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  • Movie: Portrait of a Beauty
  • Country: South Korea
  • Duration: 1 hr. 48 min.
  • Rating: 18+/R - Restricted Screening (nudity & violence)


  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 640 users)
  • Ranked: #1704
  • Popularity: #1456
  • Members: 1,543

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Portrait of a Beauty (2008)

Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 640 users
# of Members: 1,543
Reviews: 5 users
Ranked #1704
Popularity #1456
Members 640

Born to a family of established court painters, seven-year-old Yun Jeong is a young girl gifted at painting. However, the pressure is on her brother to carry on the proud family tradition, as women aren't allowed to become professional painters. While her brother trains to take his place in the court, Yun Jeong helps him out by secretly painting for him. The little girl's life is turned upside down when her brotherkills himself. In order to preserve the family honor, she is forced to take her brother's name and lives as a man. Yun Bok's genius and talent capture the heart of another great master of the time, Kim Hong Do.

But her daring depictions of women are condemned by the royal institute as obscene. Yun Bok meets Kang Mu and falls deeply in love. For the first time, she feels the strong desire to abandon everything she has built and simply be a woman in front of the man she loves. Kang Mu sacrifices all for his love as well. Kim Hong Do, who loved the genius of his best student, ends up loving everything about her, and Seol Hwa, a Gisaeng at the courtesan house, possesses a love for Hong Do that turns into fatal jealousy. The secret behind Shin Yun Bok's masterpiece, Portrait of a Beauty, is finally revealed after 250 years of silence.

  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Nov 13, 2008
  • Duration: 1 hr. 48 min.
  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 640 users)
  • Ranked: #1704
  • Popularity: #1456
  • Rating: 18+/R - Restricted Screening (nudity & violence)

Cast & Credits


12 people found this review helpful
Jun 30, 2012
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
I have never read the novel that this was based on, so I don't know how faithful it is in regards to the story.

The story in the movie is good, interesting and although not a fast paced movie, the pace fits the story. This version seems a little darker than the drama series The Painter of the Wind.

The actors were mostly ok. Shin Yun Bok played by Kim Gyu Ri, was really well done. She managed to convey all the conflicting emotions of her character quite well. You could see within her the joy she had for painting, the pain and guilt she carried with her from her family, and the odd mixture of innocence and experience.
The other actors did well with their characters, but due to the limitations of time, most of the other characters were pretty flat.
I really disliked the portrayal of Kim Hong-Do, her mentor. Kim Nam-Gil had no subtlety in his portrayal. He went from nothing to all, out of no where (Sorry, I can't explain that more without spoilers). Park Shin Yang did a much better job with this role in the drama series The Painter of the Wind.

The music went very well with the movie, it swirled in the background like a brush on canvas.

I would also note that this movie is quite sexually explicit, and definitely not for younger viewers, though I thought that most of the sex scenes were relevant to the plot, so not completely gratuitous.

Overall, if you want to see this story I think I would recommend The Painter of the Wind as a better choice. The series is a piece of artwork in itself, with sweeping cinematography, breathtaking music, and outstanding works of art. The characters are richer and fuller, and the story is all encompassing and not quite as dark. However if you don't have time to commit to the drama and just want a quick movie, this is fine.

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8 people found this review helpful
Sep 5, 2011
Overall 8.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
Im not a fan of historical movies/dramas but this one I was quite fascinated with. The premise attracted me and the way the story was carried out was unpredictable right till the unsatisfying ending. I thought the acting was fantastic but I did not like any of the characters except for Kim Na Gil's. I would have also enjoyed the movie better if they got another actress to play the female lead. This is a movie I'll only be watching once although it is rewatchable.
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