The Handmaiden (2016)

May 16, 2022

Today’s movie of the day is 2016’s The Handmaiden, a 2016 South Korean thriller with intense drama directed by Park Chan-Wook. The film is set in the 1930s South Korea and Japan. The story revolves around four individuals; a noble lady (Hideko) who has inherited a fortune, a con man (Count Fujiwara) who is after the noble lady’s inheritance, a young female pickpocket (played as Sook-Hee) hired by the con to swindle the nobles’ fortune, and the noble lady’s uncle (Uncle Kouzuki) who is her guardian. Sook-Hee falls in love with the Japanese heiress, and two women form a plot to get away from Count Fujiwara and Uncle Kouzuki. The two women are eventually successful in their scheme, and they manage to relocate and start a new life together in a new land as a lesbian couple.

The movie has high ratings on various platforms, with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.1/10 on IMDb, and 84% on Metacritic. These high ratings are credited to the film’s storyline, the brevity of the writer’s feministic approach, and the intense drama and suspense throughout the film.

Fun Facts

1. The movie was based on the 2002 novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters. The story in the novel was set in 19th Century London.

2. Filming started on June 15, 2015, in Kunawa, Japan.

3. Filming took place in various locations in South Korea and Japan.

4. Filming ended on October 31, 2015.

5. Actress Kim Tae-Ri, who plays Sook-Hee, was selected through auditions that had approximately 1,500 applicants.

6. The film’s several sexually explicit scenes between the two main female leads sparked controversy across conservative South Korea and Japan.

7. The movie’s writer, Sarah Waters, is a lesbian, and her experiences inspired her to write the feminist work.


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