The Housemaid (2010)

Do-yeon Jeon, Jung-jae Lee, Yuh Jung Youn, Woo Seo,
Hanyo is a movie starring Do-yeon Jeon, Jung-jae Lee, and Yuh-Jung Youn. A man's affair with his family's housemaid leads to dark consequences.
  • 6.4 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Ki-young Kim, Writer:
  • Sang-soo Im, Director:
  • Jason Chae, Producer:

Trailer:

6 / 10

Compelling, professional film-making

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.

8 / 10

Contrepied

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.

8 / 10

Decisions

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 ...

7 / 10

Beautifully filmed but in the end the film is simply about a cheating love affair

The Housemaid tells an erotic tale of seduction, affair and scheming people all out to get their own way. Do-yeon Jeon plays Eun-Yi Li who is hired as a maid for an extravagant rich family - the wife is currently pregnant with two twin boys, they already have a little daughter and the husband is a very business businessman but just so happens to have time to fool with many women (supposedly) and one of them...surprise! just happens to be Eun-Yi.

The storyline is pretty typical and you can see where things will go so it didn't come as a surprise to me at all. What the film touches on is the schemes of the high class society in terms of their lifestyle and thinking that money can usually solve their problems. It also touches on the fact that the upper class often have not a lot of time on their hands - but not much really to do with it to entertain themselves.

The flaw of this film is that the main character of Eun-Yi - I didn't particularly sympathise with her. I guess it is because I found her decisions a bit stupid and you didn't really know much about her besides the fact that she was of lower class and really likes kids. In fact, I sort of didn't really hate the wife of the husband as she was actually quite decent to Eun-Yi, though you obviously can see that she is a victim in terms of her husband's infidelities.

One character that stood out for me was Miss Cho - who is the head housemaid in the mansion. You first see her as a very strict, no nonsense type of woman but during the film you see how she also is highly observant (typical butler/maid nosiness) and also has her fair share of mixed feelings towards the inhabitants of the house.

Now for the ending - won't spoil anything here. I can see why some people feel that the ending doesn't really do the film justice - I agreed at first but the more you think about it - the more the message is there. The ending I think really gets its message in the fact that the upper class can easily forget things and get on with their repetitive lives thinking they are on top and their materialism will drown out all bad memories or problems. The ending certainly won't work for some and while I feel more could have been put into it, it certainly does leave an impression the more you think about it.

The film is not perfect - a lot of decisions Eun-Yi makes didn't really make me feel empathetic due to the fact that I think she isn't a highly likable character nor a partcularly interesting one - they are sort of card board cut outs in my opinion.

Overall however, this is simply a film about a love affair and the consequences of it - I don't blame you if you watch this and you feel like 'this is something I've seen before too many times'.

6 / 10

After the first hour, it gets boring

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.