Review: The Handmaiden

Who's watching who?

Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim) is a pick pocket hired to pretend to be the handmaiden of a Japanese heiress, Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim) by a swindler. Count Fujiwara (Jung-Woo Ha) He intends to make her fall in love with him so he can marry her and steal her riches. She's currently betrothed to and confined by her creepy uncle, Kouzuki.(Jin-Woong Jo) Sook-Hee must plant the seeds in Lady Hideko's head to fall for the Count, but when she develops feelings for Lady Hideko, things get complicated.  

The editors are kind enough to have different colored subtitles when characters are speaking Japanese vs Korean. It's little touches like that which make me appreciate the film even more. It's very well made, the cinematography is among the most stunning I've seen all year. The most amazing thing about the film though, is how laugh out loud funny it was at times. This is a heavy story, you're constantly falling into a deeper pit of deceit and to put it bluntly; shit gets really weird later on. I never expected to have so many strong laughs laced throughout. They're welcome additions and don't remove you from the film at all. 

Tae-ri Kim and Min-Hee Kim have amazing chemistry, Tae-ri plays Sook-hee with intriguing naivety and Min-Hee handles Lady Hideko with child like poise. Watching them play off each other is incredible. They tend to overshadow their male co-stars a bit, which I was fine with considering the story.

The NC-17 rating might be a turn off for some, or it will make it harder to see theatrically with the restrictions big theater chains put on them. But should The Handmaiden come to a theater near you, it's 100% worth seeing. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "Don't ever put my hand on that tiny joke of a cock of yours again." - Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim)

18 comments:

  1. That quote you use at the end made me want to see this even more than I already did, lol.

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    1. I lol'd so hard at it. It's the most random line, but it's absolutely perfect.

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  2. SO GLAD you loved this!! This is easily one of my favorites of the year. I am completely obsessed with the second part - probably the craziest thing I've seen all year (and I've seen The Mermaid), but it's weirdly grounded, somehow. I'm also in love with the cinematography. And you're right about how funny it is. Just a near-perfect movie all around.

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    1. Oh I know, I was NOT expecting any of that. It's like they kept pulling back all these layers of deceit and none of them felt forced.

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  3. Oh wow. Didn't realize it is NC-17. That may explain why it hasn't popped up in any local theater.

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    1. I didn't realize that either until I looked at my ticket stub and saw the rating on it. I knew it was fairly erotic, but I just assumed it would have a hard R.

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  4. So, yeah. In for this. Totally. Sounds fantastic.

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  5. I wasn't completely sold on seeing this until your memorable quote at the end. Count me in! :D

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    1. There's a few randomly hilarious moments in this that I absolutely loved. I hope you see it!

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  6. Great review! I'm getting a screener of this one very soon!

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  7. Now I'm more determined to see this one. Great review!

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    1. Thank you! :) I hope you like it when you do see it.

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  8. I am so glad you liked this. Such a good movie!!

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  9. Great review! I loved this one too. I agree, definitely up there with the best cinematography of the year. The twists and turns in this thing were so fun to navigate through.

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    1. Yes! Normally when twists keep coming, it's easy to tire from them but I ate up every one this film offered.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.