The Concubine (2012)

I actually love this movie. I've seen it twice now, and it just gets better. If you thought Jo Yeo Jeong was absolutely insufferable in "I Need Romance," then she'll be redeemed in The Concubine. Gone is the whiny aegyo and the annoying indecision, replaced by a cold, calculating bad ass. She's so good in this movie! Yes, there's a lot of nudity. However, it serves a less erotic purpose and more of a vulnerability/ desperation one.
The basic summary: Shin Hwa Yeon (Jo) is the daughter of a wealthy nobleman in the Joseon dynasty. The current king (Jung Chan) is currently childless, and he has not taken on any concubines. The Queen Mother, who was once a concubine herself, is not related to the king and instead has a son, Sung Won (Kim Dong Wook), who she would obviously prefer to see as the king. When she notices that Sung Won has become infatuated with Hwa Yeon, she manipulates the king into taking her as a concubine. Hwa Yeon, who has fallen in love with a lowly commoner, Kwon Yoo (Kim Min Joon), wants none of this. However, when she and Kwon Yoo try to run away in the night, her father catches them the next day (really, it wasn't the best thought out plan). In exchange for Kwon Yoo's life, she agrees to become the king's concubine. Her father agrees and then cuts off Kwon Yoo's manhood instead (ouch).

Years later, the king is dying, and Hwa Yeon has become queen after producing a male heir. Sung Won has been wandering the dynasty in heartbreak over not being able to have Hwa Yeon, but he returns upon seeing that his half brother is deathly ill. The Queen Mother is scheming to have Sung Won become the new king, and Kwon Yoo comes to the palace as Choong Young, a eunuch. When the king does die and Sung Won is king, the Queen Mother will do just about everything she can to make sure it is Sung Won's lineage that continues the dynasty and not Hwa Yeon's. However, Hwa Yeon is no weak-minded widow, and she is ready to everything she can to protect her son.

So good. There are a view plot points I have issue with, but over all the ending had me forgiving all of Jo Yeo Jeong's acting in "I Need Romance."

MY ISSUES (Spoilers):

I don't really understand why the Queen Mother didn't just let Sung Won marry/ take Hwa Yeon as his own concubine from the get go... I mean we're given no reason why that wouldn't be perfectly fine in the beginning (no disliking or feeling threatened).

Why didn't the director make the son secretly be Kwon Yoo's? I rooted for Hwa Yeon regardless, but they could have made her a little less mean at the end. I would have liked a little love story maintained! Knowing Kwon Yoo and Hwa Yeon still loved each other, and t was their son, not any royal son, that would carry on the legacy would have been golden! But no, she has to tell him that the son is hers and hers alone...

Have you seen it?

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