Two master tailors square off in an epic rivalry in this historical drama. Amid the Joseon era of South Korea, Jo Dol-seok and Lee Gong-jin square off over who can make more stunning clothes for royalty. Scandal, tragedy, and a secret history begin to unfold amid the rivalry.
This movie was surprisingly good. And by that I do not mean anything negative--I just mean, for being a story about two tailors in a historical time period, you do not assume you would be sitting at the edge of your seat, entirely engrossed in the film about sewing. I happen to enjoy sewing and love making things. But you wouldn't necessarily think a movie about sewing would be phenomenal...but this one was.
I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys historical dramas, who doesn't mind subtitles, and who finds the passion of art amazing to watch.
Every once in a while, on Amazon Prime, I find a gem of a movie. This was a glorious, colorful, enchanting film! I was riveted watching it. I had watering eyes because of the poignancy and charm. There were funny and sad parts. Love, friendship, revenge. I would watch an excellent foreign film like this one with subtitles anytime, over the trash coming out of Hollywood. Fabulous movie! Give us more of these movies, Amazon. I loved it!
I really enjoyed this movie, but I felt many of the reviews were misleading.
The strongest aspect of the movie is the storytelling. It mixes the personal, the historical, the political, and the ridiculous together. The characters are well rendered without their backstories being belabored. Just incredibly well done; the characters manage to be archetypes and feel real at the same time. The villains are somewhat sympathetic, which only makes the story more tragic. There's that uniquely (to me) Korean mix of pathos and humor, without which it would be a little slow paced for me as there's not much opportunity for action in the story. It had a lot to say, but it never let concept get in the way of telling an entertaining story. But it gave me a lot to think about during and afterwards--and made me want to. I'll remember this movie clearly for a long time.
But in reading the reviews raving about how beautiful the movie was I went into it expecting a sort of sageuk Moulin Rouge, where the dressmaking aspect was made exciting through sumptuous visuals. But in this regard it was nothing special--and, actually, it didn't show much of the creation process; most of what was shown was shown with a comedic atmosphere. It is not an ugly film, but it's not especially gorgeous, either. It's about on par with your average contemporary Korean TV drama. Perhaps because I do watch the occasional historical Korean TV show, I started with that expectation and assumed from the reviews that the production values here would be much higher. Still, it seems to me that the average American viewer would likely be underwhelmed by that aspect of the film if they watch this after reading those reviews.
So, I'm here to say: it's a reasonably pretty film, and if you haven't seen much material set in the Joseon or Goryeo eras you may find the costumes more interesting due to their newness to you than I did. But don't watch it for that, watch it for the story. Which is very, very good. Hollywood needs to pay more attention to Korean entertainment, which is making itself seen worldwide and proving you don't need mass mainstream appeal, gigantic budgets, nor regurgitated material to produce a wonderful film.
To anyone on the fence, please try it. But the first few scenes are confusing; don't worry, it becomes clear shortly.
I'm a dude who, while growing up, was taught how to sew by hand utilizing a thimble. I can buy oversized jeans and shirts, then, by hand, add pleats to the waist, or taper the legs and/or inseam to make them look fitted. This movie hit me on that level, especially the parts about the fingers. Also, it was just ridiculously beautiful. That scene near the end with the queen, my goodness.
If there is one thing I have learned from movies and television is that the people that live and work among royalty are not soft. Best to leave your ego at the moat.