Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 29, 2011
    91
    It's a deliciously perverse melodrama.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jan 19, 2011
    80
    This is a household in which the rules are very formal, and they're matched by the formality of the filmmaking.
  3. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Mar 17, 2011
    75
    The graphic sex scenes radiate an uncommon heat, and Im can pull off a hugely effective shock when he wants to.
  4. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Mar 4, 2011
    75
    Falls somewhere between the kind of trashy, campy romp that's on movie channels in the middle of the night (though with far superior acting and production values) and the dark psychological thrillers of Kim Ki-duk.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Mar 4, 2011
    75
    Im Sang-soo has crafted an erotic thriller whose cool beauty speaks for itself.
  6. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    While the film grows increasingly preposterous in its final act, the enigmatic performances of Youn and Jeon carry the day.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    Gorgeously shot (by Lee Hyung Duk) and well worth seeing for Jeon's deceptively simple performance. Unlike its heroine, though, it gets away without a scratch.
  8. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 3, 2011
    75
    The acting's very strong throughout, though few would argue that the final half-hour satisfies either as suspense, or narrative, or social observation.
  9. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 2, 2011
    75
    This story is told by writer-director Im Sang-soo with cool, elegant cinematography and sinuous visual movements. The dominant mood is gothic, with the persistent sadomasochistic undertones that seem inescapable in so much Korean cinema.
  10. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Jan 21, 2011
    75
    It is beautifully shot, with impeccable acting and visual detail.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jan 20, 2011
    75
    The class warfare in The Housemade feels dated, but there's something nicely kinky in this lusciously photographed erotic Korean thriller by Im Sang-soo.
  12. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jan 27, 2011
    70
    Sleek, erotic and suspenseful, at least for the first hour, and even with the piece wobbling between dark psychology and campy soap, the cast is compelling as it navigates the uncertainty.
  13. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jan 20, 2011
    70
    An admiring, clever remake of Kim Ki-young's legendary film of the same title from 1960, this version, directed by Im Sang-soo, is at once more explicit than the original and less kinky.
  14. Reviewed by: Maggie Lee
    Jan 18, 2011
    70
    The outcome is a flamingly sexy soap opera whose satire on high society is sometimes as savage as Claude Chabrol's "La ceremonie."
  15. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 20, 2011
    67
    Though impeccably photographed and acted, The Housemaid begins to feel stifling and airless once Im's thesis about the abuses of the powerful starts to drive the film to a foregone conclusion.
  16. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jan 21, 2011
    60
    Korean director Im Sang-soo can't improve on Kim Ki-young's 1960 original, a jarring and operatic cult favorite. Still, he does tweak the themes in intriguing fashion.
  17. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 18, 2011
    60
    The major change is that the domestic, Eun-yi (the great Jeon, star of "Secret Sunshine"), is now more of a victim than an aggressor.
  18. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Feb 3, 2011
    50
    In creating his modern homage to the classic film, Im has twisted all the heated melodrama into a satiric - and in the end, surrealist - attack on the terrors of the polished upper class.
  19. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Jan 18, 2011
    50
    Despite eccentric touches, like a handheld street-shot overture and Grand Guignol Omen references, there's little difference between this story and soap-opera intrigue.
  20. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jan 18, 2011
    50
    This high-end softcore thriller is juicily watchable from start to over-the-top finish, but its gleeful skewering of the upper classes comes off as curiously passe, a luxe exercise in one-note nastiness.
  21. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Jan 17, 2011
    50
    With high production values and a glossily enjoyable mise-en-scene, the film is watchable.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. May 1, 2012
    5
    Grade: C - Not a very bad movie but i didn't liked it much. Beautiful set pieces, visually stunning, pretentious acting, too much holding back apart from a few good scenes. Overall the ending was quite strong which i liked .... erotic thriller that acts like a indie arthouse flick but fails in both ways. Full Review »
  2. Mar 30, 2014
    7
    This review contains no spoilers.

    Whatever your first impression of the title of this movie is wrong. This is a tragic drama of course
    revolving around a housemaid. It is again another fine piece of work from the Korean cinema. The theme is around one of the classic human-relationship problems.

    The movies has excellent performances all around and benefits from actors such as Lee Jung-Jae (New World) and Jeon Do-yeon (Secret Sunshine). Character building is quite adequate with Hae-ra's mom shaping up very quickly. Eun-yi's (Jeon Do-yeon) character get more expressive progressively. I must say the most interesting and most complex character is that of the buttress and Yeo-jeong Yoon does a fine job of acting them at each turn.

    The score of the movie is an original pieces of classical-style and deserves appreciation as such. This is one of the many things that Koreans have mastered so well.

    You'll love the cinematography as well however I found that some of the shots (tracking, hi-angled) were unnecessary. The score, the acting and the plot carry the movie forward so powerfully that nothing else seems to be needed. The settings and the snowy grounds definitely helped.

    To me the movie or the story seemed to have another hidden conclusion. And that is the message of inevitability in life. At times and under circumstances a few steps can seal your fate forever. You can fight to change this slightly but you can change the direction of where the life is taking you.

    Overall if you like dramas I strongly recommend this well-executed movie.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 14, 2012
    6
    A remake of a classic masterpiece is always been a thankless task, but since half a century has passed since 1960, when Ki-young Kim