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The Handmaiden (2016)

Ah-ga-ssi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 1 June 2016 (South Korea)
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1:08 | Trailer

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A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

Director:

Chan-wook Park

Writers:

Sarah Waters (inspired by the novel "Fingersmith" by), Seo-kyeong Jeong (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
762 ( 36)
Top Rated Movies #230 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 61 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Min-hee Kim ... Lady Hideko
Tae-ri Kim ... Sook-Hee
Jung-woo Ha ... Count Fujiwara
Jin-woong Cho ... Uncle Kouzuki (as Jin-woong Jo)
Hae-sook Kim ... Miss Sasaki (as Hae-suk Kim)
So-Ri Moon ... Aunt of Lady Hideko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Si-yeon Ha Si-yeon Ha ... Maid 3
Ha-na Han Ha-na Han ... Junko
Ha-dam Jeong Ha-dam Jeong ... Maid 5
Eun-hyung Jo Eun-hyung Jo ... Young Hideko
Eun-yeong Kim Eun-yeong Kim ... Maid 4
In-woo Kim In-woo Kim ... Audience Member
Si-eun Kim Si-eun Kim ... Maid 2
Dong-hwi Lee Dong-hwi Lee ... Goo-gai
Kyu-jung Lee Kyu-jung Lee ... Maid 1
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Storyline

1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions. Written by CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never did they expect to get into a controversial relationship...


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean | Japanese

Release Date:

1 June 2016 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The Handmaiden See more »

Filming Locations:

Nagoya, Aichi, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

KRW10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,129, 23 October 2016

Gross USA:

$2,006,788

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$37,746,660
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Moho Film, Yong Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the actor Jung-woo Ha, as Count Fujiwara is a Con Man, he has proficiency in lies and deceit. However, one way to see his intentions is by the language he's speaking. He speaks Japanese when he's lying but speaks his native Korean when telling the truth. See more »

Goofs

In the hotel scene in Part Three, the Seiko Solar wristwatch Lady Hideko glances at was not introduced until the 1980s. See more »

Quotes

Sook-Hee: My aunt said when you hear that guests will come, drop everything and go bathe the children. The guests like the smell of a clean baby. Miss, you are my baby. My aunt also said, give the babies candy when they bathe, to teach them that bath time is sweet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, the moon on the wall in the background shifts from full to new. See more »

Alternate Versions

Extended version runs approx. 21 minutes longer. See more »

Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Ladies are the Dolls of Maids
Vocals by Tae-ri Kim
See more »

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User Reviews

Engaging and attractively packaged and delivered
29 March 2017 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

I knew nothing about this film coming into it, other that it being very well considered, and that it has some strong sexual content. This is probably the best way to watch it, as I did not know where the plot was going to start or go. Essentially a con man plans to seduce, marry, and abandon a wealthy unmarried woman – taking her from her uncle and then taking her money. To do this he employs the services of a young pickpocket to work as her handmaiden, and help work the plan from the inside, so to speak.

What the film does with this basic plot is enjoyable and engaging. The narrative is solid, holds the interest without effort, and is very well paced and structured. I wonder would it work as well if I had known the source material, or had more knowledge of the wider plot. As a con, the plot is solidly enjoyable and avoids the silly flamboyance of some films where such a plot would be allowed to turn into a 'caper'. Within the plot are some surprisingly sexual elements, and these sit across the sweet, the sensual, and the dark. There is also a good amount of humor where it matters – in particular in part 1 of the film, this is used well in relation to the main character.

The direction, production values, and general pacing of the film, all work together to give it a beautiful appearance and tone. It is quite sensuous to watch, with such great colors, sets, costumes, and designs. Within this the actors are all strong. Min-hee Kim and Tae- ri Kim in particular are engaging, although the downside of me being into their characters/performances was that it made the heavy nudity in some of their extended scenes feel a bit exploitative in nature. Jung-woo Ha is solid throughout, and Jin-woong Jo is just the right level of monster for the plot to work.

A richly enjoyable film, that sits across so many elements and looks so good that it keeps the plot engaging throughout.


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