The Vertical Ray of the Sun (2000)
"Mua he chieu thang dung" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  24 May 2000 (France)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,027 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 49 user | 50 critic | 21 from

With the brilliant Vietnamese summer as a setting Vertical Ray of the Sun is beautiful from beginning to end. The plot centres around three sisters, two of whom are happily married (or so ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Tran Nu Yên-Khê ...
Nhu Quynh Nguyen ...
Le Khanh ...
Quang Hai Ngo ...
Chu Hung ...
Manh Cuong Tran ...
Tuân Anh Lê ...
Ngoc Dung Le ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Doan Viet Ha
Long Le Vu
Aidan Nguyen
Anh Tuan


With the brilliant Vietnamese summer as a setting Vertical Ray of the Sun is beautiful from beginning to end. The plot centres around three sisters, two of whom are happily married (or so it appears). The youngest sister is single and living with her cute older brother, whom she is desperately in love with. A second sister is married to a man who has another woman and child elsewhere whom he loves just as much as his wife -with a few conditions, she agrees to carry on with the marriage. The third sister and her husband are overjoyed to discover she is pregnant, and though he is tempted, her husband remains loyal to her. Charming, slow-paced, face value, family saga film. Written by K Wedgwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One day. Many lives. A family. Lovers. An eternity. A hope. A delay. A secret. Happiness. Lies. One summer.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sex-related material | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

24 May 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Vertical Ray of the Sun  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$29,339 (USA) (6 July 2001)


$455,187 (USA) (21 December 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2010 (2010) See more »


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User Reviews

A celebration
4 July 2002 | by (New Delhi, India) – See all my reviews

I wish the director of the movie was a good friend and that I could pick up the phone and tell him what a marvelous film it is. I love The Vertical Ray of the Sun and purely for the reasons of aesthetics. Although I agree that the story-line leaves something to be desired but that's not important to me. I loved the brilliant art direction of Vertical Ray. This film could be a masterpiece.

The use of colors and imagery of the setting is done in a manner so astonishingly beautiful that one wonders if such a film could be made. That such a place indeed does exist. The Vertical Ray of the Sun draws its strength not from cleverness, titillation or intimidation but from its beauty, simplicity and goodness.

The most "illuminous" scene, as one reviewer puts it, is the one between Lien and Khanh when she tells him with her eyes lowered and with a wonderful smile on her face that she's pregnant. Another thing I loved about it is that it brought me closer to the 'Far' East. I live in India and Vertical Ray was perhaps my first movie from that part of the world. It was wonderful watching another country mirror the same values that we hold so close to our heart. Like that prayer scene... the respect they show for elders, the whole family living together. This makes me like these characters immensely.

Having said that, the film could have done with a few less affairs. I have no problem with the love scenes. I think they have been portrayed with exceptional beauty. What I found a little unpalatable is the fact that a middle-class Asian family was shown uncharacteristically active while pursuing happiness outside the conventional boundaries. I understand that the Director, though from Vietnam lived in France most of his life. I think we face this problem even in India. I'm talking about filmmakers who live in the west and come back every year or so to make movies on OUR lives, interpreting it the way they want it. Anyway, that's a tiny little thing.

I found a revealing quote from the art director on aesthetics of the movie: "Taking a cue from the director, a context, or a story, you begin to think in terms of red, green, yellow or blue... the choice of sets, their conception, their arrangement takes on a particular resonance and the design becomes an actor in its own right." Vertical Ray of The Sun is a celebration.

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