The Handmaiden (2016) Poster

Parents Guide

Add to guide
Showing all 37 items



Sex & Nudity

  • A woman complains about a sharp tooth and another woman grabs a file to smoothen it, which quickly becomes sensual as she starts sucking on her finger.
  • A man kisses a woman's breast before being drugged by her, and wakes up with no underwear or pants on. His butt can be seen for a few seconds.
  • Extremely detailed and graphic sex scenes. At one point we even see a face covered in vaginal fluid.
  • This is an erotic thriller, so the movie is based around sex. The sex scenes are extremely graphic and explicit, and at one point we even see a face covered in vaginal fluid.
  • Strong sex scenes include a man thrusting into a woman, and female characters engaging in oral sex, digital penetration, 'scissoring' and the use of sex toys. There are also brief scenes of BDSM activity in which male and female characters sustain, after being whipped, weal-like injuries to their buttocks. In other scenes a female character tells erotic stories that include strong sex references.
  • Apart from the above scenes, the film also contains explicit descriptions of sexual activities.

Violence & Gore

  • We see a woman's dead body hanging from a tree.
  • A young girl is hit on the knuckles three times by a metal bell. We then see her bruised and bloody knuckles.
  • A man's buttocks is seen with whip marks on it as he is held in a press/sexual device.
  • A man wearing gloves covers the faces of a woman and young girls and aggressively shakes their faces and then removes his hands.
  • Four servants are slapped aggressively by a woman.
  • A woman is slapped.
  • A woman pushes another woman into a small bedroom/closet and shuts the door on her.
  • Discussion of suicide.


  • Multiple uses of f**k, c**t, c**k, and s**t, often used in graphic sexual dialogue and context.
  • Other sexual and anatomical references.
  • Uses of bitch, ass, damn, hell, and other insults.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Drugs: (Recreational) None
  • Characters occasionally drink wine and sake.
  • A character constantly smokes throughout the film.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Some instances of period typical homophobia may be upsetting to certain viewers, as one character describes it as a "sickness."
  • Appropriate rating would be: (Deleted. Personal opinions are not appropriate for the Parents Guide.)
  • Adapted from the novel 'Fingersmith' by Sarah Waters, 'The Handmaiden' revolves around a complex plot hatched by a Korean conman, who masquerades as a Japanese aristocrat Count Fujiwara, to seize the wealth of heiress Lady Hideko. He seeks help from a young pickpocket Sookee by getting her to work as Hideko's handmaiden. However, Sookee finds herself drawn sexually to Hideko, and soon, they make steamy love in a lot more ways than one.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Sex & Nudity

  • A man and a woman begin kissing in a bedroom, implying that sex occurred as the next scene shows the bedsheets covered in blood. It is later revealed that she only cut her hand to stain the sheets as she refused to sleep with him.
  • A woman opens a book and is disgusted when she finds erotic art on two pages. Disgusted and shocked, the woman breaks the pages of the book.

Violence & Gore

  • Torture scene involving individual severing of fingers
  • A man cuts off another man's fingers one by one with a paper cutter. He then drills a hole in his other hand. We see the severed fingers as they are thrown into a bucket. Brutal, but mostly off-screen.
  • Another woman tries to hang herself from a tree but is caught and saved by another girl below.
  • We see a creepy basement filled with jars of severed genitals.
  • Two men die from mercury poisoning.
  • A woman cuts her hand with a knife. We see blood drip onto a mattress.
  • A woman transfers opium-laced wine into a man's mouth and he passes out.
  • A fire is set off in a mental asylum and people scream and run around as firefighters enter the flames to put it out.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Opium is introduced as a method of suicide, and later is used to sedate a character.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • A young girl finds her aunt hanging from a tree, having committed suicide. Very disturbing and sad.
  • A very grotesque and disgusting scene is when certain characters are taken to a basement filled with jars containing severed genitals.
  • A character is committed into an asylum and endures abuse at the hands of its runners.

See also

Taglines | Plot Summary | Synopsis | Plot Keywords

Recently Viewed