IMDb > A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Janghwa, Hongryeon
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A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) More at IMDbPro »Janghwa, Hongryeon (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   41,265 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Jee-woon Kim (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for A Tale of Two Sisters on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
13 June 2003 (South Korea) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Our sorrow was conceived long before our birth See more »
Plot:
A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
15 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
So solid in construction, so consistent in tone and so beautifully disorienting See more (233 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Kap-su Kim ... Moo-hyeon Bae (Father)

Jung-ah Yum ... Eun-joo Heo (Stepmother)

Su-jeong Lim ... Soo-mi Bae (Janghwa)

Geun-young Moon ... Soo-yeon Bae (Hongryeon)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Woo Ki-Hong ... Sun-kyu
Dae-yeon Lee ... Su-mi's Doctor
Seung-bi Lee ... Mi-hee
Park Mi-Hyun ... Mrs. Bae (Su-mi's and Su-yeon's Mother)

Directed by
Jee-woon Kim  (as Kim Jee-woon)
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jee-woon Kim  screenplay (as Kim Jee-woon)

Produced by
Jae-Won Choi .... executive producer
Jeong-wan Oh .... producer
Jung-Wan Oh .... executive producer
Ki-min Oh .... producer (as Oh Gi-Min)
 
Original Music by
Byung-woo Lee 
 
Cinematography by
Mo-gae Lee 
 
Film Editing by
Hyeon-mi Lee 
 
Art Direction by
Geun-hyeon Jo 
 
Costume Design by
Soo-Kyung Ok 
 
Visual Effects by
Wook Kim .... visual effects supervisor
 
Other crew
Alex Panagakis .... publicist
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Janghwa, Hongryeon" - South Korea (original title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated R for some violence and disturbing images
Runtime:
Korea:115 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:MA | Australia:R (DVD rating) | Brazil:12 | Brazil:14 (DVD rating) | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-18 (self applied) | France:-12 | Germany:16 | Hong Kong:IIB | Ireland:16 (original rating) | Ireland:18 (re-rating) (2005) | Japan:PG-12 | Malaysia:U (re-rating) | Malaysia:18SG (uncut version) | Mexico:B15 | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R13 | Peru:18 | Philippines:PG-13 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:12 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:R

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Jee-woon Kim originally wanted Ji-hyun Jun to play Su-mi.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the hospital scenes, there is no scar on the back of Su-mi's hand.See more »
Quotes:
Eun-ju:There's something strange in this house.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Is this based on a novel?
Who are the ghosts that keep appearing around the house? (I.E. from under the sink, the window, etc.) Also explain their presence in the film.
See more »
161 out of 197 people found the following review useful.
So solid in construction, so consistent in tone and so beautifully disorienting, 25 August 2004
Author: Brian Thibodeau from Sarnia, Ontario

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS goes the furthest of any Asian horror film in proving that Asian horror films are the only horror films you really need to watch. As someone whose grown to love Asian chillers, and as someone who lives for those precious moments when a film actually surprises with a twist ending that I didn't see coming (or at least suspect), I was totally blindsided by this film's intricate plotting.

The set up is simple. Two girls return from the hospital after an extended illness with their father to an imposing, rural, Korean-Gothic house. Almost immediately, their snarky, vaguely condescending and suspiciously omnipresent stepmother (Yeom Jeong-ah, who played a pivotal character in TELL ME SOMETHING) is on them, welcoming them and criticizing them in equal measure (a not-unfamiliar Korean trait, though it deliberately borders on parody here). The tension between the three women only grows thicker from there, as the stronger sister (Im Su-jeong) protects - and increasingly, harmfully overprotects - the weaker sister (Mun Keun-yeong) from the stepmother, who may be a stronger threat than either of them can handle and who blithley informs them that life's a bitch sometimes and she ain't gonna go away!

Obviously, relationships in the household have deteriorated to the point of open hostility and mindgames to which only the puzzlingly sedate father seems immune. Just when one wonders how much better - or worse - things were before the girls were sent away, the filmmakers drop the first of two twist-bombs that instantly provide clues to the pre-story, hints at a possible murder in the very recent past and makes the viewer replay the preceding hour in their mind from a whole new perspective. Absolutely brilliant, but it doesn't end there.

The feud continues - and the hints at prior foul play multiply - until the father decides enough is enough and finally turns to outside help to smooth things over, at which point the puzzle starts to become diabolically clever.

I can see where just about anyone reviewing this film has to remain frustratingly vague in regards to its psychological underpinnings, so solid is its construction, so consistent is its tone and so beautifully paranoid and disorienting is its atmosphere that upon a second viewing, you'd be hard-pressed not to stare at your companion's face (or the collective faces of an audience, preferably) instead of the screen as the realization sets in.

Structurally, comparisons could be made to similar supernatural American thrillers (one in particular from recent vintage) where the ending forces you to reevaluate all that has gone before - and, of course, to rescreen the film to see if the director was sharp enough to include the visual cues you obviously missed. Only this time out, supernatural explanations are not required to understand the bizarre, seemingly paranormal goings-on inside the house. Quite the opposite, really, as suspension of the audience's belief in the supernatural is the film's ultimate goal (after gleefully, necessarily trading in spook show delights for the better part of two hours, no less), and a more clever mechanism by which to do it I've yet to see, even in the consistently intelligence-rewarding pantheon of Asian horror.

Truly a fantastic, artistic piece of movie-making. Highly recommended. (Incidentally, if you purchase the Korean Special Edition DVD, there's a lengthy series of deleted scenes that, while fascinating and informative in their own right, ably demonstrate how tricky this film must have been for the director to pull off . Though several of the scenes clearly give away just a teensy bit too much information, once you've seen the film, it's nice to see how they actually further support the psychological intentions of the filmmakers yet, at the same time, had to go.)

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
When does Crying Moon Ver. 2 (music) plays?! sephiroth1-953-765008
Can someone explain the dinner scene? edwintrinh09
Not a horror, so much more... liljebla
Mental Hospital - Su-Mi (Spoiler) sephiroth1-953-765008
Audition vs. A Tale of Two Sisters paperline
The Original Tale... amandadawnblock
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