A lacerating, emotionally exhausting drama about a marriage breakup, My First Wife manages to breathe new life into familiar material.
Director Paul Cox and coscripter Bob Ellis ring a few changes. This 10-year marriage is collapsing because the wife (Wendy Hughes) not the husband (John Hargreaves) is having an affair, and it’s the husband who desperately wants her back, willing to forgive and forget everything if only she’ll return to him.
At the same time, Helen, who is obviously still very fond of him but no longer wants to live with him, can only stand by helplessly as he gradually loses his grip. Also at stake is their young daughter, Lucy, whom Helen unquestioningly believes should live with her.
Pic rings utterly true, with no false sentimentality, no firm ending.