It is a great day when I can make it to The Showroom theatre in Asbury Park to see a film. There stuff is just special, obscure, off the grid and generally very well made.
I had the opportunity the other day to journey down to see "The Handmaiden". I was juiced by its VERY HIGH Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94% but definitely bummed about its length of 2hr and 47 minutes. I don't mind epics at all but they are rare. Knowing this film was going to be subtitled, made sure I was rested so no snoozing.
Switching back in forth between Korean and Japanese language was no biggie but occasionally the filmed jumped forward and back which was confusing.
Essentially the story of a Korean male petty thief/con man who enlists the help of a very poor also devious young korean woman to devise a plan to steal the inheritance of a rich Japanese heiress (living in Japanese occupied Korea).
Somehow he finds a way to get her a job as the rich woman's "Handmaiden" (essentially personal aide, servant, assistant everything) while his angle is to become the rich woman's suitor for marriage.
The woman is very controlled by her Dad (I guess) who never lets her leave the house, pounds with with endless academics, arts etc while the restrictions leave her highly innocent.
The man becomes a clumsy suitor and the "handmaiden" and the Lady start a relationship of sort. It is set in the 30's, it is both a beautiful but complicated (not good complicated) film. This film with all its relationships, erotic scenes along with aspects that make this maybe a thriller, maybe a love story etc just don't connect for me.
Something tells me that this puzzle of a story was very well done, but I just couldn't put it together. But I didn't fall asleep so clearly it intrigued me…just couldn't make it work. However, I bet others like it