Orphaned at an early age, Philip (Claflin) was raised solely by his cousin, Ambrose. When Ambrose dies abroad on the eve of Philip’s 25th birthday, Philip - after a series of letters sent to him by his cousin prior to death - is convinced Ambrose’s mysterious wife Rachel (Weisz) is to blame. When she shows up at his Cornwall home, his rage quickly turns to obsession as he becomes infatuated with her. But what is she really after?
Taking us back to Victorian Northumberland, Oldroyd’s film follows teenage Katherine (Pugh) who, while her oppressive wealthy older husband (Hilton) is away, embarks upon an affair with stable groom Sebastian (Jarvis). A path of lust, love, and murder is soon paved as Katherine is seduced by her growing power.
Given a 1930’s Korean make-over from its loose source material Victorian Britain setting, The Handmaiden follows young orphaned pickpocket Sookee (Tae-ri) who is enlisted by a con-artist posing as a Count (Jung-woo) to help him bring down wealthy Japanese heiress Hideko (Min-hee). As romance begins to blossom however, who’s really conning whom?