Comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Extended Version.
In Korea of the 30's, Fujiwara is a cunning thief who plans to pose as a count to seduce the wealthy Lady Hideko who lives with her uncle. After the marriage he wants her to be committed to a madhouse to get her fortune. To support him, he smuggles the pocket thief Sook-Hee into the household. The plan gets confused when Sook-Hee falls in love with Lady Hideko and her uncle has little interest in letting his wealthy niece go.
In my personal opinion, The Handmaiden is one of the best movies released in 2016. The mixture of drama, thriller and erotic works perfectly and the audience really gets sucked into the films atmosphere. Nothing is as it seems so anything further could be considered a spoiler. Highly recommended!
In addition to the regular theatrical version, there is also an extended version of The Handmaiden with approx. 21 additional minutes. Many of the alterations are rather subtle. A few goofs in the theatrical version have been corrected and a lot of scenes are longer. The most striking alteration however is the fact that all the scenes with the pack of thieves are earlier in the extended version. The question if the extended version is worth its money is not easy to answer though. Are the extended scenes absolutely necessary? No, not really. But then again, they do increase the quality of the movie. So basically, the theatrical version is a good choice, I guess. That being said, if one likes the movie, the extended version is worth a try.
Sook-Hee unwraps the paper.
Extended Version: 4.7 sec
The sign slightly longer.
Extended Version: 0.5 sec
In the theatrical version, the drive through the gate is a bit longer.
In the extended version, the car passes the gatekeeper. Sook-Hee grabs the bag.
Theatrical Version: 1.27 sec
Extended Version: 9.47 sec
Sasaki still thinks that Sook-Hee is only allowed to talk to her masters in Japanese. As they walk down the hallway, she says she doesn't dare new housemaids as they would be the first to run away in case of a fire.
The theatrical version contains an alternate shot of them in the hallway instead.
Theatrical Version: 5.67 sec
Extended Version: 25.17 sec
Sook-Hee a bit earlier in front of the painting.
Extended Version: 0.53 sec
Sook-Hee longer when she is looking at the wall paintings in her room.
Extended Version: 19.27 sec
Subsequent shot to Sook-Hee getting to bed, the extended version contains footage of the moon in the sky.
Extended Version: 3.87 sec
The extended version, after Sook-Hee has put herself to bed with Hideko, shows the scene in which Sook-Hee is robbed one of her shoes by the other girls.
no difference (51.77 sec)
Hideko asks if Sook-Hee likes it here and that her uncle doesn't want a lot of sunlight in the house, otherwise the books will fade. Sasaki withdraws.
The extended version shows alternative scenes instead. The dialogs are as above. Hideko also says that the two are similar and asks if she is an orphan. Sasaki withdraws.
Theatrical Version: 26.56 sec
Extended Version: 37.30 sec
Hideko still says that she thought that her great-aunt and Sasaki showed her what motherly love was.
Extended Version: 3.93 sec
Hideko still denies her statement about mother love.
Extended Version: 5.43 sec
In the theatrical version you see Sook-Hee, then a cut on both of them. Hideko thinks that her swearing and stealing doesn't matter. She just doesn't want to be lied to.
The extended version still shows the two in the room without the re-cuts. The dialog is the same.
Theatrical Version: 8.5 sec
Extended Version: 14.83 sec
In the theatrical version, Sook-Hee grabs the shoes.
In the extended version, Hideko asks why Sook-Hee did not grab a nicer looking pair but she shakes her head.
Theatrical Version: 3.6 sec
Extended Version: 6.0 sec
Sook-Hee rises after Hideko has gone. She rolls her head and goes to a jewellery box. There she discovers an opera glass with which she observes Hideko during her walk.
Extended Version: 26.87 sec
Sook-Hee puts on another hat.
Extended Version: 9.83 sec
During a walk in the rain, Hideko tells us that her uncle licks on a pen when he concentrates. She complains that Sook-Hee is not holding the umbrella over her properly.
At home, Hideko suddenly gets sick and throws up. She says this is because of the books. Sook-Hee says that she reads too much so that she still becomes a professor.
The maid gives Sook-Hee her stolen shoe back. Another maid shows up and the girls start whispering about the count's arrival.
Extended Version: 78.03 sec
In the theatrical version, Fujiwara asks if Sook-Hee did what she had been told. They are exchanging strange looks.
In the extended version he asks the same question. Hideko thanks him for his recommendation, to which he replies that he has taken someone who is not hard to understand. Sook-Hee should serve her lonely mistress faithfully. Then he gives her another coin, which Sook-Hee pockets.
Theatrical Version: 7.16 sec
Extended Version: 32.03 sec
In the theatrical version, Sook-Hee stands up. Fujiwara walks towards her.
In the extended version Fujiwara makes a handstand through the room. Sook-Hee gets up and complains that he gave her a fake coin. She tosses him the coin, the image freezes.
Theatrical Version: 4.20 sec
Extended Version: 19.17 sec
After the image with the coin is frozen, the extended version shows the scenes which telling the Sook-Hee story and how Fujiwara presents his plan to the gangsters.
no difference (293.37 sec [4:53 min])
Fujiwara teaches Sook-Hee how to seduce women. Then follows an exercise how to choose the right kimono as a maid.
Extended Version: 70.07 sec
In the extended version the scene follows in which Fujiwara reads his letter.
no difference (21.38 sec)
Sook-Hee asks her teacher if her mother cried when she was hanged. She says that she cried often, but only once caught and hung. Then she tells us that she laughed and was happy to get Sook-Hee. She thinks that Sook-Hee will also become a nimble thief.
Then you see again how Sook-Hee says goodbye to her friends. The coin flies through the room to Fujiwara, who runs to Sook-Hee.
Extended Version: 75.63 sec
Sook-Hee a bit longer after she opens the door.
Extended Version: 0.9 sec
The shot of Sook-Hee's hand on her skirt is a bit longer.
Extended Version: 1.0 sec
In the theatrical version, in the scene in which Fujiwara shows Sook-Hee how to wrap women around your finger, the dialogues are the same but there is alternative footage in which he hits Sook-Hee on the ass.
Theatrical Version: 24.76 sec
Cut to Sook-Hee's eyes. She wants to know if Hideko had ever considered getting married to someone else.
Extended Version: 2.03 sec
The theatrical version cuts to Sook-Hee's eyes for a brief moment.
In the extended version you can see Hideko, who thinks that Sook-Hee is quite intrusive for a housemaid.
Theatrical Version: 1.03 sec
Extended Version: 3.93 sec
In the theatrical version you can see Hideko taking off Sook-Hees underwear a little longer.
Theatrical Version: 1.13 sec
Fujiwara starts having fun with the maid a little earlier.
Extended Version: 0.83 sec
The shot of Fujiwara on his way to Sook-Hee starts a bit earlier in the theatrical version.
The extended version shows Fujiwara looking at the painting and then at Sook-Hee.
Theatrical Version: 0.53 sec
Extended Version: 6.7 sec
In the theatrical version, Sook-Hee asks her teacher at this point if her mother cried when she was hanged. She thinks that she often cried, but only once caught and hung. Then she tells us that she laughed and was happy to get Sook-Hee.
The scene is shorter and differently mounted than in the extended version. It's missing the sequence where the teacher says, that Sook-Hee also becomes a nimble thief.
Theatrical Version: 31.77 sec