6 thoughts on “The Handmaiden (2016)

  1. It admittedly may be just me, but I found the book very confusing. I lost track of whose plot was occurring when. Does either film adaptation make it clearer? I promise I’m not a complete goober, and I actively look for BIPOC and queer authors. NK Jemisin and A.K. Lockwood are current favorites.

    1. “Does either film adaptation make it clearer?”

      I went into The Handmaiden (Ah-ga-ssi) blind, being unfamiliar with the source material, and had no trouble understanding it upfront. In that sense, I’d say it’s clear. Now, it does get progressively weirder as the film goes on, but thankfully it doesn’t try to confuse the audience early on. It lets the audience get used to the world of the story for a minute before it introduces twists and turns.

      So I would recommend checking it out.

      1. Yes – Handmaiden substantially reworks and simplifies the back third of the novel. We lose some of the mirroring and inverting between the two lead women that that part of the book deals with but in return, I think it’s a lot easier to follow. I also think Handmaiden does probably the best job of pacing out how it reveals the central twists of the plot. I really enjoy it!

  2. I quite enjoyed the film was I saw it. Visually pleasing, refreshingly salacious, and I appreciate the “happy” ending. Kim Min-hee is great in it and I think she’s elegantly pretty; the camera seems to love her face.

  3. I loved this adaptation and also loved Kim Tae-Ri (who plays the handmaiden) in Mr. Sunshine, a wonderful series which has 24 episodes and absolutely stunning costumes, both traditional Korean and western costumes from the 1870s. Lots of pretty pretty people in beautiful clothes!

  4. https://star.mt.co.kr/stview.php?no=2016062908351149071
    I wondered the same re: Hideko’s distinctly un-1930’s costumes. According to costume designer Jo Sang-gyeong ^, the in-universe explanation is that time stopped in the 1910’s for the sheltered/confined Hideko. The practical reasons were that 1. the script had a corset scene, and 2. Jo felt that the 1920’s and 1930’s were overdone in (Korean) film already.

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