At The Height Of Summer Review

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On the anniversary of their mother's death, three sisters living in Hanoi unravel long hidden secrets.


Following The Scent of Green Papaya and Cyclo, great things are now expected of Vietnam's Tran Anh Hung. There's a sense of disappointment, therefore, that this leisurely treatise on retaining dignity in the direst of circumstances is just a touch confusing and self-indulgent.

Set in Hanoi, the story follows three sisters, each of whom has a closely guarded secret. Restaurateur Suong (Nguyen) discovers her husband has a second wife; newly pregnant Khanh (Lê) suspects her writer spouse of having a mistress; while free-spirited waitress Lien (Tran) innocently shares a bed with her brother until Mr. Right comes along. Admittedly slight, this densely plotted and intimately enacted arthouse soap is nevertheless enhanced by Mark Lee's lush imagery and Ton That Tiet's inspired score.

An absorbing movie about public façade and private secrets.