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