The Housemaid

2011

The Housemaid

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

70%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 70

53%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,585
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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 plots to give Hae-ra the control over her husband. Soon Eun-yi becomes pregnant by Hoon and wants to keep the baby. This is discovered by the family and Eun-yi is forced by Mi-hee to have an abortion despite the young woman's pleas to let her keep the baby and leave the house. Her forced abortion turns Eun-yi's already fragile mental condition for the worse and she decides to take the matter into her own hands... -- (C) IFC

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Critic Reviews for The Housemaid

All Critics (70) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (21)

  • Im Sang-soo can't improve on Kim Ki-young's 1960 original, a jaIm 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.

    Apr 12, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The situation continues to fester, the balance of power shifts back and forth among some wonderfully defined characters.

    Dec 13, 2011 | Full Review…
  • The graphic sex scenes radiate an uncommon heat, and Im can pull off a hugely effective shock when he wants to.

    Mar 18, 2011 | Rating: 3/4
  • The movie kowtows to the old truism that the rich are different - but it does it with a sardonic smile.

    Mar 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Feb 25, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

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

    Feb 17, 2011 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for The Housemaid

  • Jan 29, 2014
    It's trying so hard to be something it's not that it loses sight of what it could be
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2013
    An interesting look at a housemaid who is exploited into becoming a lover for the man of the house. There are some interesting changes in the power of each of the actors over the other.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2012
    This is a pretty damn good movie with some really strong acting from pretty much all involved. I think it suffers from not being a particularly viewer friendly movie. If you're short on patience then you're not going to make it very far into this movie, but I think it builds to the climax really well, again the strong acting being the primary driving force for this. Another problem I had was Eun-yi's motivations for her actions not being exactly made all that clear. I kind of GOT why she did why she did but at the same time I didn't. Why would she do that, instead of just torturing the responsible parties for what they did? Perhaps she thought it'd be worse since they'd have to leave with that for the rest of their lives but the surreal end to the movie sort of implies otherwise. Which is what I was expecting anyway? If they went through all the trouble to *****SPOILER***** to poison her so her baby would die why would they care if she killed herself in front of them? I did not get that at all. Other than that a really good movie with some excellent acting that not everyone will enjoy because of its deliberate pace.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2012
    *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.
    Albert K Super Reviewer

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