Oldboy director Park Chan-wook turns to the past for a BAFTA-winning sensual, florid adaptation of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith.
1930s Korea is under the control of the Japanese empire. Young maid Sookee is hired by Hideko, a reclusive heiress who lives in a sprawling mansion under the watchful eye of her domineering Uncle Kouzuki. But Sookee harbours a secret: she has been recruited by Fujiwara, a scheming con artist posing as a Japanese Count, to trick Hideko into entrusting him with her fortune. However, when Sookee and Hideko develop unexpected feelings for each other, more double-crossing comes into play. The machinations of the plot make The Handmaiden a compelling watch, but director Park’s sumptuous visuals and his willingness to unsettle add beauty and tension in equal measure.
BBFC Certified 18 - strong sex, sex references
★★★★★ “At once a superlative thriller and a deeply erotic character study, but it’s the intelligence, mordant wit and depth of characterisation that are the real turn-ons” - Andrew Lowry, Empire
★★★★★ “A brilliant adaptation” - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian