Using the idiom of melodrama but not the clichés, Dang explores the regrets and contradictions provoked by the new materialism which has swept Vietnam with the government's economic reforms. As a schoolteacher, Loan lost the man she loved; already married, he left on an illegal boat to seek his fortune overseas. Three years later she's unhappily married to a go-getting nouveau riche businessman when her first love comes back. Vastly more accomplished than most Vietnamese films, this is original and sincerely felt. And its ending is a real surprise.