Monday, December 19, 2016

The Handmaiden Movie Review

Ha Jung-woo & Kim Ming-hee (r) star in The Handmaiden

My Sweet Bluebird

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: From Park Chan-wook, the celebrated director of Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst and Stoker, comes a ravishing new crime drama inspired by the novel 'Fingersmith' by British author Sarah Waters. Having transposed the story to 1930s-era colonial Korea and Japan, Park presents a gripping and sensual tale of a young Japanese Lady living on a secluded estate, and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but who is secretly involved in a conman's plot to defraud her of her large inheritance. Powered by remarkable performances from Kim Min-hee (Right Now, Wrong Then) as Lady Hideko, Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) as the conman who calls himself the Count and sensational debut actress Kim Tae-ri as the maid Sookee, The Handmaiden borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with Park Chan-wook's singular vision and energy to create an unforgettable viewing experience.

"A maid is like a pair of chopsticks. Her presence is little noted, but her absence causes much distress." Au contraire. If you don't notice Tae-ri (or any of her equally terrific co-stars) there's something seriously wrong with you. The Handmaiden is one of the sexiest movies I've ever seen, in addition to all the other goodies you'd expect from director extraordinaire Chan-wook. This includes gorgeous cinematography (Chung Chung-hoon) betrayal, humor, suspense and (of course) a few juicy twists. Toss in a decadent, mesmerizing story (Sarah Waters' Fingersmith) and you have one of this year's best bets. "Spellbindingly beautiful" indeed.

Grade: A-