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  • The buzz on this film is ringing out loud. A remake of the original film by Kim Ki-young, widely considered one of the top Korean films of all time, this updated version by Im Sang- soo is a lot more revealing and explicit in nature for the modern audience probably sensitized to it, being one of the films selected for competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and its two limited screenings during our Korean Film Festival were one of the earliest to have sold out. Needless to say it makes good sense for a commercial release here.

    The premise is simple, where Eun-yi (Jeon Do-yeon) got invited by Byung-sik (Yun Yeo-Jong) to serve in an uber-rich household made up of three members - the master of the house Hoon (Lee Jung-jae), his very pregnant wife Haera (Seo Woo) expecting a pair of twins due anytime soon and hence the need for an extra help around the house, and their daughter Nami (Ahn Seo-hyeon) with whom Eun-yi forms a strong friendship with, since a child is non-judgemental on someone's background and social standing.

    As much as most would like Eun-yi, a divorcée, to enter the household and see an opportunity to seduce Hoon, this is not that movie, and neither was that the motivation at all. We see the fairly impoverished background that Eun-yi came from, and living amongst the rich and powerful provided a chance to live the high life, since the family is extremely wasteful. With Byung-sik showing her the ropes necessary to do her job, from the bowing to the serving, the cleaning and being at the beck and call of the household members, the hardship probably is well worth it for the perks that come with the job, ones that are beyond the reach of ordinary folks.

    So when things turn, you'll find yourself wondering the exact motivation she allowed herself to open up (pardon the pun) to the come hither of the master of the house, who has a penchant for alcohol and being brought up with a silver spoon, there's no such thing as a No to any of his request, although on the outside he may be that rich gentleman, it's not far- fetched to think that these folks would consider money as the basis for all things going their way, and money being the basis to bail themselves out of trouble, and to keep the mouth of others shut. Money as the root of all evil, probably couldn't be more true here if those with the means decide to abuse it, given the mindset of theirs that they can always get away from the blame game.

    But what's more engaging in the film is the power play amongst the characters, who are well, mostly female, fawning over the attention, the riches and the ability of what the man in their life can offer. There's Byung-sik being extremely envious with her protégé she introduced to the household, being the unjaded hard and younger worker who earns the trust of the family, and probably she had wanted to show the young upstart her place in the hierarchy established. And of course the main cusp of the problems Eun-yi will face stem from the child in her, threatening the balance of power especially that of mistresses and maid, with stuff that's what television melodramas get made of. To the audience, we don't feel that Eun- yi is of the scheming type, but to the other women, here's a chance of their objectives being detailed by something most unfortunate, a major threat that can come sooner or later in their lives that they have to act, and stop now.

    Jeon Do-yeon deserves all the acting accolades she has received thus far for her role, and we feel the pain she has to go through in having traumatic experiences forced upon her just because she's in no position to bargain, until the defining moment in the finale where she gains the upper hand but at what a price at scarring the family for life. I haven't seen Lee Jung-jae in action since Il Mare, and here he does an about turn in a negative role that portrays the caddish behaviour of someone who has it all, while the young Seo Woo portrays the wife that's quite reasonable to begin with, that typical tai-tai but with innocence, until hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    It is the power struggles and the changing of the household dynamics that makes The Housemaid an engaging watch as we witness an internal rot that was waiting to happen. While it may not reach the heights of Kim Ki-young's original, Im Sang-soo's version still keeps things tight and is a wonderful exploration of how perceived threats redefines relationships especially that amongst those with material benefits. Recommended!
  • This movie is a remake from a film of the same name released back in 1960 but both movies are quite different and don't have the same story line. In the original feature, the housemaid seduces a composer and menaces his family until a bloody ending. In the new version, the sexually predatory femme fatale has become a poor and naive girl that gets seduced by an arrogant, cold and pitiless rich man. When she gets pregnant, the host family wants to get rid of her. But neither several attempts on her life nor money can't convince the young woman that wants to keep her child. She even ignores good advices from several friends and colleagues and decides not to quit the powerful family. When abuse, hatred and pressure reach their highest point, the young woman seeks for justice and has to fight not only a very influent and wealthy family but also her inner demons.

    The strong points of the movie are definitely the portrait of the clash between rich and poor in modern South Korea and the quite credible acting. I also liked the movie for its artistic approaches. The opening scene shows a scene in the middle of a big city and portrays the everyday life in South Korea before a young and unknown woman commits suicide. Her story remains untold but the idea of showing a lost soul within a big and vivid crowd is an interesting symbol for the main story of this feature. It's the same thing with the final scene of the movie that works like a picture. It portrays a very superficial family portrait where frustration, resignation and sadness is covered by tasty champaign, luxurious decorations and expensive gifts. This last image resumes the entire movie in a short and visual way. It was a good idea to keep those scenes as they add something special to the feature.

    Even though the acting in this movie is done rather well, I couldn't get any connection to any of the portrayed characters. While this kept me away from entirely enjoying the feature, I now think that this was the intention of the movie maker. Everybody does some big mistakes in this movie and shows his or her negative sides. Of course, some characters are worse than others but in the end they all ran blindly into tragedy.

    The problem I have with the movie is that there are many lengths. It is all quite slow paced and also very predictable. The movie has some dramatic and melodramatic scenes but it lacks of true suspense. Some critics called this movie a flamingly sexy soap opera but I definitely can't agree on that. I actually think that this film is misunderstood by many Western critics. The sex scenes are cold and at some points even disgusting. I think that the director wanted to show us that even in normally exciting and positive moments, the characters are brutal and emotionless. This fits well to the rest of this coherent and quite detailed movie but none of the characters has any kind of sex appeal.

    Another point I have mixed feelings about is the main character of the housemaid. Even the actress said in an interview that she still doesn't quite now who she portrayed. This mysterious image is intriguing first but gets quite frustrating in the end. Some actions of the housemaid are not only naive but are simply not logical at all. Especially the final scenes felt like a letdown in my humble opinion. The ending is definitely the only truly surprising element of the movie and gets therefor some credit from me but it somehow feels hardly credible. I would even call the ending unreal and didn't quite enjoy it.

    In the ending, this movie is hard to sit through. It has many lengths, lacks of true emotions and has a weird disappointing ending. On the other side, it's an interesting portray of modern society in South Korea and convinces with many artistic elements. The movie feels like its characters as it is sophisticated but somewhat lacks of depth. Anybody who's looking for a sexy thriller or a twisted crime flick will be quickly disappointed. This movie is for those who look for an artistic drama only. I recognize the good intentions and efforts made by the makers of this movie but I didn't like it enough to truly recommend it or watch it again in the end.
  • One evening in a busy city center, a restaurant worker, Eun-yi, witnesses a young woman preparing to throw herself from the upper floor of an apartment block, and the incident leads her to change her way of life. She takes the position of housemaid to a wealthy tycoon, who lives in a luxurious residence with his beautiful pregnant wife, their precocious young daughter and a strict housekeeper. Eun-yi likes the job, but it's soon apparent she and her handsome employer are attracted to one another - and one night he shows up in her room, offers her wine and commands her to pleasure him orally. Later he adds a bonus to her salary, and Eun-yi is not displeased when he returns on a subsequent night to have sex with her. Unfortunately the housekeeper observes them and informs her boss's wife - whereupon the wheels of intrigue are set in motion with a vengeance.

    The luminous De-yeon Jeon portrays Eun-yi as a character full of interesting contradictions in an assured, sensitive performance, and the first half of 'The Housemaid' is filmed in a sumptuous style of Korean noir that provides a fine showcase for her acting skills. Each scene is beautifully composed and shot at a measured pace - but as the conspiracies and chicanery accumulate in the second half, the film transforms into Gothic melodrama - until the final moments when it descends into the lurid Grand Guignol of Asia Extreme. It's a disappointing conclusion to a story that had promised far greater substance and sophistication.
  • For once a remake that's not a blueprint of a classic movie with its integrity taken from it to cash away on its acclaim. This I watched the following day from watching the 1960 one, a bit sceptical I must admit. That turned out to be unwarranted as this adaptation is more inspired by than copying the original.

    What we get here is a uncharming view of the nouveau riche and the naive housemaid picking up what is thrown to her. The direction is amazing, location is stunning, sultry sex-scenes abound, clever plot and a breathtaking ending is some of the things this movie will reward you with. All main actors/actresses fit their role perfectly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Beware. Spoilers ahead.

    Kim Ki-young's The Housemaid (1960) shocked audiences half a century ago for its bold, disturbing look at lust, greed, and revenge. It centered on a family whose husband was seduced by a maid he had hired to help with housework. The devious maid wielded sexual control over the husband, ill-treated his materialistic pregnant wife, and their two children – a crippled daughter, and a mischievous boy, causing despair and anguish to everyone. The film then spiraled into unimaginable depths that explored the worst of human nature, climaxing with an ending that was as shocking as it could get.

    Im Sang-soo, the director of the remake, takes Kim's material and gives it a modern reworking. The result is very disappointing, considering that it is based on a source material. The story and characters are generally quite poorly developed. This is because the characters now take on reverse personalities: The husband now seduces the maid, who reciprocates the action by complying with his sexual needs. Furthermore, the maid is portrayed as innocent while the wife's malleable character is easily taken advantage of by others. The couple also has a daughter without any kind of disability.

    All these changes point to some very serious flaws in the film – the near absence of sexual tension, shallow character development, and the surprisingly lackluster storytelling that grinds along laboriously. Worse, every scenario seems to occur conveniently so as to push the narrative along, rather than as a result of genuine expression of character motivation. In the original, the piano took on an added significance, that of a tool for seduction, but in Im's film, it is merely a prop.

    The filmmakers have also taken the misstep of shooting the film in a setting of luxury. The characters are very rich, snobbish, and lead extravagant lives. They can force people to do what they want, and solve problems with money. Therefore, there is no real danger that their lives would turn for the worse. This is in direct contrast with Kim's film, whose work had a deep, consistent feeling of dread, which is translated visually by depictions of the maid's diabolical intentions.

    The stinging social commentary about men's infidelity does not surface here. Is it because times have changed? If anything, Im's The Housemaid promotes male chauvinism, and in an indirect way, female victimization. Before the cringe-worthy final sequence that "reeks" of Park Chan-wook-style surrealness, there is a disturbing scene of the maid hanging herself and then burning to death in front of the terrified family. Her motivation to commit suicide is not fleshed out very meaningfully, leaving the film to end in a whimper.

    Emotionally shallow and vacant, The Housemaid's saving grace is its quite admirable camera-work that moves in a slow, deliberate style. How did this film even get into Cannes? It is a question only the jury could answer. My advice is to skip this and watch the original. You will be greatly rewarded for doing so.

    SCORE: 5/10 ( All rights reserved!
  • In this remake of a popular 1960 Korean film of the same name, Jeon Do-Yeon plays the titular character, Eun-yi, who is hired as an upper class family housemaid, tasked to take care of the family's small daughter and her pregnant mother, Hae-ra (Seo Woo). Overseeing her efforts is Byung-sik (Yun Yeo-jung), an older housemaid who has been with the family for a long time and holds many secrets. Hoon (Lee Jung Jae), the master of the house, takes advantage of his social position and begins a secret affair with Eun-yi. Once it is discovered Eun-yi may be pregnant, Mi-hee, Hae-ra's mother, plots a way to get rid of Eun-yi's unborn baby despite Eun-yi's wish to keep it and leave the house.

    While the original film was a suspense thriller, this one isn't quite as easy to pinpoint. While there are aspects of an erotic thriller, this film is partly a character study and a satire about class struggle. The film starts off with a random suicide as a girl jumps off a roof onto the busy street. This event isn't really related to the main plot, unfortunately (which I admit would have been more interesting to follow up on). The scene portrays a cold, apathetic society as kids pull out their cell-phones to take a picture. Thus, the film starts off with a bit of a dark, off-kilter, cynical feel.

    One of director Im Sang-soo's previous films, The President's Last Bang, was a satire focusing on the assassination of the dictatorial Korean president Park Chung Hee. While this film isn't particularly comedic as that film, it has elements which seem heavy-handed and too outrageous to take seriously. As a thriller, it isn't very convincing. One of the obvious problems is the portrayal of Eun-yi, who is shown here as sympathetic, naïve, and more of a victim, the opposite of the original. Unlike the rich folks, who eventually take advantage of her, she is likable and kind.

    Jeon Do-Yeon does well with the role that is written for her. As good and fine as she is in almost every role she plays, it truly would have been something special to see her play a really mean, nasty character—there is no doubt it would have been a wonderful departure and a suitable challenge for this talented actress. Then again, I suppose it's like asking Natalie Portman to play Annie Wilkes from Misery. It's just unimaginable. Would it have been cool to see? Of course. The real villain role is given to Hae-ra's mother, Mi-hee. She plays the all-too-familiar "evil stepmother" role that appears to frequent Korean TV dramas as of late. Yun Yeo-jung is memorable as the older housemaid, Byung-sik, who remains constantly interesting and complex. Lee Jung Jae plays the rich master role with aplomb and brings subtlety to what is relatively a simplified and underused character. Advertisement

    The film has some great visuals, particularly the interiors of the mansion, full of deep reds and whites. The camera work is hand-held and rougher near the beginning, particularly in the street scenes, and becomes more static and calculated as the film focuses more on the rich family. The film is sexually-charged and the seedy nature of the relationship between Eun-yi and Hoon, along with their motives, is never quite explained.

    The story is overly simple, I felt, and I expected more twists, more believable characterization, more thrills, or something. The problem with satire is that it often pulls the audience away from fully engaging with the story or the characters, an issue that doesn't particularly work in a thriller. Perhaps it might have been better if this had not been a remake. I would guess that the fear of comparison with the original could bring a director to go the complete opposite direction in the newer film or try to turn what may be a simple story into high art (and appear intelligent). I just wish they'd just make it better by changing the name, the plot, and…well, simply being a whole new film. I suppose on the positive side, a remake does introduce a new generation of audiences to check out the original. In this particular case, I'd love to see the original just to see how much better it is than this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    On the surface this is a remake of the 1960 Korean classic with the same title. The simple plot remains the same: a housemaid cum nanny hired into a rich family in anticipation of a second childbirth becomes sexually involved with the master and gets herself pregnant. The protagonist's character, however, has been completely reversed. In the original, the protagonist Eun-yi was a scheming villain that purportedly caused the audience to scream "Kill the bitch". In this updated (cell phone included) version, she is somewhat of an enigma but with one distinct, clear attribute – complete incapability of any malice.

    The slow-burn drama happens almost entirely in the plush mansion – a jaw-dropping set design in its own right. The simple ensemble of support characters comprises the superficially charming and talented master, his young, pretty and pregnant (with twins) wife, their innocent pre-teen daughter, the typical sultry matron-type housekeeper and, later, his young-looking mother-in-law who arrives on the scene to "protect" her pregnant daughter. The story unfolds slowly, minimalistic and almost uneventful: master's "taking" of Eun-yi, discovery of the pregnancy, the three women ganging up on her, master's unconcerned, callous reaction and the dramatic, climatic finale that is stunning more in the sense of being farcical than being nerve-shattering. So what is the point?

    The fascination of this movie rests with Cannes Best Actress Jeon Do-yeon's portrayal of the protagonist that takes the word enigmatic beyond its usual definition. As I mentioned, this character seems almost entirely incapable of malice. While there are examples aplenty throughout the movie, one of the best is when she is repeatedly slapped, with the three women surrounding her. She seems devoid of the normal reaction of anger (a natural reflex even if one acknowledges being in the wrong) but simply enquires why. Although she is not exactly carnal Snow White (being a divorcée), the sexual liaison is initiated entirely by the master. Most intriguing is her facial expression during the first of such encountera when master starts to fondle her body. At times, Eun-yi displayed such a childlike simplicity that she almost looks like a simpleton and then there seems to be a part of her mental working that one cannot fathom. I have posted over 800 IMDb user reviews and watched a lot more but I have never come across a character quite like this one.

    Other things critics have pointed out is the anti-rich subtext (quite a savage attack on the contemptible rich), or an exercise in Hitchcock style. But by far the focus is on Jeon Do-yeon.
  • The synopsis for this movie seemed interesting and alluring, and it initially made me purchase the movie from Amazon. Being a fan of Asian cinema, it is always nice to stumble upon something new and (hopefully) interesting.

    Such was hardly the case for "The Housemaid".

    The story was below average, although it held no major surprises. And what carried the movie was the acting performances, as the storyline itself was just barely scraping to get by. And without giving away anything here, but the ending to that movie was just ludicrous. I hadn't seen that coming, I will give the director that much, but come on, that was just ridiculous.

    The DVD cover even has "a sexy thriller" branded on it. Hmmm, let's think about that for a second. Sexy? Well perhaps by Korean standard, but hardly by Western. Thriller? Ehm, that would be a big, blunt no!

    I was less than impressed with the movie, and it wasn't really all that entertaining. It was easy to have one's attention drifting elsewhere. The better parts of the movie was the acting, as the people cast for the roles were doing good jobs, plus the characters themselves were interesting - but they just weren't given the time or space to fully develop on the screen.

    In overall, then "The Housemaid" seems like a movie that wanted to tell a deeper story, but had to suffer from limited time or lack of creative ideas. Regardless, then there are far better Korean movies available.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lim Sang-Soo's "The House Maid" is why we have cinema. Lim Sang- Soo masterfully retells Kim Ki's original tale (1960) with imaginative alterations capturing a striking balance between eastern and western cultures. It is the sort of film, a thriller that excites the audience to no end. Lim Sang-soo has already acquired significant commercial and artistic notoriety for his movies "Girls' Night Out", "Tears", "A Good Lawyers Wife", "The Presidents Last Ban" that expertly critique Korean society. He uses his movies to explore the political and sexual tensions and repressions built into Korean Society. He is renowned for his remarkable ability to bring a richly textured and multi-layered story to the screen.

    Lim Sang-soo's film is indulgent in a plethora of tastes that can be summarized by two scenes. The older housemaid Haera (Seo Woo); swirling, sniffing, and drinking her wine roughly, professionally and for the purpose of being drunk. In perfect contrast is Hoon (Lee Jung-jae) the young renaissance man, head of his household, artfully, ceremoniously twirling his wine glass. Not a drop is spilled between the two. Hoon is a wealthy, accomplished and powerful man with tremendous confidence and precision in everything he does. He is used to getting his way. Eun-yi (Jeon Do-youn, Cannes winner Secret Sunshine), is a somewhat pure yet damaged working class maid from a much lower social status than Hoon who initially seems to be an easy conquest. Such is not to be the case.

    Lim Soo-sang is a creative genius behind the camera putting his unique stamp on the film. The film leaves no scene blemished. A clever, sensuous and sensual tale is spun that is a delight to watch. A beautiful love story blossoms and we find ourselves beginning to anticipate a sour turn. Heads up and thumbs up. Engrossing to the bitter end.

    -Ottaviano Romano
  • This reminded me of Ki-duk Kim films and the visual style of Park Chan-wook films. It's basically a remake of the 1960's movie, that basically has to do with the downfall of a housemaid from working in some rich guy's house. Although the 2010 version differs from the original in many aspects, but that doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing because it has it's own style to hold it's own. Jeon Do-Yeon plays a sweethearted and kind housemaid that grew up in a harsh environment and tries to make a living by becoming a housemaid. Her performance was amazing and Seo Woo did a decent job of playing the spoiled brat as always. And later gets tormented by the wife and the wife's mother of the house, in a very vicious manner. In fact the whole family is crazy except the daughter. This is a dark movie with a handful of sex scenes and graphic parts. There are few foreshadowing in this, but the end irritated me, because karma does not come into play. But it just shows the dark side to reality.

  • A South Korean soap opera, The Housemaid is a combination of Fatal Attraction, In the Mood for Love, and myriad other adultery thrillers. Its sensual sheen and quiet sexuality underpin a grim war between servants and the ruling class with no one winning.

    Adapted from an earlier Korean version by director Sang-soo Im, it tells of naïve Eun-yi (Jeon Do-yuon) being hired as a maid in a wealthy household, whose head, Hoon (Jung-Jae-Lee), takes her as a love interest while his pregnant wife comes to term and the other ladies gradually find out that Eun-yi is pregnant as well. While the house is meticulously modern and opulent, an undercurrent of evil runs through it as if it were a Poe tale.

    Although at times Housemaid moves slowly, especially in the mid section, no audience could be indifferent to the haughty treatment of the servants by the rich, who treat them as you might think Thomas Jefferson treated his own slaves, with decorum but decidedly selfish and cruel. Eun-yi is not totally innocent, for she enjoys the master's attention, and Hoon can be partially forgiven because of the harpies like his wife and mother-in-law, who treat him like a child, or in the case of his wife, ignore his sexual needs except to create children. That he plays a mean classical piano and drinks wine like an aristocrat used to the fineness of wealth, Hoon is partially an animal of the lowest order, giving in to his appetites protected by his wealth and his ladies.

    The final moments are the payoff as most everyone in not spared humiliation or violence. Although the connection between the opening and closing is a bit too much of a figurative and literal connection, The Housemaid holds up admirably as Gothic horror in a modern Asian setting replaying the themes of class conflict and revenge.
  • The Housemaid (2010)

    In all, this is an enchanting, disturbing, slightly above-the-fray look at a highly elite family and the interactions of mother, father, young daughter, and slightly sinister servant. And the new, young, naturally beautiful "housemaid" which is what makes this movie what it is.

    It has become so customary to film--shoot cinematographically--at the highest technical and aesthetic level, you sometimes wonder about how a story would subsist without all the visual excess. This is a dramatic, personal story about rich people abusing a good-hearted young woman who becomes their maid. But it is dressed in such elegant, beautiful, truly beautiful visuals, the story takes on an elevation that makes it what it is, something beyond.

    You have to decide whether that's a good thing or not.

    By the truly astonishing and almost preposterous end you'll be giddy with the slow, careful, deliberate prettiness of it all. I know this second-to-last scene is not meant to be preposterous, but like the key turning point on the ladder halfway through, there is a detachment from the family members that defies and upsets the apparent human intensity implied elsewhere. I suppose the very last scene, which (in its ultra-wide angle shooting) is unlike anything else in the movie, takes us to intentional absurdity, making what we've seen surreal, and in that sense we might revisit the movie and its intentions differently.

    It doesn't help to analyze the plot in particular. It's an old story--and better developed, narratively, in several other movies. The beautiful young maid is disruptive, even without trying, eventually drawing the father into the inevitable, and the mother, too, in her own way. A mother-in-law takes on an evil role, but with such cool and prettified distance it's hard to quite feel. And this movie really has at its core the problem of being understood rather than felt.

    The leading character--the housemaid--is absolutely sympathetic and well done. (This is Do-Yeon Jeon, a Korean actress with little exposure in Western cinema.) You do get the sense that this is a "knowing" film throughout--it has the intentions of being a serious new Korean film. And it is based, loosely, on one of the truly great Korean classic movies, a 1960 movie with the same name. Here, though, you'll definitely find a coolness and a lack of true emotional involvement that runs counter to the high production values. It's a film that could have been something much more than it ended up being, in terms of content at least. But it's totally engaging in its steady slowness, so if you like films partly for being well shot, give this a try.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Okay guys, so this review is going to be full of SPOILERS, so don't say I didn't warn you.

    If ever there was a film that would put you off working as a housemaid in South Korea, this is it. I mean... you work your socks off day and night, have the most confined of conditions to sleep in, get treated with disdain by almost everyone around you and the gentleman of the house can go to your bedside every night for sexual favours. While his wife is up the duff. WITH TWINS. Yes, you read that right... these rich folks can get away with anything. Of course, it helps if you're a walking doormat who apologises for every little thing and only sees the best in people. How tragically naive these days.

    And when you fall pregnant yourself, decide to keep the baby... turning down some very handsome bribes in the process, what do you think happens? Why, the wife's bitchy mother will poison your drink so you'll have a miscarriage. Nice. Obviously EVERYONE has a breaking point, even someone as meek and mild as you. So, what do you do for revenge? Shoot them all dead? Electrocute them in their sleep? Nope. You HANG yourself in front of them, and just to make sure they get the point... you self-immolate too. I don't really see how this constitutes as 'getting even'... particularly as the only one affected by seeing this suicide up close would probably be their small child who doted on you. Expensive therapy bills, here we come...

    It's a creepy film, filled with people without a moral compass and more money than conscience. It is incredibly frustrating to watch the heroine get walked on by all and sundry, only to emerge with a smile and a "Sorry" in every situation. There arrives a time to put your foot down and say enough is enough, but when things do get that far... she takes completely the wrong option. Oh well... Still, I'm not really here to report on her mistakes (But I did anyway. Suck it up). My main task is to review, and I can say it's a well made movie, with some memorably grotesque characters, a tenuous atmosphere and plenty of surprises along the way.

    Most of which I've just revealed. Oops. Still, the SPOILER tag should have clued you in. And I do like to vent... 6/10
  • This was my first Do-yeon Jeon film and I wasn't sure what to expect but I was blown away by the intensity of the films bleak undertones. Do-yeon plays the part marvelously and there are other impressive performances from Seo-Hyeon Ahn and Yeo-Jong Yun.

    I sat riveted throughout while it twisted and turned down its sometimes too obvious narrative path.

    The rather theatrical ending was a bit of a surprise but didn't spoil the films impact too much.

    I have yet see the other Do-yeon Jeon films but based on this performance I can't wait.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'The Housemaid' is based on a Korean classic movie from the 60s which I have not seen, but which is referred to by many critics and viewers knowledgeable in Korean cinema. With no term of comparison I have the (maybe) advantage of judging the film by itself. As with many other Korean films it takes a well-known genre (the rich home family drama and the relation to the servants in the house) into directions unexpected for viewers accustomed to the European or American cinema styles.

    Eun-yi is a young woman from a poor background who takes a job into a house of people so rich that no pleasure seems to be refused to them from birth. Besides housemaid she is the caretaker for the only child of the rich couple, for the time being – as the lady of the house is expecting to give birth to twins sometimes soon. She soon will find herself as the alternate object of desire for the master of the house, and when she becomes pregnant she starts being perceived as a threat to the luxurious routine of the family life of the rich. The older servant in the house, the mother-in-law and the cheated wife will thread a plot to eliminate the danger. Her chances of successfully fighting back are minimal.

    Director Sang-soo Im had the privilege of building a full house of his dreams to describe the environment the rich live, which contrasts sharply with the few realistic shots in the modern city environment. The visuals he created, sets and colors are excellent and are part of the quality of the film. I personally also enjoyed the acting, with Do-yeon Jeon in the lead role the only character with human feelings and uncertainty I could relate to contrasted to the fantasies of the spoiled and the cool interest manner the other characters around behave. The psychological pressure amplified by the surrounding is well built, and provides the justification for this story which starts with a suicide and ends with another one. The film has also an epilogue which is left open for commentary – I read it as a supplementary touch of emphasis of the social commentary in the story. The director seems to have learned and integrated some of the lessons taken from great world cinema masters as Kubrick or Bunuel, but his voice is clear and original enough in this film to expect more in the future.
  • lasttimeisaw14 August 2012
    A remake of a classic masterpiece is always been a thankless task, but since half a century has passed since 1960, when Ki-young Kim's original version came out, it is a considerable and understandable timing to do it against all odds. With the A-list actress Do-young Kim on board, at least, tedium has been successfully blocked entirely through its 106 minute running time, plus I am plain oblivious to Ki-young's version, so no prejudice by preconceived ideas will hobble my judgment.

    The karma has its default value from the beginning, which startles its audience with a young girl's suicidal jump, prefigures the ominous fate of our protagonist, whose standpoint has been intentionally set as more of an aroused innocent (suggesting by the tantalizing finger foreplay from the male part and a waiting-naked seduction from the female part) than an adultery victim thanks to a modern metabolism which signifies female is not always the submissive counterpart of the male-dominant society. But the comprehensive tone is much or less conflicts with this setting, with would cause some ambiguous reading of the abruptly dark ending (the final birthday scenery has a moderately sidestepping deviation which cannot gratify an sublimating closing.

    The film strives to distill the trite storyline (with some patent slips, e.g. the medicine swapping is cursorily done, at least taking away some original potions to keep the amount even) and saves more spatial elasticity to its actors, and the most profitable beneficiaries are Do-yeon and Yeo- jeong, both shoulder the film's strength against banality elsewhere. Do-yeon also outshines in the graphically daring sex scenes with the over-beefy Jung-Jae Lee; while Yeo-jeong is the thunder-stealer here, endowing a supporting role with a show-stopper weightiness.

    I have quite a few storage of South Korean DVDs (mostly recent ones) which I am pretty eager to watch, THE HOUSEMAID is not in the top-tier, but one thing is certain, I am hunting the original version now.
  • kosmasp24 May 2019
    I guess Housemaids can have more than one use. And they can also have ulterior motives - but does the one employed here have one? And who wants what from whom? And who is to blame for what, that has been done by whom to which other person? There are quite a few questions and you'd be excused if you think of this as convoluted.

    Or if you dig a story with lots of characters, that seem to act crazy, you will cherish this. It all leads to an inevitable if very strange ending - something that I don't think everyone will get behind or understand for that matter. But it does make (crazy) sense - even if it leaves so much open for interpretation ...
  • mot-stephane30 April 2019
    This remake completely shifts tables: while in the original 'Housemaid', the husband fell victim to an evil seducer, in Im Sang-su's social satire aims he is the bad guy, a bourgeois corrupting everything around him.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is about people who are so rich they can have what they want with little to no consequence. This includes people. They are entitled, pampered, selfish and heartless.

    This is a slow moving film and I keep waiting for the thriller aspect of this drama to ratchet up a notch but I never got what I was hoping for. The look of the film is cold. The house was lovely but the cold and almost museum-like quality really helped give the impression that it wasn't a very loving home. It didn't look as though life was happening within its walls.

    Let me just say that I don't care how much money you have, I would never let a man treat me like a ho. I also wouldn't allow a B**** who is married to a man like that, slap me around like that either. Pregnant or not, in that very moment I would've let her know she wouldn't be hiding behind those babies forever. As soon as that heifer dropped those babies I'd get hold of her A**!!!

    Was there anyone else who was expecting the head housemaid to come out and say that her son was fathered by the husband's dad? I was surprised they didn't take that route especially since she told the mother-in-law that her son wouldn't have been an attorney if not for the wealthy family.
  • The South Korean thriller THE HOUSEMAID is a remake of a 1960 classic, although I have no experience with the original. What I can say is that this is a taut and compelling movie, made with a high quality by director Im Sang-soo (thankfully no relation to his namesake, Hong Sang-soo, a pet hate of mine).

    As with many Korean movies I've watched, there's plenty of subtext here as the plot reflects on Korean society and the inequalities inherent therein. A young housemaid comes to work at the home of a rich family, only to be quickly seduced by the womanising husband. There are some extraordinarily explicit sex scenes here, but far from being an erotic thriller this soon turns into something quite different.

    The plot takes many unexpected twists and turns, and at all times is kept more than watchable thanks to a literate script and the attentions of a professional cast. Jeon Do-yeon holds it all together as the sympathetic titular character, but Yoon Yeo-jeong also makes an impression as the older, more experienced housemaid. The climax has to be seen to be believed. While the recent Singaporean housemaid drama ILO ILO is even better, THE HOUSEMAID is still worth your while.
  • rowmorg24 August 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    A beautifully directed movie about a super-rich family who unsurprisingly put their own needs first, right to the point of trying to kill the pregnant housemaid and then forcing an abortion on her. She is driven crazy by their monetary hypocrisy, offering her huge cheques at every point, including right after sex with her boss. After she is poisoned and her baby is done away with she can't take it any longer and dramatically commits suicide in front of them all at the end, even in front of the little girl she loves and who loved her. The viewer is left breathless after this powerful drama and its lethal climax. Strongly recommended: franker than any drama Hollywood could produce on a good day.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Housemaid", directed by San-Soo In and staring a gorgeous Do-yeon Jeon maintains a high level melodramatic atmosphere for much of it's runtime. The central character, Ms. Lee is in the middle of a tough blue- collar life, and she enters into a magnetic situation being a beautiful maid under the direction of a coarse hard-shelled Nanny. (spoiler)Yeo- Jong Yun does particularly well as the Nanny of the family. The theatrics and melodrama steam up and are at high-tide, but the filmmakers seem to waver on how to resolve the situation. That's when there's some trouble. The ending becomes obvious black-comedy flailing away from it's earnest earlier tone, the filmmakers run-away from what was making the movie so good earlier. The final shots are meant to be "tongue and cheek" but is a mild letdown. Still "The Housemaid" is entertaining.
  • The Housemaid (original title: Hanyo) will present to you a young woman trying to take her destiny into her own hands. She lets her desire run free and the result is a very hot sex scene.

    The scenario is nothing new, but the plot is interesting is not always obvious. The intrigue of that high class family is very interesting.

    The house is gorgeous, the setting push, and the actors beautiful for the most part.

    If you're in the mood for a Asian subtitled drama about the a rich family and its secret with a dark humorless story and a steamy undertone of sex, you should watch it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Off base remake of a classic Korean film concerns a young woman who gets a job working for a rich family and quickly ends up a mostly unwilling target for their games and in the case of the husband advances. Its soon a descent into depravity as she finds out that the rich aren't like other people.

    Since the original was made in 1960 I'm guessing that the film amps up the sex and violence- I'm pretty sure the ending isn't as graphic. I know the ending of this one left me kind of staring at the screen, and had me playing it again and again on my IFC in Theaters screening. It's one funky ending that seems to come from left field.

    As for the rest of the film I'm not sure what I make of it. The film is certainly crafted for effect- it's aiming to make us all feel uncomfortable- and it does from the WTF opening straight on until the ending. Is it any good? I don't know. It did have an effect on me but at the same time I felt manipulated. What happened- out side of the end- or the almost the end wasn't anything I couldn't figure out.

    The film is being promoted as rather sexy and it is, but to what effect. It seems more like a calculated move rather than something natural.

    Can you tell I'm mixed.

    I'm guessing that had the film not be so heavily promoted the last few months as a hot film in some circles I might have liked it more. As it stands now. Its okay, but nothing special.

    Your mileage will vary.
  • You'd better watch the original movie, 'The Housemaid' directed by Ki-Young Kim in 1960, which is one of the first and finest Korean movie I've seen so far. Compared to the original version, The Housemaid (2010) is really deceiving.

    The first hour is OK, but then it gets really boring, even though the acting isn't that bad. It's just a pity that such good actors' talent was wasted (see Do-Yeon Jeon in 'Sunshine (2007)' and Jung-Jae Lee in 'New World (2013)').

    Not to mention the ending, which reminded me Brian De Palma's 'The Fury', deceiving too.
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