‘Mai’ 2024 Ending Explained & Netflix Film Summary: Did Mai And Duong End Up Together?


Mai, directed by Tran Thanh, is a heartfelt story about a single mother living in a kind of society that demeaned her, ridiculed her, and created as many obstacles as they could in her way. Mai is a story of resilience, and it teaches us that being happy is a choice. It is a story of love, regret, conflict, and moving on in life, even when your heart aches at the mere idea of it. So, let’s find out what happened in the film and whether our protagonist was able to achieve what she set out to do.

Spoiler Alert

How did Mai and Duong meet? 

Mai moved into a new neighborhood and started working as a masseuse in a local spa. Mai was pretty good at what she did, and very soon she made a lot of loyal customers who came back to the spa just so that she could give them a massage. Obviously, there were others who felt jealous of her success, and they just wanted to find a way to get the better of her. But Mai harbored no such negative feelings, and she kept doing her work sincerely. Even Mai’s neighbors caused a lot of trouble for her, and she realized how difficult it was to be a woman in a patriarchal society. The men in her colony tried flirting with her, and when she didn’t reciprocate, they labeled her as a woman of loose character. The worst part was that the wives of those men blamed Mai for seducing their husbands, and the poor woman just bore all the insults and kept quiet. Mai had a daughter named Binh Minh, who was very supportive of her, and they shared a beautiful bond with each other. Mai was very young when she conceived Binh Minh, and we never got to know who the father was, as Mai didn’t like discussing too much about her private life.

A young composer and pianist named Trung Duong lived in the flat right opposite Mai’s. He saw Mai a few times passing by, and he was smitten by her. Duong went to a massage parlor one day, and he found out that Mai was a masseuse. He started going there quite often, and he made sure that Mai knew that he liked her and that he wanted to take things forward. Mai considered him to be an immature crybaby, and she never took him seriously. Mai was too apprehensive about being in a relationship with anybody at that point in time because her life was a mess, and she didn’t know how much the other person would be comfortable dealing with the baggage of her past. Mai’s father had a gambling addiction, and time and again, he lost the game, and then Mai had to spend her hard-earned money to repay his debt. She was sick and tired of fighting and resisting her impulse to shout at everyone who made her life a living hell. Duong was persistent, and he kept finding opportunities to cross paths with Mai. Mai also started liking his company, as that was the only time she felt happy. Duong and Mai started dating, and the former invited her over for dinner at her mother’s place as he wanted her to meet her family. It was the calm before the storm, and Mai had not imagined how her life would change after making that visit. 

What did Duong come to know about Mai’s past? 

Mai got to know that Duong’s mother, Dao, was also one of the customers who came to her spa. Dao was shocked when she found out that her son was dating her masseuse, and she decided to talk with Mai one-on-one. Dao told Mai that her son was not the best match for her because his life was a mess, and he was still living on her money. Dao told Mai that she liked her and said that it was up to her to decide if she wanted to stay with her son or not.

Meanwhile, Mai faced a lot of hostility at her workplace, too, as one of her colleagues harassed her. Mai made a resolution that she was not going to be bogged down by society in general and that she would fight back with the same tenacity and fierceness that others showed towards her. One day, Mai and her colleague got into a fight, and the former made sure that the next time, everybody thought twice before they thought about bullying her. Mai came back home, held Duong’s hand, and took him with her. She made the choice that nobody could come between her and her happiness. She decided to be selfish for once, but fate had other things planned for her. Duong’s mother knew about Mai’s father’s gambling addiction once she paid his debt, but she had no clue about other scandalous things that happened in Mai’s past. Mai’s father, back in the day, forced her into prostitution because he wanted money, and by doing so, the selfish man traumatized her for life. Mai became pregnant during that time, and she made the decision to keep her baby even when she knew the consequences of doing so. She knew that when her daughter would grow up, people would ask all sorts of questions about the father, and she would have to answer them. Duong’s mother offered money to Mai’s father and asked her to reveal all the secrets about her.

Duong’s mother basically wanted to bribe Mai and her family so that they would leave her son and let them be. There was a huge family drama at the end of the film, and Duong’s mother became unconscious due to all the stress combined with her ongoing health issues. Mai decided that it was best for both her and Duong to get separated, as she didn’t want her family to suffer because of her. Duong didn’t want to do that, as he really loved Mai and couldn’t imagine his life without her. Mai told Duong to go ahead with his life and not wait for her. Mai and Duong parted ways, though both hoped to meet each other sometime in the future when things were not as bad as they were in the present. 

Did Mai And Duong End Up Together? 

There was a lot of frustration inside Mai because whenever she felt that her life was coming back on track, something happened that turned it upside down. But Mai loved her life, and she became the manager of a luxury spa in a city named Dalat. She left her toxic past behind, and even Binh Minh started doing well in her career. Years later, Mai saw a familiar face in her spa, and she realized that it was Duong. Mai and Duong both got emotional after seeing each other after such a long time. Duong had also moved on in his life, just like Mai had told him back in the day, and he had gotten married. Duong and his wife were going to have a baby boy, and Mai was happy for them. Mai told Duong that she, too, had a guy in her life, and she was happy with him.

Duong wanted to ask Mai if she wanted to be friends with him, but Mai stopped her even before he could utter a word. Mai was a mature woman, and she probably knew that being friends after sharing such an intense relationship was not something she was comfortable doing. We got to know at the end of the film that Mai wasn’t dating anybody, and she had just told Duong that so that he wouldn’t get sympathetic towards her. It was a heartbreaking ending, as we realized that Mai never really moved on from Duong. She imagined what her life would have been if Duong’s mother had accepted her into her family. She cried in the cab, but she accepted her reality. Maybe Mai and Duong weren’t meant to be together, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t have regrets. Maybe eventually they would accept their fates and move on with their lives. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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