5 Must-Watch Movies Similar to ‘The Handmaiden’

If you loved the captivating and enigmatic world of 'The Handmaiden', then you won't want to miss these 5 must-watch movies that share its intoxicating blend of drama, romance, and thriller elements. Get ready to be seduced by hidden agendas, intricate plots, and unforgettable moments as you dive into a selection of films that will leave you breathless.

1) Running on Empty Dreams

Running on Empty Dreams is a movie that reminds me of The Handmaiden, and not just because they both touch on the topic of lesbianism. While The Handmaiden is a visually stunning Korean film with a complex plot and multiple storylines, Running on Empty Dreams is an American drama that focuses on the love story between a married woman and a single mom. While The Handmaiden is known for its exquisite costume design and cinematography, Running on Empty Dreams unfortunately suffers from its low budget, resulting in long, single shots and a lack of intimate moments between the two women. Additionally, the script of Running on Empty Dreams can be confusing and has weird religious overtones, making it hard to understand who the target audience is. On the other hand, The Handmaiden is a thematically beautiful film, with a captivating storyline split into three parts.

Release date: June, 2009
IMDB Rating: 4.4

2) Elisa & Marcela

Elisa & Marcela is reminiscent of The Handmaiden in its exploration of lesbian relationships and the challenges faced by the protagonists. Both movies delve into the complexities of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to be with the ones they desire. While The Handmaiden is set in 1930s Korea and Elisa & Marcela takes place in early 20th century Spain, both films transport us to a bygone era with their impeccable attention to detail in terms of set design, costumes, and cinematography. The Handmaiden impresses with its thematic beauty, showcasing a mansion that seamlessly blends Western and Japanese influences, while Elisa & Marcela captivates with its stunning black and white landscape. The music in both movies plays a crucial role in setting the tone and enhancing the overall experience. Although The Handmaiden's plot may be more intricate and its twists more unpredictable, Elisa & Marcela tells a simple yet powerful tale through minimal dialogue and evocative imagery.

Release date: June, 2019
IMDB Rating: 6.6

3) Portrait of a Beauty

Portrait of a Beauty is reminiscent of The Handmaiden in its exploration of themes such as love, betrayal, and the societal constraints placed on women. Both films take place in historical settings, showcasing the elegant and opulent lifestyles of the characters. However, while The Handmaiden is a thriller with a complex plot and multiple twists, Portrait of a Beauty focuses more on the protagonist's personal journey and the challenges she faces in a male-dominated world. The Handmaiden captivates with its meticulous attention to detail, from the stunning cinematography to the costume design, which reflects the stark contrast between the Western and Japanese cultures. On the other hand, Portrait of a Beauty is a lavish royal court spectacle that immerses the audience in the vibrant world of 18th-century Korea. It showcases the protagonist's rise to fame and fortune, as well as her struggles to maintain her identity and pursue her artistic passion.

Release date: November, 2008
IMDB Rating: 6.3

4) Je Tu Il Elle

Je Tu Il Elle is reminiscent of The Handmaiden in its exploration of female sexuality and the search for identity. Both films delve into the themes of lesbianism, female nudity, and eroticism, but they do so in different ways. The Handmaiden is set in a period of time where sexual attractions are intertwined with a plot of deceit and betrayal, while Je Tu Il Elle takes a more experimental approach, with long takes and ritualistic actions that provoke the audience. The Handmaiden is a visually stunning film, with a perfect blend of western and Japanese aesthetics, while Je Tu Il Elle focuses more on the internal struggles of its protagonist. Both films offer a unique perspective on female desire and the complexities of human relationships. If you enjoyed The Handmaiden, I highly recommend watching Je Tu Il Elle for a thought-provoking and mesmerizing cinematic experience.

Release date: June, 1974
IMDB Rating: 6.7

5) The Stewardesses

Release date: July, 1969
IMDB Rating: 3.7

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