8.1/10
83,356
166 user 327 critic

The Handmaiden (2016)

Ah-ga-ssi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 1 June 2016 (South Korea)
Trailer
1:08 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

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 »
Reviews
Popularity
762 ( 36)
Top Rated Movies #230 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 61 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Oldboy (2003)
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In a small Korean province in 1986, three detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After being wrongfully imprisoned for thirteen years and having her child taken away from her, a woman seeks revenge through increasingly brutal means.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Shi-hoo Kim
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' friend's daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Byung-Hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Joon-Hyuk Lee
The Wailing (2016)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Soon after a stranger arrives in a little village, a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman, drawn into the incident, is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

Director: Hong-jin Na
Stars: Jun Kunimura, Jung-min Hwang, Do-won Kwak
The Chaser (2008)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A disgraced ex-policeman who runs a small ring of prostitutes finds himself in a race against time when one of his women goes missing.

Director: Hong-jin Na
Stars: Yoon-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Yeong-hie Seo
Thirst (2009)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways.

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hee-jin Choi
Burning (2018)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood as him, who asks him to look after her cat while on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.

Director: Chang-dong Lee
Stars: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun
Mother (2009)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A mother desperately searches for the killer who framed her son for a girl's horrific murder.

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Hye-ja Kim, Won Bin, Goo Jin
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug-and-organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.

Director: Jeong-beom Lee
Stars: Won Bin, Sae-ron Kim, Tae-hoon Kim
Parasite (2019)
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

All unemployed, Ki-taek's family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident.

Director: Joon-ho Bong
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo
Edit

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:
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 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
Kyu-jung Lee Kyu-jung Lee ... Maid 1
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

KRW10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,129, 23 October 2016

Gross USA:

$2,006,788

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$37,746,660
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The Count uses a propane gas lighter. That was impossible in 1930. 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

Version of Fingersmith (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Pieces for Harpsichord: Suite in E minor, Tambourin
By Jean-Philippe Rameau
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Tour De Force!
19 September 2016 | by Stijak91See all my reviews

The controversial film from Korean master Chan-wook Park evokes the sexiness of Abdellatif Kechiche's "Blue is the Warmest Colour" and Park's own signature violence and thrills. Set in the 1930s Japanese occupied Korea, it's a story of a young female pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri) who becomes a handmaiden to a beautiful Japanese heiress (Min-hee Kim). However, she must manage to convince the heiress to marry a conman (Jung-woo Ha) who poses as a count, for which she will get a chance for a better life. She gets into a moral dilemma when she starts developing feelings for the heiress.

The Handmaiden is a triumph on every level. The film is divided into three chapters, all giving different perspective. This way, the story is perfectly structured to give more and more insight as the film progresses, but at the same time, keep the viewers guessing. It offers a few surprises along the way as well. Visually, it's a feast for the eyes. The term "every frame a painting" gets overused, but it really fits here. I'm not only talking about cinematography, which offered plenty of memorable shots and beautiful scenery, but the costume and set design. The three leads all gave terrific performances. Musical score by Yeong-wook evokes, or better said, amplifies the emotions and the suspenseful tone. Despite the run time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, it never gets dull, it's very evenly paced throughout. I couldn't look away for a second.

One thing needs to be addressed, the film is quite explicit. That being said, it never gets vulgar, the sex scenes are done in perfect taste, they never feel out of place and they're not there just for the sake of it. The relationship between the characters and the physical presentation of it are integral to the film. It's a film about passion, abuse, jealousy, betrayal and deception, but most of all, it's an atypical love story, which will make one love and hate the protagonists at the same time. It's original and daring work of art that will stick with viewers long after it's finished.

Whenever Chan-wook Park makes a film, it must undoubtedly be compared to his masterpiece, "Oldboy". I don't think that "The Handmaiden" surpasses it, but it comes very close. With this film, he proved himself to be one of the greatest working directors today. It's the best film I've seen this year, one that I can't wait to revisit. It's not to be missed.


55 of 78 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 166 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed