the king of façade

DVD - 2013 | Korean
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted counselor to find a royal body double. He recruits a crude, working-class peasant, Ha-seon, a village performer who bears a startling resemblance to the ruler. When the king falls into a coma from poisoning, he is secreted away to recover and Ha-seon reluctantly assumes the throne, forced to pull off history's biggest masquerade.
Publisher: [United States] : CJ Entertainment, 2013
Branch Call Number: DVD MASQ
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (113 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: King of façade


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 03, 2018

This film provides a fictional reconciliation for the two diametrically opposed facets of the ill-fated King Gwanghae, temperamental, paranoid and abusive on the one hand and reformist on the other. While the truth is that a mental illness may have been exacerbated by the instability of his childhood, the explanation offered here is that a jester/clown stood in for him after a poisoning and that it was he who offered the historic reforms Gwanghae is credited for.

What I love about the best Korean drama is that it commits to all facets of the story it tells. It is at times funny, indulging in some of "gross out" humor that would horrify the most hardened viewer of R-rated American comedies (the toilet scene-, but it balances that with deep emotion (it's hard not to be pulled in by Byung-hun Lee's outrage and sadness) and romance. Lee also does an amazing job of selling both the tyrannical king whom you might not mind seeing assassinated and the jester with a heart of gold, both of whom believably transform in the course of the film.

The supporting roles were also complicated characters; they might not have gotten as long on screen, but they were able to quickly convey what their motivations were, whether through dialogue or expressions. While the young servant Sa-Wol and the Captain pulled at my heartstrings, the quieter Chief Eunuch, Councilor and Queen Consort made a more lasting impression, and I found myself thinking about them long after the film ended.

Finally, the attention to detail in the set design was amazing, from the costumes and settings to the food (I was very excited every time the King was offered a late-night snack). Highly recommended for fans of Korean historical fiction

Nov 27, 2017

Based loosely upon the history of Korean royal ruler, King Gwanghae of the Joseon Dynasty, who was the only king to tax the landowners [the super-rich] and push back against the imperial domination of China's Ming Dynasty [the dudes who ended China's naval exploration and essentially mothballed their fleet of the most advanced ships of that time], this is a wonderfully written fictional account, where a commoner ends up as the driving force for societal advancement - - somewhat opposite, say, of so-called Shakespearean scholars at Harvard, Yale and Oxford who firmly believed no commoner could be responsible for Shakespeare's works, and they must have been penned by a royal! [Any rudimentary research ino the family and descendants of Shakespeare reveals a number of gifted linguists and wordsmiths.]
Great movie, but don't expect a swashbuckler, not a sword-fighting flick.

Feb 16, 2017

Great script and acting.Definitely worth watching!

Sep 14, 2015

Good. Very engaging story.

Sep 12, 2015

(Don't miss the deleted scenes in Bonus, particularly the epilogue.) Thoroughly entertaining high drama; per wiki: The film is an interpretation of the missing 15 days in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty during Gwanghae's reign—designated by his 1616 journal entry, "One must not record that which he wishes to hide." It swept the 49th Grand Bell Awards, winning in 15 categories, including Best Film, Director, Screenplay and Actor.

Aug 16, 2014

Although the story has been done a few times before (Kagemusha, Dave) , this superior production is a welcome respite from Hollywood's green screen performing monkeys. Outstanding.

Jul 07, 2014

Beautiful, entertaining and touching.

aaa5756 Jun 12, 2014

This DVD movie was entertaining and interesting but not one of my favorite for this year. Not too bad---good performance. Very predictable but still entertaining. I fast forwarded a lot but not all the way.

Jun 09, 2014

In love wirh korean culture specially their cuisine and drama series

Mar 22, 2014

Historial korean drama that is set during the 17th century of Joseon Dynasty. The king portrays two different characters the King Gwanghae and a mischievous clown named Ha Sun. Loved this movie!!!

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Sep 12, 2015

Official: If you change the law overnight, the burden on landowners will become unbearable. Do not discriminate landowners for they are your loyal subjects, too.
King: Taxing 10 bags of rice for those who own 10 patches of rice paddy and 1 for those who own 1. How is that discrimination? When people are voluntarily becoming slaves and eunuchs, how can you talk of discrimination over a landowner's bag of rice?

Sep 12, 2015

King's edict:
Just how important is state policy that we must force our good people to fight someone else's war? As the King that people refer to as their husband, I may steal and take from them, but I shall not drive them to death. To me, my country and my people are hundred folds more precious than the virtues of state policy.
Your grace is immeasurable.
Your grace is immeasurable.

Sep 12, 2015

Queen: Do you remember what you said to me on the day I became Princess Consort?
King: Well...
Queen: Of course you forgot. It's been so long. You held my hand and told me that you would stay by my side until the end of days. I can still hear your voice.
King reads a poem: It's called 'Face of My Dearest'
The moon in the sky is
the face of my dearest.
Who cut my dearest's head
and hung it up there?
Alas, how much it must hurt!
She smiles not.
When the moon comes up, I gaze upon it
wondering if it is my dearest.

aaa5756 Jun 12, 2014

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” -Winston Churchill

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FSPL

To Top