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Korean superstar director Park Chan-wook brings Sarah Waters’ sapphic Victorian potboiler Fingersmith to the screen, changing the setting to Japanese-occupied Korea at the beginning of the 20th century. The result is a sumptuous, sensual and occasionally sadomasochistic film unlike anything else you will have seen this year.
"...sumptuous, sensual and occasionally sadomasochistic"
Young Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri), the orphaned daughter of a thief and a master pickpocket, is packed off to become a maid for the beautiful, enigmatic Hideko (Kim Min-hee), who lives in seclusion with a creepy uncle who plots to marry her for her inheritance. Sook-hee herself is part of a rival plan, masterminded by a conman known as The Count (Ha Jung-woo) who hopes to marry Hideko himself, take her money and lock her in a mental asylum. But what the men didn’t plan for is the sexual attraction between the two women and the budding relationship that ensues. Full of double-crosses and eroticism, the plot twists (as well as some of the sex scenes) will have you gasping.
The production design on The Handmaiden is nothing short of extraordinary. From the costumes to the props, every item seems to take on a triple meaning as you navigate your way through this mysterious tale of love, passion and revenge.