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The Housemaid (2010)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

55

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 5,236

My Rating

Movie Info

Eun-yi is an innocent young woman who is hired as an upper class family housemaid, and is tasked to take care of the family's small daughter and her pregnant mother, Hae-ra. Byung-sik is an older housemaid who has been with this family for a long time and holds many secrets. But soon enough, the master of the house, Hoon, takes advantage of his social position by slipping into the new housemaid's bed. Hoon's visits become frequent and Byung-sik reports the affair to Hae-ra's mother Mi-hee, who

Jun 7, 2011

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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (17)

The situation continues to fester, the balance of power shifts back and forth among some wonderfully defined characters.

December 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The graphic sex scenes radiate an uncommon heat, and Im can pull off a hugely effective shock when he wants to.

March 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie kowtows to the old truism that the rich are different - but it does it with a sardonic smile.

March 4, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-director Im Sang-Soo injects a certain sense of otherworldliness in the proceedings -- the final scene is straight from David Lynchland --- which may not make things mesmerizing, but does deliver a consistently odd angle.

February 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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"The Housemaid" scores on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"The Housemaid" glitters coldly, with its marble surfaces and scheming eyes, as it builds to its dramatic, unexpected climax.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Quick to show its characters' skin but less inclined to explore what lies beneath it.

October 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

With the honourable exception of a film-saving Byung-sik, the characters are too unpleasant and two-dimensional to keep it together.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

...an echo of the 1960 film perhaps, but it's an echo that has been compressed and processed, run through the stomp box that is director Im Sang-soo's imagination.

May 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Exudes a surreal sense of deranged domestic privilege.

April 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Im Sang-soo's The Housemaid either doesn't know what it wants to be, or is trying to be too many things at once. Few films can claim to be over-ambitious and half-hearted at the same time, but there you go.

April 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

Can't touch the original's spiraling perversity

March 14, 2011 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Evil seems to lurk in every shadowy corner and the director's choice of a primarily brown palette imposes a layer of foreboding over even the most apparently innocent of scenes.

March 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

The Housemaid isn't all that deep, but it's consistent fun, on the cusp between art and softcore nonsense.

February 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

It's like a contemporary, even more heightened version of one of those Bette Davis movies that still show up on late-night TV.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Im creates a seductive and disquieting thriller in which overt violence is rare but ruthless manipulation and a callous lack of concern for people are commonplace.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: KPBS.org
KPBS.org

Never comes to an emotional boil.

February 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Ebert Presents At The Movies

This South Korean thriller owes a lot to the late Claude Chabrol - its damnation of the idle rich, its imprisoning interior designs, even poisoning - but Sang-soo Im doesn't delve as deeply as Chabrol could and his film eventually implodes.

February 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Housemaid

*Sigh*, Koreans... they're just so twisted lol.

This may surprise you but "The Housemaid" is superbly made. Wow, the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous; excellent camerashots riddled all over this film. It's so sublime in fact that it leaves room for this movie to be identified as an art-house movie, but sadly, there isn't much to the movie except for eerie and surprising perversion, sickening revenge, and a twisted narrative.

It's funny because everything about the movie shouts "true filmmaking". Nevertheless, the narrative simply touches upon the characters' struggles and that's it. This movie isn't here to teach people not to do certain things and it isn't here to thematically stir audiences emotions; this movie is simply here to tell its narrative, which is much of the case for a profuse amount of Korean films, but ever more so with "The Housemaid". Once the credits roll, it seems nothing more than just a shallow but twisted movie that is easily forgotten except for its credible filmmaking craftsmanship.

So if its absolutely devoid of any substance aside from the production value, how is "The Housemaid"'s narrative? Is it entertaining? I guess so. It's gonna give you thrills, chills, and tension. It's also gonna give you strange goosebumps and surprises not because it's a great horror flick, but because of the audacious and extremely black raw sexuality that it throws viewers. C'mon now... it's almost like a cheap scare. Throw in some taboo-breaking content and you got yourself a shocking movie. That to me, is cheap. It draws you, but I was certainly squirming in my seat -- not cause I'm a pansy, but how deep "The Housemaid" chooses to let characters get sucked into a pitch black world of lies, deceit, hatred, and sexuality.

At the end of the day, "The Housemaid" is a stylish but extremely raw sexual movie. It's a movie about sex. That's about it. You think "Black Swan" was raw? LOL "The Housemaid" is stomping all over it, and its all its got: Mesmerizing cinematography and a taboo-shattering narrative. I ain't saying this is a bad movie but it's certainly not even close to what I would enjoy.
March 21, 2012
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

The Housemaid is a South Korean thriller about a maid who is seduced by the husband of the family she was recently hired by, and then menaced and manipulated by the women of the house once they find out she's pregnant. It's a pretty good movie, but very sad. 
September 20, 2011
lewiskendell

Super Reviewer

This Korean sexy thriller film looks gorgeous, a combination of Fatal Attraction. Immediately notable is the immensely gorgeous mansion-set for the film, the beautiful costumes and Im's drenching of every shot in a kind of elegant style that really captures well the world of the elite that Eunyi wanders into. Interestingly enough, it's in stark contrast to the bustle of the "real world" that Eunyi lives in before her move and I think that's a really effective technique.
Jeon Do-yeon deserves all the acting accolades she has received thus far for her role, and we feel the pain she has to go through in having traumatic experiences forced upon her just because she's in no position to bargain, until the defining moment in the finale where she gains the upper hand but at what a price at scarring the family for life. Actor Lee Jungjae wraps the cocky arrogance and entitlement of his character so naturally. And An Suhhyun, as the observant daughter, is remarkable for a child actor, capturing a surprising distance with her huge eyes.
August 11, 2011
deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Sang-soo Im's The Housemaid is a Korean thriller that doesn't do much in the way of thrilling.The story is a slow burn and there is be a lot of buildup for every major event. The first portion is heavy on the sexual content, while the consequences of these actions are put to the test in the second half. It isn't that the film lacks any entertainment value, but the surprises are few and far in between.The luxurious settings of the film are a highlight and the camera work is also a plus. On the flip side, the characters are a problem. Over time the antagonists and the protagonists eventually become clear, yet it is difficult to root for any of the characters.Do-yeon Jeon's performance is noteworthy. She brings both a mature and a childlike nature to her character. Seo-Hyeon Ahn is adorable as Nami and the rest of the supporting cast deliver acceptable performances.The Housemaid does deliver a surprise for the finale, which is quite good. Unfortunately, it is a long road to get there. This film isn't a waste of a viewing, but it is not something to alter a schedule for.
October 18, 2010
skactopus
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Das Hausmädchen (DE)
  • The Housemaid (Ha-nyeo) (UK)
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