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Park Chan-wook was best known for the action thriller Oldboy before he adapted author Sarah Waters’ sensual crime novel Fingersmith and moved it from Victorian England to Japanese-occupied Korea.

Sook-hee has been trained by her family to scam and pickpocket, and to do it well. When a conman hires her to help obtain the inheritance of a rich heiress living with her eerie uncle, the payoff is irresistible. But Sook-hee finds that the heiress is more beautiful, mournful, and irresistible than she could have imagined, and begins to doubt the conman’s schemes. As the double-crossing becomes triple-crossing, and plans go awry, it seems to be that the only one Sook-hee can rely on is herself.

Praised by critics as an excellent adaptation that shows the breadth and depth of Park Chan-wook’s directorial skills, The Handmaiden is a lush romance where not everything is as it seems. Love triangles can’t begin to describe the complexity of this tangled web.

South Korea
Park Chan-wook
145 minutes
Korean and Japanese language


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