A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongreon) Review

Movie: A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongreon)
By: Kittatron
Date: April 3, 2011

A Tale of Two Sisters

A Tale of Two Sisters hails from South Korea, and follows the story of a girl and her sister coming home to their family home with their father after some time away. Shortly after their arrival, we are introduced to a Step mother and it soon becomes apparent that everything is not as it seems in their home.

Older sister, Younger sister.

Su-jeong Lim and Geun-Young Moon play sisters Bae Soo-mi and Bae Soo-yeon. The two actresses have a remarkable rapport with one another, showing their characters close relationship with convincing ease. Their being believable is essential to making the story work and brings an element of realism that might otherwise be missing. Their tension with Jung-ah Yum, who plays the “evil stepmother” is palpable and adds many layers to the fear running through the film. The screaming matches are shocking in their suddenness; A reflection on the line between just family fights and being over the edge.

Sisters and Stepmother

Death and Perception.

For the first part of the film we are left wondering if the problems in the house are not all in Soo-mi’s mind. Certainly we are left guessing as to her sanity, but as the film continues it becomes apparent that there is more at work in the house than just the machinations of a young womans mind. The writing allows a person certain revelations as the story continues but continues to leave the crux of the matter in shadow. The imagery is exciting and frightening. The dinner party scene stands out for unexpected ghostly goodness. Janghwa, Hongryeon is a little light on the supernatural element, I must admit. That being said I think it's necessary for this film, and the balance of too much or too little in a film like it is a fine rope to walk.


And the human mind...

A tale of two sisters is very much the psychological thriller. It delves deeply into the workings of the human mind and interpersonal relationships showing how greatly a person can be affected by marriage and death; and perhaps how a death can be twisted by the person dying. This is where the relationship of the actresses means the most, because their palpable connection to each other leaves no question about why the ghost remains.


The Final Word.

Overall I give this film 4 Stars. It’s clever, touching and terrifying all in one go, but could go a little harder on the frights.



A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongreon)


A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongreon)


Jae-woon Kim


South Korea




Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum and Su-jeong Lim