The Taste of Money

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The Taste of Money
The Taste of Money (2012 film).jpg
Korean release poster
Revised Romanization Donui Mat
McCune–Reischauer Ton ŭi Mat
Directed by Im Sang-soo
Produced by Film Pas Mal
Written by Im Sang-soo
Starring Kim Kang-woo
Youn Yuh-jung
Kim Hyo-jin
Baek Yoon-sik
Music by Kim Hong-jib
Cinematography Kim Woo-hyung
Edited by Lee Eun-soo
Lotte Entertainment
Wild Side Films
Distributed by IFC Films
Sundance Selects (US)
Release date
  • 17 May 2012 (2012-05-17)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office $7,539,438[2]

The Taste of Money (Hangul돈의 맛; RRDonui Mat) is a 2012 South Korean erotic thriller film about a conglomerate-owning family.[3][4]

It triggered controversy and hype with its portrayal of the lives of the privileged in Korean society, exploring themes of sex and money, greed and ambition. A decadent and sensational film that presents biting commentary on the rich and famous, it is Im Sang-soo's seventh film.[5][6]


In a luxurious house outside Seoul lives one of the country's richest families: company president Yoon, his wife Baek Geum-ok, their divorced daughter Nami, and son Chul. Yoon is company president but the reins of power are held by his wife Geum-ok, whose aged father was once a powerful businessman, and whom Yoon married for her money and influence. Yoon's private secretary is Joo Young-jak, from humble origins. His current job is making sure a U.S. businessman, Robert Altman, is kept happy with hookers, as part of a major business deal that could prove crucial to the family's fortunes. When Geum-ok sees Yoon having an affair with their Filipina maid, Eva, on her hidden CCTV, she beds Young-jak in revenge. When Chul is arrested for organizing a slush fund for Altman, Geum-ok decides to further punish her husband for his "mistake" in bringing the family's name into public disrepute, by having Eva killed. At the same time, Nami and Young-jak, start an affair. Yoon commits suicide over Eva's death (and takes the blame for his son's activities). After his funeral, Young-jak quits the family, glad to be rid of their influences. He accompanies Eva's coffin to the Philippines, where he is joined on the plane by Nami.



The Taste of Money first and foremost explores the corrupting influence of money.[15] It is the spiritual sequel of Im's previous film, he calls it "an extension of The Housemaid. You can say that it’s the story of the children of The Housemaid who've grown up." It is his exploration of the world outside the household portrayed in that movie – "What Hoon does outside the home, what kind of parents he has, an expansion of the scope of The Housemaid."[16]

At the end of The Housemaid, a young girl Nami is in shock at witnessing the suicide of her nanny Eun-yi. Fully grown up as a divorcée with a child of her own, Nami is now a main character in this film.[17] She is the only member of the family with a moral sense.[18]

If The Housemaid asserted through a self-immolating woman the impossibility of overturning the classes, The Taste of Money asks the question of whether a beautiful and happy life really might be impossible in a dark society.[19] The conclusion seems to be that money makes it impossible live a happy life, and makes one troubled and abusive even to those nearest.[16]



The film was invited to screen in competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival,[20][21][22][23][24][25][26] where it received the lowest mark out of the 22 works vying for the Palme d'Or according to Screen International, which aggregates reviews of the most respected critics worldwide.[27] Before and after the closing ceremony, director Im Sang-soo said to various Korean media that his failure to win was a personal "tragedy" and his participation a mistake because he was telling a "very Korean story" that foreigners can't understand.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

When released in the United States, The Taste of Money received mixed to negative reviews; it currently holds a 22% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[29] Metacritic, which uses a "normalized" scale to rate films, the film has a 57/100 rating, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[30]

A positive review comes from A.O. Scott of The New York Times, who blurbs: "Even as The Taste of Money swerves toward a frantic climax and a sentimental denouement, it remains intriguing. It feeds an insatiable curiosity about how the other half - or, in current parlance, the 1 percent - lives, and what it shows us is gorgeous, grotesque and disconcertingly human."[31]

Box office[edit]

Since its theatrical release on 17 May 2012, the film has grossed over 7.9 billion Korean won (around 6.8 million U.S. dollars), occupying 33% of the domestic box office sales as of 29 May, according to the Korea Box Office Information System (KOBIS). Fifteen foreign distributors have also bought its distribution rights at the film market during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival,[32] among them IFC Midnight, which acquired the film's North American rights.[33]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2012 Buil Film Awards
  • Best Music – Kim Hong-jib
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actress – Kim Hyo-jin
  • Nomination – Best Supporting Actress – Youn Yuh-jung
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Kim Woo-hyung
  • Nomination – Best Art Direction – Kim Yeong-hee, Kim Joon

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE TASTE OF MONEY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Arrow Films. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Box office by Country: Delicious Money". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  3. ^ Lim, Ju-hui (11 May 2012). "The character posters of Taste of Money released". StarN News. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Hong, Lucia (25 April 2012). "Taste of Money set to open in theaters on May 17". 10Asia. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Beck, Una (16 May 2012). "Korean Films at Cannes 2012 – The Taste of Money". Korea Cinema Today. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Han, Sunhee (6 November 2011). "Daisy-Cinergy shows AFM 'Money'". Variety. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kim Kang Woo finished filming The Taste of Money, bought dinner for all the staff". KoreanVibe. 14 January 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  8. ^ Lim, Ju-hui (1 May 2012). "Photos of Kim Gangwoo from movie Taste of Money revealed". StarN News. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Taste of Money Kim Kang-woo". Hancinema. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Kim, Hyo-eun; Cho, Jae-eun (18 May 2012). "At 64, Yoon Yeo-jeong won't let age get in the way of a sex scene". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "On Joo-wan cast for The Taste of Money". Hancinema. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Llanes, Rommel R. (4 May 2012). "Maui Taylor returns to acting in the Korean film The Taste of Money, entry at this year's Cannes filmfest". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Shayla, Sirri (12 May 2012). "Maui Taylor's Korean film to premiere in Seoul on Tuesday". InterAksyon. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Maui Taylor's Korean Film to compete in Cannes Film Festival". People's Journal. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Lee, Claire (17 May 2012). "Im Sang-soo takes disturbing portrait of chaebol to Cannes". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Korean Films at Berlinale 2012
  18. ^ Young, Deborah (26 May 2012). "The Taste of Money (Do-Nui Mat): Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  19. ^ Kang, Byeong-jin (7 February 2012). "Korea's most anticipated films of 2012". Korea Cinema Today. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  21. ^ Hong, Lucia (20 April 2012). "Korean pics In Another Country, Taste of Money to compete at Cannes 2012". 10Asia. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Two Korean Movies Invited to Compete at Cannes". The Chosun Ilbo. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  23. ^ Lee, Claire (20 April 2012). "Im and Hong head to Cannes film fest". Korea Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  24. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (21 April 2012). "Two Korean films make it to Cannes". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Hwang, Hei-rim (25 April 2012). "Four Korean films at the 65th Cannes Film Festival". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  26. ^ Lim, Ju-hui (14 May 2012). "New posters of The Taste Of Money disclosed". StarN News. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  27. ^ "Cannes critics jury poll: Beyond The Hills and Love are 2012 joint winners". Screen International. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  28. ^ Kwaak, Je-yup (30 May 2012). "Director Im Sang-soo captures recipe of failure at Cannes". The Korea Times. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  29. ^ The Taste of Money at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved 16 September 2013
  30. ^ The Taste of Money at Metacritic Retrieved 16 September 2013
  31. ^ "'The Taste of Money,' Directed by Im Sang-soo". A.O. Scott. The New York Times. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  32. ^ Suk, Monica (30 May 2012). "The Taste of Money Savours Film's Sales to 15 International Distributors". 10Asia. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  33. ^ Hazelton, John (27 May 2012). "IFC Midnight Gets Taste of Money for North America". Screen International. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 

External links[edit]