The Royal Tailor - Movie Review -

Movie Review: The Royal Tailor

A 2014 award-winning Korean movie is one of my family’s favorite movies (at least my mom & me). My mom had to coax me into reading English Subtitles, but after a few minutes the story is so consuming you forget you’re even reading.

This movie could probably be described as a historical drama or period piece. However, it has a little bit of everythingcomedy, drama, romance, some action, and even a dream fantasy sequence. This movie had us laughing, on the edge of our seats, and crying.

Kong-Jin, young talented tailor (left) & Dol-Seok, the Royal Tailor (right)

From IMDB:

“Story of a rivalry between two tailors: Dol-Seok, who is the best master artisan in charge of royal attire and Kong-Jin, a genius like designer, born with dexterity and an excellent sense, plunges the court into scandal and tragedy. “

Yeah, some people will say this movie is about sewing, but it is more. So much more. There is jealousy, envy, yearning, old vs. young, power vs. powerless… I could go on. This really is one of the best story lines that encompasses so many different themes. My mom said this would be a movie she could watch every few years…in the same genre as Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, etc.

As a warning to homeschool families, there is adultery in this movie. Men visiting “tea rooms” where beautiful young “ladies” serve tea. With lots o’ flirting. Yet, I’ve seen much worse than this on public television shows. That being said, you may want to preview the movie before allowing your kids to watch.

As far as a time period, I understand that it is placed during the Joseon Dynasty Period from 1392-1897 and it is not based on any particular ruler or emperor. However, the producers went the extra-mile trying to make sure historical details were correct both in the clothing and the sets. From IMDB:

“Costume designer Jo Sang-gyeong said she was inspired by the clothing during King Yeongjo’s reign (1694-1776), which according to historical records was when a short jeogori, the jacket that sits on top of the dress, and jar-shaped skirts started to become fashionable.”

To help you get started with movie (while adjusting to reading all those subtitles), here’s a quick opening overview. The movie opens present-day at a museum where they are presenting a recently discovered ceremonial dress that revolutionized the fashion industry back in the Joseon era. Then the movie does a flashback to the Joseon era: to the current king, who has just finished the required 3-year mourning period for the previous king and has ordered a new robe from the Royal Tailor.

I’m not sure how popular this movie was in America. We stumbled upon it while searching for other homeschool movies. I can’t emphasize how all-consuming this movie becomes. You’ll probably become quite annoyed with anyone who asks for a potty-break or snack run – cause you don’t want to pause – I know we did.

This movie is currently included with Amazon Prime. You can use the link below and then choose to Rent the movie or add it to your Watchlist.

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I cannot find anything during the Joseon time period in Mystery of History where Korea is studied in-depth. However, there is a reference in the movie of Chinese ambassadors coming for a visit. Therefore I think this movie could align with the following topic:

MOH2: Ming Dynasty 1368-1644