War in Georgia, Apkhazeti region in 1990. An Estonian man Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict at his door, a wounded man is left behind, and Ivo is forced to take him in.
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
Several of the characters in this film, adapted from the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, were significantly altered for this version's script. Gentleman (Count Fujiwara in the film) was a gay man in the novel whose interest in Maude (Lady Hideko) was purely monetary. In the film, the Count is a suave womanizer. Uncle Kouzuki's novel counterpart is tamer, although he isn't a saint, he was never evil and prone to cold blooded torture like his film counterpart. See more »
The Count uses a propane gas lighter. That was impossible in 1930. See more »
You can even curse at me or steal things from me. But please don't lie to me. Understand?
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During the credits, the moon on the wall in the background shifts from full to new. See more »
Extended version runs approx. 21 minutes longer. See more »
"The Handmaiden" is a crazily imaginative and beautiful movie by Chan-wook Park, who is at the top of his game in this story of a pickpocket that tries to steal the fortune of a naive, innocent rich woman that has been secluded in a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Of course, things will start to get complicated soon enough.
Chan-wook Park has done a great job in adapting the original novel by Sarah Waters, and mixing it with the history of the Japanese invasion of Korea at the beginning of the twentieth century. The plot is a little bit silly sometimes, but Chan-wook Park makes it all tight and fast-paced, and even the most silly moment becomes a moment of beauty and fun. From the first moment, the viewer will be enthralled by the story of these two women and their relationship, and every plot development will just add fun to the whole.
If the plot and the direction weren't amazing enough, the movie is as beautiful as they come. From the darkest moment, the most violent, to the most intimate, beauty transpires in every frame, and every scene comes to life and threatens to pop and break free from the screen. This is helped by the amazing work of all the cast, who does an incredible job in bringing this tale to life (it could be criticized, though, some of the heavily accented Japanese, for characters that are supposed to be able to pass as them).
All in all, "The Handmaiden" is proof that a movie can have a plot, amazing direction, acting, scenery, craziness and the most beautiful package possible. And even if it is almost two hours and a half long, it feels like a breeze.
You will fall in love with this movie. Just plain great.
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