Elegant, sexy and dangerous, The Housemaid is a delicious pleasure to watch. The premise is classic: a cold husband, a fragile wife and a new housemaid. But with one of Korea’s master stylists at the helm and a performance from a best-actress prize winner at Cannes, this polished thriller offers plenty of surprises.
Eun-yi (Jeon Do-youn, Cannes winner for Secret Sunshine) is an innocent young woman who accepts a job working as a nanny and maid for a very wealthy family. The housewife who hires her (Seo Woo) is young and beautiful, but vulnerable. Her mother married her off to a rich, powerful, cultivated man but remains aware of how tentative her daughter’s position is. Both women depend on the income of the man of the house. But Hoon (Lee Jung-jae) is exacting in his standards.
All the more surprising then, that his eye comes to rest on Eun-yi. A working class woman still a little rough around the edges, she looks overwhelmed by the modernist mansion she now works in, but when Hoon approaches her for a swift seduction, she turns out to be his match.
With its glossy surfaces and startling sensuality, The Housemaid will raise pulses as it proceeds from decadence to danger to a jaw-dropping climax.
Toronto International Film Festival