What To Watch After The Handmaiden

What To Watch After The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden, directed by Park Chan-wook and based on Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, is a mesmerizing erotica drama film set in 1930s Korea. The film’s narrative intricacy, stunning cinematography, thrilling plot twists and understated performances by the cast leave viewers captivated and eliciting strong emotional responses.

Despite its acclaim, if you’re looking for movies or TV shows to watch after The Handmaiden, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular options to help satisfy your craving for something similar.

Before we get started, I want to point out that most of the recommendations may contain spoilers, so proceed with caution.

1. Portrait of a Lady On Fire

Portrait of a Lady On Fire features the same level of erotic tension and sumptuous visuals as The Handmaiden. The film, directed by Céline Sciamma, set in a remote island in Brittany, France in the late 18th century, tells the story of a painter Marianne (Noémie Merlant) hired to paint Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), a young woman before her wedding. Marianne falls in love with Héloïse and acts as her secret lover. The film’s characters, plot, and cinematography are all elegant and affecting.

2. Alias Grace

Alias Grace is a miniseries based on Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace and is available on Netflix. The miniseries, set in the 1840s, tells the story of Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), a teenager convicted of the murder of her employer and his mistress. Therapist Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) interviews Grace to uncover her past and understand her alleged crime. The series resembles the Handmaiden in its subversion of power dynamics, narrative layering, and a superb ensemble cast’s performance directed by Sarah Polley.

3. The Great

The Great is a comedy-drama available on Hulu that follows Catherine the Great’s rise to power in 18th-century Russia. The series stars Elle Fanning as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as Peter III, her ambitious and power-hungry husband. The show features the same humor and tension as The Handmaiden, as well as intrigue, politics, and is set within a period’s dynamic social scene and lavish aesthetics.

4. The Crimson Petal and The White

The Crimson Petal and The White is a four-part miniseries based on Michel Faber’s novel of the same name. The series is set in Victorian London and centers around the story of a prostitute Sugar (Romola Garai) and her relationship with wealthy businessman William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd). The series highlights themes of power, class, gender, and sex. The series is visually striking, and the script is sharp, similar to The Handmaiden.

5. The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers and starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, is a psychological thriller in a lighthouse on a lonely island in the late 1800s. The film’s gorgeous black-and-white imagery and moody score create an overwhelmingly tense atmosphere, while the film’s dialogue, delivered in a distinct New-England dialect, disorients and confounds. The Handmaiden could rightly be described as psychological drama, and the similarly surreal setting and off-kilter twists make The Lighthouse a refreshing follow-up.

6. Outlander

Outlander is a romantic time-travel drama series available on Netflix, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. The series tells the story of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a nurse in World War II, who travels through time to 18th-century Scotland. The series features the same themes of identity, power, love, and sex as The Handmaiden, and each episode features stunning cinematography of the Scottish Highlands and historical authenticity.


Q1. Can you suggest a movie similar to the Handmaiden with a Korean touch?

Yes, ‘Burning’ is a 2018 South Korean mystery film starring Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, and Jeon Jong-seo. The movie is a loose adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning.” It follows the story of Lee Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), a part-time worker who bumps into his high school classmate Haemi (Jeon Jong-seo). He starts to develop feelings for Haemi, but Haemi suddenly goes missing, and Jong-su realizes that she may have had a mysterious new friend, Ben (Steven Yeun), who may have something to do with her disappearance.

Q2. Can you suggest a series similar to ‘Alias Grace’?

If you enjoyed ”Alias Grace,” you may like ”Mrs. America” starring Cate Blanchett. It is a 2020 historical miniseries that tells the story of the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment from the perspective of the women who were affected by it. The series is set in the 1970s and features a star-studded cast, including Uzo Aduba, Rose Byrne, Margo Martindale, and Sarah Paulson. It is similar to Alias Grace in terms of political intrigue, complex characters, layered storylines and strong performances.

Q3. Can you suggest a film similar to ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’?

If you loved Portrait of a Lady on Fire, you might enjoy ‘Call Me by Your Name.’ Directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film depicts the blossoming romance between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and 24-year-old student Oliver (Armie Hammer) as they spend a summer in the Italian countryside. The film is visually stunning, moving, and sensual, and features the theme of complicated relationships and a profound exploration of desire with a lush soundtrack.

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