The Housemaid

28 Jul

Eun-yi Li (played by Do-yeon Jeon) lives in Seoul, Korea and loves her life. She’s a happy young woman who’s just started a job as a live-in nanny to Nami (by Seo-Hyeon Ahn), a sweet but precocious little daughter of a wealthy couple in a huge, stylish Seoul home. Nami’s parents are Hae-ra (by Woo Seo) and Hoon Goh (by Jung-Jae Lee). Hae-ra is heavily pregnant herself with twins, so she too needs help around the house, provided by her long-term housekeeper, Mrs Byung-sik Cho (by Yeo-jeong Yoon). Mrs Cho is an efficient, no-nonsense, stern woman but she has a warm heart and shows the new Eun-yi the ways of the strict, disciplined household. After a few weeks, Nami’s father, Hoon, seduces the innocent Eun-yi and they have a torrid affair. Mrs Cho discovers the affair and is not impressed, so she tells Hae-ra’s mother (by Ji-Young Park), who spends a lot of time in the house these days as Hae-ra is nearing her delivery. Most of the joy disappears from Eun-yi’s life when she suddenly finds herself up against the two cold, powerful women with nasty intentions and no conscience between them. They treat Eun-yi with utter cruelty and she tries to maintain her dignity throughout – since her arrival she has grown to love Nami but she is torn between her want to continue care for Nami and her hatred of the women who treat her so unfairly. She would really love to put the family right back in their place …

This is an interesting movie. The story is dramatic (to the point of science fiction in some places), but it’s not over the top and there is enough cruelty, jealousy and intrigue to keep you interested and believing. All the performances are very good – the house is empty of love and none of the relationships seem happy, except the lovely trustful one between Eun-yi and the little Nami. Eun-yi is an enigma – she appears quite naive and the seduction by the aggressive Hoon is delicately crafted. Her gestures and expressions are reflective of her deep confusion and anxiety at what is happening to her in the house, but she also has a mature and vengeful streak. Hae-ra is a spoilt and selfish woman who is matched well with her husband Hoon – his cold and insensitive persona is portrayed very strongly by Jung-Jae Lee – he is totally believable. The utter selfishness of this rich family remains throughout the movie, which is depicted very well (amongst some of the far-fetched stunts and effects) and is the one thing that keeps you watching to find out what happens in the end. In my view, however, the movie is too long – but the story is a good one. In 2011, the movie won several awards and nominations at the Asian Film Awards and the People’s Choice Awards. It is a remake of a 1960 movie of the same name.

Made in 2010.  Directed by Sang-soo Im

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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Movies


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