Is being pretty and poor a sin? Yes! According to Ho Ngoc Xum’s Con Nha Ngheo, a TV series based on Van Ho Bien Chanh novel of the same title. Luu (Bao Chau) is a beautiful but poor lady who was raped and abandoned by Hai Nghia (Thanh Hoang), son of a rich and powerful family. Sounds familiar? Even though the storyline is nothing new, Ho Ngoc Xum has done a great job of keeping the series short and to the point; therefore, the pace does not drag on forever like a soap opera.
“Sau con mua troi lai sang (after a heavy rain, the sun shines again).” After the first dramatic opening with the rape and the injustice, the film moves viewers toward a brighter side of life. The lunch scene on the rice field makes me want to leave this cold place and go back to live a simple life. The husband works on the rice field. The wife brings him a simple lunch. They gather together with the son eating ca kho (braised fish in caramel sauce) and cucumbers with rice. It’s just a perfect life. Simple but filled with happiness.
The performances are simple and natural. Bao Chau is beautiful and Minh Dat is handsome. Together, they are an ideal couple and the chemistry between them is perfect. Le Vu Cau, Minh Phuong and Thanh Hoang have done fantastic jobs as supporting roles. Hong Van is a great comedy actress, but not so convincing in a serious role. I must give her credit for taking on a challenge that is not her usual style.
The only negative aspect of Gai Nha Ngheo, as well as other Vietnamese TV series, is the dubbing. Why don’t they use the actors’ real voice? Hong Van sounds so unnatural with someone else’s voice, especially when I am so used to her high-pitched vocals. Other than that, the film is entertaining. A great time killer for our grandmas.