An impoverished wife and mother desperate to provide her daughters with the ao dais' (a traditional tunic slit down the sides and worn over pants) required to attend school takes on a most non-traditional part-time job in director Huynh Luu's melancholy period drama.
French colonial rule on Vietnam is on the verge of collapse, and hunchback servant Gu (Nguyen Khanh Quoc), who works for the puppet governor, longs to be wed servant girl Dau (Trong Anh Ngoc). Though the pair lacks the traditional means to marry, Gu bequeaths his love with the ao dai he has carried since childhood and the pair forms a faithful union.
When Gu's master is assassinated, the pair quickly flees and relocates to the seaside village of Hoi An. Twelve years later Gu and Dau have started a family. Though the couple barely makes enough money to sustain themselves, much less two daughters, Dau is determined to ensure that her girls have proper ao dai's by the time they reach school age.
In order to raise the finds needed to make her dream a reality, Dau accepts a part time position as a wet nurse to a wealthy old man without telling her husband.
Later, when Gu finds out what his wife has been doing to earn money and the bombs fall ever closer to their home, rising tensions in the once happy household mirror an encroaching threat that will soon lead to tragedy for all involved.