Written August 22, 2009
Vietnamese director Tran Ahn Hung's first-time writing/directing effort is nothing short of an ethereal cinematic experience! The first-ever film from Vietnam to be slated for a Academy Award nomination in the best foreign film category tells the simple (but hardly simplistic) tale of a poor young girl's journey into womanhood as she works diligently for a merchant family in prewar Saigon, circa late 1950s. She strives and struggles along with the quietly dysfunctional group as the patriarch deserts the household and leaves them to fend for their survival in an ever-changing climate. When the mother can no longer provide for the young woman, she is traded to a wealthier family friend who slowly becomes entranced by the lovely, unpretentious soul and overpoweringly beautiful acts of unadulterated love ensue. Exquisitely produced and photographed, delicately acted and directed, this one-of-a-kind movie will gradually work on your senses like an invigorating tonic and leave you astounded!