8.1/10
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107 user 301 critic

Ah-ga-ssi (2016)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 1 June 2016 (South Korea)
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A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

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Writers:

(inspired by the novel "Fingersmith" by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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592 ( 49)
Top Rated Movies #246 | Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 59 wins & 87 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Miss Sasaki
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Si-yeon Ha ...
Maid 3
Ha-na Han ...
Junko
Ha-dam Jeong ...
Maid 5
Eun-hyung Jo ...
Young Hideko
Eun-yeong Kim ...
Maid 4
In-woo Kim ...
Audience Member
Dong-hwi Lee ...
Goo-gai
Kyu-jung Lee ...
Maid 1
...
Bok-soon
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Storyline

1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions. Written by CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Never did they expect to get into a controversial relationship...


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 June 2016 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

The Handmaiden  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

KRW 10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,129, 23 October 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,005,473, 17 February 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,968,494, 22 January 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debut of Tae-ri Kim. See more »

Goofs

Mercury is a slow (typically chronic not acute) poison that will kill victims over a period of days not within minutes. Metallic mercury in the tiny amounts presented would not be lethal at all in the circumstances shown. See more »

Quotes

Lady Hideko: It would have been better if I was never born. To have never taken a breath and live.
See more »

Connections

References Oldeuboi (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Pieces for Harpsichord: Suite in E minor, Tambourin
By Jean-Philippe Rameau
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User Reviews

 
Sex Still Sells
7 November 2016 | by See all my reviews

It it preposterous that, at the time of this review, The Handmaiden had an 8.1 rating on IMDb which would make it the equal of such films as: The Wizard of Oz, The Grapes of Wrath, the Best Years of our Lives and Annie Hall. And that would rank it higher than Shane, The African Queen, The Searchers, and Sophie's Choice. All of the aforementioned films are among the top 100 films of all time, according to the AFI. Nor was this movie overrated by one demographic group.

This movie did not have an MPAA rating but would certainly have deserved an X rating with the number of explicit sexual scenes. None of this would matter if the sexuality needed to be so explicit to advance the plot. It didn't.

There are movies which are fundamentally about a sexual relationship, and are honest about it, such as The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover or the Last Tango in Paris. One should expect THESE films to be quite explicit. The Handmaiden is NOT such a film. There IS a story being told and EVEN THOUGH the father is quite depraved it is not necessary to exploit this in telling the story. In fact, it is a diversion from the telling of the main story line.

So why was the story told in this way? The answer is clear: sex sells. It even sold a substantial number of those who reviewed the film at IMDb. Amazon appears to have mastered the use of the sensational. Now it is true that there is some excellent cinematography, but that cannot redeem this film.

Clearly, a film goer cannot depend on IMDb or even on the combined ratings of the critics to find worthy entertainment. More caution is required.


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