My First Wife

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My First Wife is about the decline of a failing marriage and the emotional fall-out. It begins with a couple whose relationship is on the rocks and ends with their separation and child custody battle. John is a self-absorbed, self-obsessed musician who has been married for ten years. His wife has been unhappy for much of this time, but he has so far been oblivious to this fact. One day, his wife, Helen, announces that she is leaving him and taking their daughter with her.

John is devastated. He learns that his wife had multiple affairs with his closest friends and the two fight over their past, their current emotional distance, and the deep betrayal caused by her cheating. Helen asserts that John was too distant, too absorbed in his work, to notice that her needs were not met emotionally and John argues that, in spite of that, he never cheated on her and that cheating is always wrong. At the same time, John's father is dying of a terminal illness alone in a hospital. John goes to visit him and watches as he dies in utter agony.

The story dips into dream sequences where John is imagining having sex with his wife and rethinking their marriage. At another point, John dreams about the time she gave birth to their child and this causes him to fall into a deep, paralyzing depression.

In the meantime, divorce proceedings begin. John begins to attack Helen and the fighting in the courtroom quickly beomes vicious. John's depression overcomes him and the film shows that his concept of reality is mostly filled with nostalgic dream sequences, fantasizing about what could have been with his wife.

After months of grueling fighting, Helen and John reach some kind of peace. Helen will be moving to a new place with their daughter and John will have visitation rights. That she will continue the affair with one of his close friends is implied.

PG
| 1984 | 1 hr 36 min | 6.9/10
Cast
John Hargreaves, Wendy Hughes, Lucy Angwin, David Cameron
Director
Paul Cox
Produced By
Paul Cox, Jane Ballantyne
Language
English
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My First Wife
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Also starring John Hargreaves