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“Ex-Husband, Ex-Wife, Ex-Lover”: Is happiness a competition or a tolerance choice?

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 04:30 AM (GMT+7)

Bringing overlapping relationships from the past to challenge the present, the film “Ex-Husband, Ex-Wife, Ex-Lover” is being widely received and discussed by the audience.

The film revolves around a newlywed Vietnamese-Giang couple. Both have been hurt in love, they were lucky to find each other and decided to get married and live in the same house. The story just begins here, because life doesn’t stop like a fairy tale always ends well with a wedding. The appearance of “old people” constantly disturbs the newlywed life of the couple. From Viet’s 18-year-old daughter, his ex-wife, to Vu – Giang’s ex-lover. Even more ironic when Vietnamese girls “fall in love” with Vu.

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Complicated relationships with the “ex” is an important factor in developing the plot in Ex-Husband, Ex-Wife, Ex-Lover.

The audience can easily see a part of themselves through the characters, because how many people are lucky enough to go to a fairy-tale wedding with their first love? We all have someone in the past, the person next to us was also with someone else. The old person is always a complicated, indescribable existence, everyone knows it, but few people say it out but only understand each other, which is probably the best way to be happy with the present. Of course, the scriptwriter won’t let viewers sit in front of the screen for 45 minutes every night just to see how perfect Viet-Giang’s wedding is, so the “old people group” takes turns getting involved. The story becomes more complex and dramatic than most stories in real life that the audience is experiencing.

A relatable perspective, with curiously powerful conflicts holding audiences back. But behind the contradictions for us to watch and talk about, this film is much more than that.

Old topic, very Vietnamese perspective

Putting “old people” in movies is not a new thing. Movie It’s Complicated (2009), starring Meryl Streep, tells the story of a divorced couple who reunite at their son’s graduation. The two began a relationship that was both passionate and irresponsible, because by this time the ex-husband had a new wife. And the ex-wife is also having vague feelings for the architect who designed her kitchen.

TV series The world of marriage (The World of Married – 2020) of Korea revolves around a housewife who always puts her husband and children first. She divorced her treacherous husband, but at one point, she allowed herself to repeat the mistakes of her ex-husband and his lover – now his ex-husband’s new wife.

Another Korean drama that has caused a lot of controversy is Penthouse (The High Fight – 2020/2021. The film is not only hot because of the struggles, intrigues, cunning tricks, and dark secrets beyond imagination, but also because of the complicated relationships and constantly changing roles: ex-husband, new wife, Old classmates, old lovers, new enemies, new allies…

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The Upscale War (2020/2021) attracts visitors partly because of its complicated relationships and lightning-fast changes.

The films mentioned above often focus on the drama, ouch, the betrayal that happens as a matter of course when the character gives up on lust in relationships. Love and hate, tragedy and comedy are pushed to the highest level to make viewers unable to take their eyes off the screen, making the audience scream: So it is possible.

Ex-Husband, Ex-Wife, Ex-Girlfriend also relies on complex relationships to develop drama, thereby putting the character in a difficult position. There are still calculations, selfishness, desires, awkwardness, but the direction of the story, the collision situations in ordinary life, and especially the character’s handling make a difference.

Attempts to resolve the problem by peaceful means; find a balance between the emotions of resentment, anger to understand and tolerate while possible; that’s what the main characters are trying to do from the beginning of the movie to the present. Typically Giang, a sharp, intelligent woman. She will not respond maliciously to hostility from her husband’s stepdaughter, even sometimes accepting temporary unreasonable requests (When Mai Anh asks Giang to have dinner out, don’t come home so that her friends are comfortable). Giang’s handling may not be the best, but it clearly shows her desire: To live happily with her husband’s children.

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Giang (La Thanh Huyen) encountered many difficulties because of Mai Anh (Quynh Trang) – her husband’s stepdaughter.

This is also the mentality of the vast majority of Vietnamese: no matter what happens, keeping the family warm is still the most important thing. Because family is a place to go back to, to lean on, to love and to be loved.

That made the audience nod: It should be.

Then in the next episodes, the scriptwriter will add more turbulence to Giang and Viet, will the trust and sweetness last if the “old people” suddenly launch a “new trick”? But no matter what happens, even though they may lose their way, believe that the characters still find a way to keep peace and happiness in their house.

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