The Handmaiden (2016)
October 8, 2017 2:33 PM - Subscribe

From Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Stoker), adapting Sarah Waters' 2002 novel Fingersmith. 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.

Trailer (NSFW)
Rotten Tomatoes (95%)
AV Club (A-)
posted by soren_lorensen (9 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ugh, I'm dying to see this. I read Fingersmith earlier this year, and I'm not sure I entirely loved it, but I'm generally enthusiastic for foreign adaptations (and things set in Korea).
posted by glitter at 6:11 PM on October 8, 2017

This was fantastic. I saw it at a film festival last year and it was a visual feast. The storyline was interesting and the acting was good, but the sumptuousness of the visuals really put it over the top for me. I've never read Fingersmith so I can't say how true to the story it was, but Park Chan-Wook certainly put his own stamp on it. There was a scene that reminded me a bit of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, the only movie I've come close to walking out of because it was so uncomfortable--you know that graphic violence is happening but you don't necessarily see the bulk of the violence.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:31 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's on DVD now and streaming (free on Amazon Prime or rental from your favorite streaming service).
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:29 AM on October 9, 2017

THIS WAS SO ZANY. I loved Fingersmith (TOTALLY fun read - highly recommended). This had a lot of the same charm, then went off the deep end. It was too violent for my tastes (which I recognize are old-fashioned). Aesthetically it was... good. There's a lot of weird subverted male gaze going on... kind of Russ Meyeresque in a way of both slobbering over sexy naked women and visualizing them with extreme power.

I will say it inspired a lot of conversation in my community (well, on my wife's facebook) about lesbian scissoring. A poll of our lez friends revealed that some of us have indeed done it. But, it's not like, a frequent mode of sexual expression!
posted by latkes at 2:07 PM on October 9, 2017

It was, all at once, the most and least uplifting thing I'd seen in months.
posted by queen anne's remorse at 6:46 PM on October 9, 2017

Woah, I had no idea this was based on Fingersmith. Definitely going to see it now, thanks!
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:37 AM on October 10, 2017

This was good. I was hooked by part 1 but I didn't quite see that tonal shift coming for part 2. The old guy's death was too peaceful for what he did to Hideko's aunt.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 3:33 PM on October 22, 2017

This is an absolute treat. A classic film noir through and through. We ended up seeing an extended edition which was incredibly long, but we couldn't turn it off for a minute.
posted by Catblack at 7:43 PM on November 17, 2017

Catblack, what does the extended version cover?
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 11:22 PM on November 17, 2017

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