Directed by: Sang-soo Im
Written by: Sang-soo Im (screenplay), Ki-young Kim
Produced by: Jason Chae
Starring: Jeon Do-yeon. Lee Jung-jae. Seo Woo. Yoon Yeo-jeong. Ahn Seo-hyeon. Park Ji-young
Run Time: 107 minutes
It’s hard to find the right words to describe The Housemaid. One description could be movie where a young woman becomes a maid for an ultra rich family, has an affair with the husband which in turn creates a dramatic conflict between the maid and the wife. Another way I’ve heard it described is as an “erotic thriller.” Personally I’d describe it as a high class soap opera which would appeal to people who think that a clueless man, bored wife and women trying to manipulate each other is somehow entertaining. Honestly, it’s even difficult to write a review about because The Housemaid doesn’t inspire hatred or any critical thought whatsoever.
The Housemaid has beautiful production. The setting as well as the photography is done extremely well and artistically. The overall message showing how cruel and inhumane those super wealthy are is a very accurate viewpoint of many people, especially after the economic slowdown.
While the plot of the story could possibly be made into an interesting movie, the characters themselves combined with plot holes really ruin any promise of entertainment. The biggest plot hole in my mind is that for the life of me I can’t figure out why the wife didn’t just fire the maid when she found out about her husband’s affair with her?
Parts of The Housemaid are entertaining for the completely wrong reasons. For instance, the maid’s first “erotic” encounter is meant to be sexy but of course it ends up being completely silly as the husband flexes his arms for no real reason while he holds a bottle of wine as the maid pleasures him. In another scene the maid suffers an accident where she falls cleaning a chandelier but, even though she falls straight down, which in real life would break her legs, she’s in a hospital with a simple neck brace during the next few scenes. Even if we could somehow justify the injury of her neck, her rehabilitation would take months but since the movie takes place in a strange time warp, the wife who continuously looks 9 months pregnant doesn’t give birth until it’s convenient for the story.
In the end the housemaid lacks the any real thrill and almost completely fails its attempt at eroticism. I’d like to say there would be a reason to go see this film since it can be fun to watch a movie that you hate but this isn’t one of those movies. In a way being an average movie is worse than being a horrible one since it really inspires little or no emotion. The Housemaid isn’t bad enough for a person to hate but on the other hand it isn’t good enough to actually enjoy either so it’s left in that black hole of truly dull films that no one will really care about.