: July 20, 2024

The Third Wife

Inspired by the history of director Ash Mayfair’s family, The Third Wife is a coming-of-age story in a time when women were rarely given a voice. 

Set in late 19th Century rural Vietnam, fourteen-year-old May is given away in an arranged marriage to an older man. May learns that she can gain status and security if she gives birth to a male child. This becomes a real possibility when she gets pregnant. However, her path is fraught with danger when May starts to develop an attraction for Xuan, the second wife. She must either carry on in silence or forge find her own path. 

There’s here’s no doubt that The Third Wife has a story to tell, and it does so in a way that evokes the beauty and poise of classics such as The Last Emperor. However, this is a film that will divide its audiences. Many will see it a powerful tale of freedom and choice. Others will see story of child-marriage, oppression, and abuse, wrapped up in pretty set pieces. 

The truth is, the past is rarely palatable, and these stories do need to be told. The question, is whether it’s better to tell them as The Third Wife does—as a sensuous and seductive costume drama. Or accept that what we’re seeing—particularly the young girl’s ‘wedding night’—may be important, but it’s not especially entertaining, despite the guile and beauty of the production.

A beautiful film, but a tough watching experience.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

Previous Story

The Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

Next Story


Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.


Following early screenings, Longlegs mania became something bigger than anyone could have predicted. After an eerie and ambiguous marketing campaign made up largely of short, cryptic teasers, hype was already pretty high

Inside No 9 Complete Collection Unboxing

Earlier this year, one of the finest television creations in the history of the medium came to a poignant conclusion after 9 impeccable seasons. Over 55 self-contained episodes, Inside No 9 made

A Bittersweet Life Unboxing

Taking a brief detour from horror, Second Sight Films have given their much-loved Limited Edition treatment to South Korean neo-noir thriller A Bittersweet Life (2005). Filmmaker Kim Jee-woon may jump wildly around

The Conversation Unboxing

Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece of paranoia The Conversation celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and StudioCanal are marking the occasion with this utterly beautiful Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray release that even

Halo Season Two Unboxing

While the Halo TV series continues to be controversial with longtime ‘fans’ of the franchise for petty reasons, this year’s explosive second season certainly marked an improvement over the first. With better
Go toTop

Don't Miss

The Cat and the Canary

The Cat and The Canary is a ground-breaking masterpiece of

Bodyguard Kiba 1 & 2

Based upon the celebrated manga by  Ikki Kajiwara, Bodyguard Kiba follows the