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The Housemaid

The Housemaid
Friday February 25th, 2011

The Housemaid is a 2010 remake of a revered classic of 1960 South Korean cinema. In the original a nice couple rues the day they hire a housemaid after she tries to wreck their marriage and is instrumental in the death of one of their children. In this updated version it is the housemaid who is seduced and ultimately victimized by a family of wealth and privilege.

The main characters are Eun-yi, a naive, attractive live-in maid; Hoon, a wealthy employer with a wandering eye and a seemingly insatiable sexual appetite; Hae-Ra, his clueless and very pregnant wife; Mi-hee, her overly protective, manipulative mother and Miss Cho an older maid who doesn't seem to do anything but spy on Eun-yi when she's not bossing her around and give reports to Mi-hee about her son-in-law's philandering. Miss Cho despises the family but won't leave because the job pays well. When Eun-yi struggles to understand their behavior, Miss Cho replies with "that is how they got to be rich".

If all that sounds like a good, old fashioned potboiler you'd be right but thanks to the skillful direction of Im Sang-soo and a very talented cast The Housemaid manages to avoid the worst pitfalls of the genre and keep us engaged in the machinations of a powerful family and the people that have the misfortune to cross their path.