“Fingersmith” & “The Handmaiden” Movies

Oh, quite surprising to find myself writing about movies. But Sarah Water’s “Fingersmith” was among the first lesbian movies I watched. There’s also “Tipping the Velvet”, which has a totally different vibes (and I love the movie adaptation too!) I must believe that I am not the only baby lesbian who sought out homosexual romance. The 2005 BBC movie was quite easy to find through the internet, and thankfully, it still feel very heartwarming. Yea yea, there’s the society, there’s the cultural burden… but sometimes we just want to fall in love like any heterosexual would.

I read the book, and the first movie follows the plot quite faithfully. I like the originally music as well! “The Handmaiden”, inspired by the same story, is more than an adaptation. It took place in Korea I guess? But it switches between Japanese and Korean so frequently that I lost track very soon. The pictures and composition are very beautiful and vivid. Aside from amplifying the luxurious lifestyle and perversion, the twist and plots were also dramatically alter. So the fingersmith was a common girl afterall, and there’s no emotional connections between her and the woman who raised her. There’s no backstory about switching the daughters. The two girls’ relationship with Mrs. Sucksby were very moving in the 2005 version, and so “The Handmaiden” doesn’t have that, and is a little less emotionally complexed and cold. Isn’t the ending of the 2005 version just super romantic and sweet? Or maybe I am just happy to not watch any scissoring, or the other dramatic “action” scene?

So after watching “The Handmaiden”, I sought out the “Fingersmith” again. The video quality is grainy, as it has always been – but somehow it’s just more heartwarming.

Chung Wan Choi