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Eun-yi is a playful young woman, a good match for a job as nanny to a precocious child, Nami, the daughter of a wealthy couple, Hae-ra and Hoon. Hae-ra will soon have twins as well. The majordomo, Mrs. Cho, is the household's cold stone center. Before long, Hoon seduces Eun-yi, and when Mrs. Cho tells Hae-ra's mother about the affair, Eun-yi is up against women with wealth, power, and no conscience. Can Eun-yi maintain her dignity and perhaps even put the family in their place? Written by
A misunderstood artistic drama with a couple of flaws
This movie is a remake from a film of the same name released back in 1960 but both movies are quite different and don't have the same story line. In the original feature, the housemaid seduces a composer and menaces his family until a bloody ending. In the new version, the sexually predatory femme fatale has become a poor and naive girl that gets seduced by an arrogant, cold and pitiless rich man. When she gets pregnant, the host family wants to get rid of her. But neither several attempts on her life nor money can't convince the young woman that wants to keep her child. She even ignores good advices from several friends and colleagues and decides not to quit the powerful family. When abuse, hatred and pressure reach their highest point, the young woman seeks for justice and has to fight not only a very influent and wealthy family but also her inner demons.
The strong points of the movie are definitely the portrait of the clash between rich and poor in modern South Korea and the quite credible acting. I also liked the movie for its artistic approaches. The opening scene shows a scene in the middle of a big city and portrays the everyday life in South Korea before a young and unknown woman commits suicide. Her story remains untold but the idea of showing a lost soul within a big and vivid crowd is an interesting symbol for the main story of this feature. It's the same thing with the final scene of the movie that works like a picture. It portrays a very superficial family portrait where frustration, resignation and sadness is covered by tasty champaign, luxurious decorations and expensive gifts. This last image resumes the entire movie in a short and visual way. It was a good idea to keep those scenes as they add something special to the feature.
Even though the acting in this movie is done rather well, I couldn't get any connection to any of the portrayed characters. While this kept me away from entirely enjoying the feature, I now think that this was the intention of the movie maker. Everybody does some big mistakes in this movie and shows his or her negative sides. Of course, some characters are worse than others but in the end they all ran blindly into tragedy.
The problem I have with the movie is that there are many lengths. It is all quite slow paced and also very predictable. The movie has some dramatic and melodramatic scenes but it lacks of true suspense. Some critics called this movie a flamingly sexy soap opera but I definitely can't agree on that. I actually think that this film is misunderstood by many Western critics. The sex scenes are cold and at some points even disgusting. I think that the director wanted to show us that even in normally exciting and positive moments, the characters are brutal and emotionless. This fits well to the rest of this coherent and quite detailed movie but none of the characters has any kind of sex appeal.
Another point I have mixed feelings about is the main character of the housemaid. Even the actress said in an interview that she still doesn't quite now who she portrayed. This mysterious image is intriguing first but gets quite frustrating in the end. Some actions of the housemaid are not only naive but are simply not logical at all. Especially the final scenes felt like a letdown in my humble opinion. The ending is definitely the only truly surprising element of the movie and gets therefor some credit from me but it somehow feels hardly credible. I would even call the ending unreal and didn't quite enjoy it.
In the ending, this movie is hard to sit through. It has many lengths, lacks of true emotions and has a weird disappointing ending. On the other side, it's an interesting portray of modern society in South Korea and convinces with many artistic elements. The movie feels like its characters as it is sophisticated but somewhat lacks of depth. Anybody who's looking for a sexy thriller or a twisted crime flick will be quickly disappointed. This movie is for those who look for an artistic drama only. I recognize the good intentions and efforts made by the makers of this movie but I didn't like it enough to truly recommend it or watch it again in the end.
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