The Housemaid


Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jan 29, 2011
    It's a deliciously perverse melodrama.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jan 19, 2011
    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
    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
    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
    Im Sang-soo has crafted an erotic thriller whose cool beauty speaks for itself.
  6. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Feb 17, 2011
    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
    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
    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
    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
    It is beautifully shot, with impeccable acting and visual detail.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jan 20, 2011
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. May 1, 2012
    Grade: C - Not a very bad movie but i didn't liked it much. Beautiful set pieces, visually stunning, pretentious acting, too much holding backGrade: 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
    This review contains no spoilers.

    Whatever your first impression of the title of this movie is wrong. This is a tragic drama of course
    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
    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