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The Handmaiden (2016)

Ah-ga-ssi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 1 June 2016 (South Korea)
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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 »
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Popularity
749 ( 146)
Top Rated Movies #231 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 61 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

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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
Dong-hwi Lee Dong-hwi Lee ... Goo-gai
Kyu-jung Lee Kyu-jung Lee ... Maid 1
Yong-nyeo Lee ... Bok-soon
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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 »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

KRW 10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,129, 23 October 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,005,473, 17 February 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,968,494, 22 January 2017
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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pre-sold to 116 territories ahead of its theatrical release. See more »

Goofs

In the hotel scene in Part Three, the Seiko Solar wristwatch Lady Hideko glances at was not introduced until the 1980s. See more »

Quotes

Uncle Kouzuki: I am a dirty old man who likes erotica. Everyone absorbs very story differently. That is my passion. But now, it's all over. What do I do?
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

References Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Masterclass Cinema
7 July 2016 | by ctowyiSee all my reviews

This is hands down the most perfect film I have seen so far this year. I gave a score of 5/5 to movies like The Revenant, Spotlight and The Songs We Sang. But even with these excellent films I can always find a spot that doesn't quite sit right with me. With The Handmaiden, it is perfect; every frame handcrafted to perfection. Even with 4min of explicit sex taken away by my country's dumb censors, this is still perfect every way I see it.

Auteur Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaiden is a superb exercise in form, structure and tone. With the latter, Park (Oldboy & Joint Security Area) has achieved something extraordinary. If any scene were to linger a few seconds longer or he had decided to focus on a certain issue, the film would have veered off to a different territory. As it is, and with all the major characters' kooky off-kilter portrayals, I can't pinpoint whether I was watching something real or abstract. I was also kept in awe by the intricate and resplendent set- design which suggests something dark and Gothic is working the undercurrents. There are of course some serious girl on girl action but that never encroaches into the spine of the story.

Adapting Sarah Waters' Fingersmith, a Victorian tale awash with all manner of Dickensian motifs, Park spins an engrossing tale that ebbs and flows with a Hitchcockian suspense; it withholds as much as it discloses; it is an erotic tale that beats with raw fervour. It is at once a love story but also a menagerie showcasing human beings in their vilest forms. Park's finger hovers over all the buttons, teasing us gleefully but it is with the ultimate restraint that he never descends down to the usual tropes. The story is divided into three chapters; each told from a different character's perspective. The structure is Rashomon-esque but Park puts his own stamp on it. The film may be nearly 2.5 hours but I hardly moved in my seat; my senses kept spellbound as each twist hits me hard. When it ended I couldn't believe 2.5 hours have whizzed by. The plot is pulsating and it never lets up. There is even an octopus in it! This is definitely the most perfect film I have seen this year. You may not agree with me but for me this is cinema of the masterclass level.

It's sexy time!


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