The Maid (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/08/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Sharply directed, blackly comic drama with a dash of social realism that is by turns chilling, heartbreaking and darkly funny, thanks to an assured script and a terrific central performance from Catalina Saavedra.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sebastian Silva, The Maid stars Catalina Saavedra (who looks a lot like Nina Wadia, aka Zainab Masood in EastEnders) as Raquel, a 41-year-old maid who has worked for Pilar and Mundo (Claudia Celedon and Alejandro Goic) for over 20 years, raising their four children and caring for them as if she was part of the family. However, after a birthday celebration, Raquel seems moody and exhausted, so Pilar hires a younger woman (Mercedes Villanueva as Mercedes) to help her out around the house.

Unfortunately, this only makes things worse, as Raquel immediately suspects she's being replaced and resorts to underhand tactics in order to force Mercedes out of the job. When the family hire an older woman (Anita Reeves as Sonia) instead, Raquel tries the same thing again, but she's unprepared for her reaction to her third assistant, the sweet-natured Lucy (Mariana Loyola).

The Good
Catalina Saavedra is terrific as Raquel, delivering a performance that, like the film itself, is simultaneously heartbreaking, chilling and darkly funny. There's also constant tension in her scenes, because, although you sympathise with her, you're never quite sure how far she'll go and you begin to suspect she might have snapped.

The superbly written script is full of telling details, subtly making the point that Raquel has had no life of her own – e.g. a phone call with her own mother highlights how little emotional contact she has with her own family, while the abundance of teddy bears on her bed suggests that she's never really matured.

The Great
Silva keeps tight control of the tone throughout and there are several terrific scenes, particularly Raquel's spiky interactions with feisty teenage daughter Camila (Andrea Garcia-Huidobro), such as petulantly hoovering outside her room after a sleepover.

Worth seeing?
The Maid is an impressively directed, sharply written and superbly acted drama that is by turns moving, suspenseful and darkly funny. Highly recommended.

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The Maid (15)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 19:21

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