When Westerners appropriate East Asian culture, barbarity and stupidity ensues. When East Asian cultures appropriate Western culture? The most beautiful and imaginative works ensue. From the twist on the lessons of Pinocchio from the story of Kikaider to this film using Sarah Waters book, Fingersmith, with the setting being South Korea during the age of Imperialist Japan as the backdrop of the setting. This is truly one of the loveliest stories of LGBT love and intimacy. To go in-depth on this story’s plot and characters would be an absolute disservice to your viewing pleasure. To spoil an iota of this film would be a travesty. Sadly, this film has gotten negative reviews from Western Barbarians incapable of appreciating South Korea’s higher intellectual culture and artistic mastery alongside the love and affection expressed in positive LGBT representation. It is no surprise when Westerners depict LGBT relationships, they use stereotypes like gay men being sex gods or lesbian women being super-horny. Whereas South Korean Filmmaker Park Chan-wook displays two extraordinarily well-developed lesbian characters. Surely, they will be given the utmost contempt by the Western liberal counterculture mob over trivialities or outright lies to disparage the superior East Asian culture as somehow lesser than the US savages of the barbaric Western world. The two leads are brilliantly portrayed by the phenomenal actresses, Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri. Amazon Prime even added better video quality and short trivia whenever you pause the video on Amazon Prime.
I know this seems so empty and filled with only platitudes, but spoiling even a bit of this film would ruin it. The best I can say is that I was not a fan of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. In fact, I hated Oldboy and I thought it was complete garbage as a film. That is not the case with this film. This is truly one of the best depictions of an authentic lesbian romance that fully displays that LGBT couples are dynamic, they have human faults just like all couples, and there’s an engaging heist story involved into the mix. Some might argue that a particular sex scene is exploitative, but I saw it as changing a past abusive experience into a form of self-overcoming by being able to take control and be dominant using the same sex objects instead of reliving horrid experiences as a passive victim. I think that does make sense and that it is realistic in how some people overcome trauma. Even the worst of traumas. I think all the actors, actresses, and the director did a fantastic job on this film. In fact, I was so dismayed that I wasn’t able to easily purchase a US version of the blu-ray version of this film, I began hunting for it online and bought a used blu-ray library copy from Ebay because I wanted to buy this film. It’s a shame I couldn’t pay the company directly due to lack of stock available, because this film deserved every penny that I spent on the used ebay copy.
This is probably one of my favorite films of all-time now. I loved the romantic and intimate LGBT relationship by the two lead actresses. I loved the seemingly realistic backdrop of Imperialist Japan that takes a bit of the focus in the beginning. It is an implicit undercurrent throughout the film due to the absurd feelings of self-shame that South Koreans expressed during this historical time with their attempts to be “more Japanese” due to the racist power dynamics of the time. I loved how the two characters get together and what happens with their romance. Due to my dislike of the villains, I think the actors and actresses did a wonderful job portraying the sickly nature of their villainy and how abusive they were to women. In short, I loved everything about this film. I’m happy to see a film that tries to nudge into the disturbing and awful history of Japanese occupation, even if it is mostly just the backdrop for an intriguing heist story. This film gets a 10 / 10 in every category. If you have not watched it already and you’re an adult who has Amazon Prime, give yourself the pleasure of watching this wonderful film.
2 thoughts on “The Handmaiden (2016) on Amazon Prime: An Intellectually Stimulating LGBT Romance and Heist story”
Yes, truly a masterpiece. When I saw it on theaters, I get out with a big smile on my face.
Ah yes, a Western Barbarian incapable of appreciating LGBT intimacy and love and making a mockery because they prefer murder, torture, and violence over consenting adults expressing affection and sexual love.