Reel Asian 2015: The Royal Tailor

Two tailors compete for the favour of the royal family in The Royal Tailor. After 30 years of service towards The King (Yoo Yeon-Seok), head tailor Dol-Seok (Suk-kyu Han) only has a few months remaining, before he is made a noble and retires. Dol-Seok finds his position threatened when younger tailor Kong-Jin (Soo Go) comes to the palace and finds favour with The Queen (Shin-Hye Park). When a new mistress enters the picture and fights of The King’s attention, the two tailors finds themselves competing with each other to make the most exquisite garments.

The Royal Tailor is a period drama set within the Choson Dynasty of Korea. The film not only deals with the rivalry of these two tailors, but also The King, who cannot escape from the shadow of his dead brother, and The Queen, who is slowly finding herself being replaced by another woman. This results in The Royal Tailer almost being Shakespearean in its tone, with the film having equal parts comedy and tragedy.

As would be expected for a film with its title, The Royal Tailor has some exquisitely designed costumes, which were created in the same style and method as the time period. The film also acts as a bit of a primer about Korea’s Choson Dynasty, which constantly had to receive the approval of China’s Qing dynasty. In fact, one of the key moments of the film involves an event for Qing representatives, where dresses from both tailors are revealed. Altogether, The Royal Tailor, is a quite solid period drama, with some very excellent costumes.

8 / 10 stars

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).