A con artist (Ha) hires young street thief Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) to work as handmaiden to the beautiful Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee), who lives with her controlling, sadistic uncle (Jo). Posing as “Count” Fujiwara, the impostor woos the heiress, and with Sook-hee’s help, plans to marry her and abscond with her money. But Hideko and Sook-hee soon become attracted to each other, and suddenly the long con becomes even longer.
Adapting Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel “Fingersmith,” Park transposes the action from Victorian England to Japanese-controlled Korea in the 1930s. With his usual aesthetic virtuosity, Park uses the triptych structure of the book to spin a lurid, sensual tale of greed, seduction and deception. It’s all very clever, deliciously twisted, and gorgeous to look at. If you appreciate movies with lots of intrigue, highly stylized eroticism and violence, you’ll be giving this “Handmaiden” a hand!