DRAMA; 1hr 42min
STARRING: Nammi Le, Andrew Hazzard, David Field
Secret lives: Le
Supporting her struggling family with income from escort work leaves Linh (Le) straddling three worlds. Her social anthropology studies at the University of Sydney make up one. The nights on which, as call girl Mai, she secretly services variously needy men, ferried by a driver (Field) whom life no longer fazes, are another entirely. Then there are her conservative Vietnamese parents, who believe she is a part-time catalogue model.
With prostitution still a contentious moral target, it’s imperative to Linh that these dimensions remain compartmentalised. She sees her work as a financial necessity and, being coolly intelligent, is seemingly easily able to separate her actual self from it. She even has a boyfriend (Hazzard) who suspects nothing. But dominoes this precariously stacked are bound to topple.
Writer-director John Duigan (Sirens) doesn’t break revolutionary ground; still, his cautionary story has the moral thrust of a fable and the noirish pull of a looming day of reckoning. For me, Linh is too self-possessed to be entirely sympathetic. Even so, her compunction to fulfil her familial obligations and the judgemental societal perception of prostitution ring absolutely true.