Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)



Critic Consensus: Stylistically flashy and gruesomely violent, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance fits in nicely with the other two films of Park's revenge trilogy.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A woman looks for both revenge and redemption after spending 13 years in prison in this offbeat thriller from South Korea. Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) was in her early twenties when she was found guilty of kidnapping and killing a young boy, and though she confessed to the crime under duress, while behind bars she dreamed of one day being able to clear her name -- and even the score with the people who railroaded her, including the police officer who brought her in (Nam Il-woo) and Mr. Baek (Choi Min-Sik), a teacher who wronged her in a number of ways. Lee Geun-ja teams up with a number of friends she made during her time in lock-up, including Woo So-yeong (Kim Bu-seon), a thief with a gunsmith for a husband; Oh Su-heui (Ra Mi-ran), who was saved from assault at the hands fellow inmates by Lee; and Preacher Jeon (Kim Byeong-ok), an eccentric man of the cloth who was struck by her gentle nature in jail. As Preacher Jeon helps Lee seek salvation for all she had to do while in prison, her other friends stand by her side as she gets even with her rivals and searches for the daughter she was forced to leave behind when she was convicted. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (aka Chinjeolhan Geum-ja-ssi) was the third film in a series, preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Old Boy. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (for strong violent content -- some involving children, and some sexuality)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo-Kyung, Seo-Gyeong Jeong, Seo-Kyoung Chung
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 5, 2006
Picture This! Entertainment - Official Site


Lee Young-ae
as Lee Geum-ja
Min-sik Choi
as Mr. Baek
Lee Yeong-ae
as Lee Geum-ja
Kim Shi-hu
as Bakery Employee Geu...
Dal-su Oh
as Mr. Chang
Nam Il-woo
as Det. Choi
Kim Si-hu
as Geun-shik
Lee Seung-shin
as Park Yi-jeong
Kim Bu-sun
as Woo So-young
Kang Nam-mi
as Choir 1
Bu-seon Kim
as Woo So-yeong
Ko Hye-sook
as Choir 3
Go Su-heui
as "The Witch"
Baek Bok-hwa
as Choir 4
Seo Yeong-jun
as Kim Yang-heui
Hong Chul
as Choir 5
Song Kang-ho
as Kidnapper
Joo Sung-wan
as Choir 6
Shin Ha-Gyun
as kidnapper
Jang Min
as Choir 7
Kim Byeong-ok
as Preacher
Choi Sung-yoon
as Won-mo's Friend
Nam Ik-tae
as Chief Choi
Cha Soon-bae
as Reporter
Ik-tae Kim
as Won-mo's Father
Young-Mi Lee
as Won-mo's Mother
Kim Jin-ku
as Ko Sun-sook
Seo Young-joo
as Kim Yang-hee
Ra Mi-ran
as Oh Soo-Hee
Tony Barry
as Jenny's Adoptive Fat...
Anne Cordiner
as Jenny's Adoptive Mot...
Ji-tae Yu
as Weon-mo, as and adu...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Critic Reviews for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (30)

... as brutal as it is beautiful.

Full Review… | August 6, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

As a man is made to mediate the terms of his own murder, Park Chan-wook offers a perfect resolution to his "Vengeance" trilogy: an acutely agonizing elegy for whatever shred of humanity is left after the impulse for vengeance has worked itself out.

Full Review… | September 17, 2010

Talks Sin and Salvation while spending all his creative energies on debasing gags and sneering wide-angle shots

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Park Chanwook works his Grand Guignol sense of humor against Korean social conditions to effect a call-and-response logic to the metaphoric and literal things that happen onscreen.

Full Review… | April 15, 2009

The kind of glorious sensory rush that you can only get when a supremely confident director fully kicks out the jams. Submerged within the flash, however, is a nihilistic worldview that may be even more curdled than its predecessors.

Full Review… | October 21, 2007

in Lady Vengeance, revenge is ultimately a shabby, sordid business that leaves everybody soiled and in need of purification - or at least of a pie in the face.

Full Review… | July 10, 2007
Eye for Film

Audience Reviews for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance


The final part of Chan-wook Park's vengeance trilogy sees an angelic looking young woman imprisoned for the kidnap and murder of a young child. Upon her release from prison 13 years later, her plan for vengeance on the real killer is set in motion. The core of the film is the duality of Yeong-ae Lee's role; her angelic appearance belying her ruthless and single-minded pursuit of her goal, and her quest for vengeance tempered by her feelings guilt about her part in the boy's death. It's not as bleak as Oldboy and does not have it's complex relationships and twists and turns in plot. The characters find some form of redemption by it's end, although the psychology of revenge is examined; do two wrongs make a right? Min-sik Choi's child killer is completely without redeeming qualities, but it is still uncomfortable seeing his suffering at the hands of the people he has wronged even though they are acting on the part of justice rather than cruelty. Visually, it's stunning. Chan-wook Park's eye for composition is wonderful, and combined with a beautiful use of colour, location, costume and set design it truly is breath taking to look at. The title sequence and even end credits are gorgeously designed; add to this a lovely baroque soundtrack and the product is something akin to an cinematic work of art.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A young woman sets out for revenge and redemption after serving 13 years in prison for a grim crime. Why she sets out revenge is something I don't want to give away, but let's just say that it's rather heartbreaking.

This is part three of Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance Trilogy", and, like the other two, it provides a unique take on the concept of vengeance, and the consequences and repercussions of it. It's not quite as good as Oldboy, but it's more polished and solid than Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance.

Similar to how "Mr. Vengeance" had shades of Fargo, this one has shades of stuff like Natural Born Killers or even Serial Mom with the quasi documentary way parts of the story are told, namely with the interview segments and flashbacks that pepper in the development for the lead character. It also love the (very dark) sense of humor and irony, both in these scenes, and throughout the film as a whole.

Don't get me wrong, this is a very serious, grim, and unsettling film, but there is a clear sense of gallows humor that follows the proceedings, even in some of the more brutal moments.

The characters are well rounded, and the acting is tremendous. Lee Yeong-ae is front and center here, and this is one amazing performance. Like the other two films in the trilogy, there's some really tough subject matter, but the actors manage to get through it remarkably.

The art direction, visuals, editing, and music are top notch, and this one is really gorgeous. What I love as well is that (and this includes all three films of the trilogy) is how, no matter how graphic and disturbing the content is, there is always a point to it, and when they end, you are left with a lot to think about.

Give this one a look. It's hard to watch at times, but it's worth it.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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