The Handmaiden – The Absence of Thought
This is the patented Think Laugh Cry system finally breaking.
The Handmaiden was the finest film I’ve witnessed all year. It was riveting in a way I imagine skydiving is riveting: You are so focused on what is happening in the moment that your mind doesn’t wander.
This is a version of the flow state seemingly everyone is trying to achieve in 2017. Maybe you get there through dedicated, engrossing work. Maybe you microdose LSD. Maybe you read books and binge “Ted Talks” in hopes of finding a formula to copy.
Or maybe you just watch The Handmaiden.
In the truest and rarest sense, I was mesmerized into not thinking. The movie ended, and I had nothing to critique or consider.
“The Handmaiden” did not make me THINK.
It takes a special type of film for character affection to be so deep and meaningful that I feel so much as things, often terrible things, happen to those characters.
“X” happens. It’s a compelling event in the movie. Part of what makes it compelling is its completeness – there are no lingering questions or apparent holes. “X” could never be discussed again, and all would be well.
Then you are plunged back into “X” an hour later from a different, parallel view. And now “X,” which was already complete, miraculously becomes so much richer.
It’s like already having the best set of Christmas presents ever; all of your desires have been exceeded. Then you take the trash outside and BOOM, there’s a ping-pong table sitting on your driveway. It’s the thing you didn’t know you wanted until the moment of discovery. Goosebumps, tears, laughter and/or Hail Marys are all appropriate responses.
“The Handmaiden” made me CRY.