If you have seen this movie already (and if you haven’t, like, what!?!) then you might think that it is not worthy writing about so why do I have it here?
In that case first thing – it is actually worthy a write because it is so the late 90s type of ‘subtext’ yuri! Nay, you don’t even have to go that far back to find this level of yuri being a thing. it has all the signs of things back then! The circumstances are so hard against the girls, like one has a child, has a man in her life (mostly), there is a BAD END and the screen-time is horrible but despite that there is a silver lining!
Of Fan Fiction Possibilities!
But if I am being honest, even though it has debatable yuri (if you think lesbians are all about kissing, making out and confessions that is), the real reason I am writing about it is two things. One – Kim Ok-bin! Two – the irony!
It is no secret that I adore this woman! I have watched all projects of hers that I know of! Mt favourite role of hers is of course Whispering Corridors 4 – Voice followed by her dark side as a vampire in Thirst (by Park Chan-wook) and then her role as her self in 2009’s Actresses.
Those last two roles are a part of why I am writing about this movie! First Park Chan-wook’s Thirst and the way he brought her all out of her for that role. I saw how Mr Park was very fond of her. Then came The Actresses, where she met, and kind of crushed on, none other than Kim Min-hee! They made it on my list of shippable real life actresses! Especially since there was that promise between them two to co-star in a lesbian movie (pitched by Ok-bin herself).
Then came the The Handmaiden! Even after watching some of the trailers, and I believe after seeing the movie still, maybe, I wished, still wished, and kind of am wishing now, that Mar Park had managed to get Ok-bin for the role of either Hideko or Sook-hee because she could pull of either. She is in reality younger than Kim-Min-hee but on appearances she does come off more as Lady-like, Hideko –like whereas Kim Min-hee could have also pulled off a younger Sook-hee due to appearances!
So, there I was wishing that Ok—bin had grabbed that Sook-hee role and then here comes her first major role in what seems like forever and what is her character’s name in The Villainess?
I kid you not! That is her character’s name in this movie! Like, ‘you can’t make this shit up’ as the saying goes! I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t just dreaming! This is just so funny it kind of hurts! Couldn’t get her to play along-side Min-hee but got her to play the character…well, a character with the same name!
I just had to share this moment if disbelief! But beyond that, I quite enjoyed this movie and even though I went in for the action (you won’t believe it but I did not know this was Ok-bin until like a 3rd into the movie when her hair grew longer!!!) but instead what I found was one of my Celebrity crushes Kim- Ok-bin and then some sprinkle of painful yuri!
Yes, like I said there is a BAD END but this is a movie about assassins so it comes with the territory! I was just surprised the main character, Sook-hee (chuckle) even survived by the end. And not only that, there is also the fact that Sook-hee not only had a child from another man (who is waaaaaaay older than her) but she also was with another man, and even though it was a planned relationship, she still fell for him and him her so…
Ah but what else is new, right? veteran yuri citizens know this already and it felt like beating a dead horse after all the progress we have had so I just ignored that and just enjoyed the yuri and action!
The other relevant girl is Min-ju played by Son Min-ji. She was the only one who broke into Sook-hee’s hardened shell at the training facility and dare say, in addition to the baby and that man, she also helped put a smile of Sook-hee’s face, after a shit of a life she had gone through.
They had their moments that would make even the hardened still ship them, despite there being no hope for them in the movie. First and most important, Min-ju did not just die! She dies saving Sook-hee, and it was one of the bravest ways to go! She jumped between a knife and Sook-hee, a knife that went right through her throat, a moment I knew there was no going back from that, even as she held on long enough to have a final goodbye, which was surprising! I am sure a person would die instantly from that!
In addition to putting a smile back on Sook-hee’s face, Min-ju was also the first person I saw that made her cry again since her father’s death when she was just a young girl. Oh yes, this movie is intense! The things Sook-hee went through as a child…
Anyway, her dying saving Sook-hee was the best act of love in the whole damn movie and so I ship them! The next big moment was during Sook-hee’s release where in front of everyone they shared a moment, HOLDING HANDS, an action actually instigated by Sook-hee herself. Makes me really wish that we got more of their relationship in the facility because they seemed to have grown way closer! Sook-hee asks Min-ju to call her when she gets released into the world in a moment so gay yet so open to the world that…
The third happens much earlier when Sook-hee hasn’t yet learned to smile. They are training and the Bitch-Queen (who later of course strikes up a connection to Sook-hee – befriending) makes Min-ju bleed! Sook-hee wasn’t happy about that. They weren’t yet on speaking terms back then actually and I think this was the moment that they actually connected. Anyway Sook-hee takes up the wooden sword and makes B-Girl bleed right where she made Min-ju bleed! And before she does as she picks up the sword she shares this look with Min-ju that just…
The other comes later when they meet again after Min-ju is released but it is on an assignment! The smile, that pure smile of happiness that Sook-hee gives Min-ju at seeing her again, the heartfelt hug…They took that happiness from us way too soon, as that was the mission that would be their last.
So yeah, no hopes in this movie that I totally loved what we got! This is old school type of yuri. I grew up on it. It defined me! So to me it is yuri.
Anyway, that is all. Jump over for all caps…