The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden

Park Chan-wook (2016)

18 Certificate


Our Score
With The Handmaiden, Korean master of mischief Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) bends the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith to his wicked will. Transporting the action from Victorian Britain to Korea under Japanese rule, he retains much of the plot but dresses it up in a way that's characteristically macabre. A young thief (Kim Tae-ri) is persuaded to pose as the handmaiden of an heiress (Kim Min-hee) and smooth the path for her con-artist associate (Ha Jung-woo). He plans to spirit away the wealthy woman from her monstrous uncle (Jo Jin-woong) and more pertinently, her fortune. In a beautiful marriage of form and narrative this tricksy, multi-layered erotic crime caper unfolds in a spectacularly sinister country pile that combines English and Japanese architecture and gradually surrenders the story's secrets. As the women discard the shackles of oppression, off too come their clothes and while the romance that develops between them is undermined by the lascivious approach, the whole enterprise is presented with such breathtaking panache, intricacy and humour that it's impossible to resist.


A conman posing as a count hires a petty criminal to help him marry a Japanese heiress by becoming her handmaiden and persuading her to accept his proposal. Psychological thriller based on Sarah Waters' bestselling novel Fingersmith, starring Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo and Cho Jin-woong.

Cast & Crew

Lady Hideko Kim Min-hee
Sook-hee Kim Tae Ri
Count Fujiwara Ha Jung-woo
Uncle Kouzuki Jo Jin-woong
Miss Sasaki Hae-suk Kim
Director Park Chan-wook
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Other Information

Language: Korean, Japanese +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: Curzon Artificial EyeGuidance: Sex scenesAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 14 Apr 2017