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The Handmaiden (2016)

Ah-ga-ssi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 1 June 2016 (South Korea)
Trailer
1:08 | Trailer
A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

Director:

Chan-wook Park

Writers:

Sarah Waters (inspired by the novel "Fingersmith" by), Seo-kyeong Jeong (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
704 ( 51)
Top Rated Movies #231 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 62 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Min-hee Kim ... Lady Hideko
Tae-ri Kim ... Sook-Hee
Jung-woo Ha ... Count Fujiwara
Jin-woong Cho ... Uncle Kouzuki (as Jin-woong Jo)
Hae-sook Kim ... Miss Sasaki (as Hae-suk Kim)
So-Ri Moon ... Aunt of Lady Hideko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Seong-Bong Ahn Seong-Bong Ahn
Si-yeon Ha Si-yeon Ha ... Maid 3
Ha-na Han Ha-na Han ... Junko
Ha-dam Jeong Ha-dam Jeong ... Maid 5
Eun-hyung Jo ... Young Hideko
Eun-yeong Kim Eun-yeong Kim ... Maid 4
In-woo Kim In-woo Kim ... Audience Member
Si-eun Kim Si-eun Kim ... Maid 2
Dong-hwi Lee Dong-hwi Lee ... Goo-gai
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean | Japanese

Release Date:

1 June 2016 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The Handmaiden See more »

Filming Locations:

Nagoya, Aichi, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

KRW10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,129, 23 October 2016

Gross USA:

$2,006,788

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$37,767,206
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Moho Film, Yong Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tae-ri Kim was a fan of Min-hee Kim's work before they met. She did not know that Min-hee would be playing Hideko during the audition. It was only in a meeting with Park after being chosen, that Park asked who her favorite actor was. Tae-ri answered Min-hee and Park was very delighted. Tae-ri and Min-hee gradually built up their friendship and trust since 2014 during the preparation stage. During Tae-ri's Best New Actress acceptance speech at Buil Film Festival 2016, she dedicated the award to Min-hee whom she ''fell in love with at first sight''. 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

[last lines]
Count Fujiwara: Even like this, dying is a luxury.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, the moon on the wall in the background shifts from full to new. See more »

Alternate Versions

Extended version runs approx. 21 minutes longer. See more »

Connections

References Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Ladies are the Dolls of Maids
Vocals by Tae-ri Kim
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sublime cinema - like Hithcock with the extremity of Oldboy and the sexual candour of Blue is the Warmest Colour.
22 July 2016 | by sossevarvoSee all my reviews

I consider Park Chan-Wook to be among the greats of cinema, alongside Scorsese, Tarantino, Fellini, Truffaut, Coppola, Tarkovsky and Nolan. So I had huge expectations going in, and boy, they were met.

TheHandmaiden is a masterpiece in pretty much every sense. It is visually exquisite, Costumes, production design, cinematography, music, all combine to create a lush vision of Japan-occupied Korea in the 1930s. Park Chan-Wook is a visually meticulous filmmaker and no film so far of his has showcased his knack for visual storytelling better than the Handmaiden. I went into this film totally blind, which I honestly recommend all people doing, because the plot itself unfolds in such a beautifully engineered fashion.

My best description of the film is a Rebecca-like Hitchcockian thriller with the extremity and depravity of films like Oldboy and Battle Royale, and the humanistic sexuality of Blue is the Warmest Colour. All actors are stunning in this film. The two women share an honest, tender romance that is both passionate and moving, with a refreshing candour about the nature of sexuality that is almost never seen in Hollywood productions. The Count is an incredibly charismatic performer who remains appealing despite his many despicable acts.

But as always with a Park Chan-Wook film, the real star is the director himself. The way in which this story is crafted is nothing short of engrossing. The outrageous, depraved, sexy, fascinating plot is crafted through multiple perspectives, dashing across back and forth in time, to masterfully reveal key plot points across a never less than spellbinding two hour run time. Some would say the film is slow, but I felt as though the extended running time worked in the film's favour, in order to build character to the extent that the finale for the film feels momentously epic, a real feat considering the movie showcases only four key characters.

I was utterly engrossed by this beautifully made film.


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