- Running time:
- 96 minutes
- Catalina Saavedra -
- Claudia Celedon -
- Alejandro Goic -
- Andrea García-Huidobro -
- Mariana Loyola -
Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) has spent her entire adult life as the live-in maid for the Valdez family in Chile. The matriarch, Pilar (Claudia Celedon), is completely dependent on her, while patriarch Mundo (Alejandro Goic) mostly keeps to himself. In addition to cooking and cleaning, Raquel plays nanny to the children—she’s adored by oldest son Lucas (Agustin Silva), and loathed by oldest daughter Camila (Andrea Garcia-Huidobro). Years of hard work have taken their toll and Raquel’s health is starting to decline. But when Pilar suggests bringing in extra help, Raquel—not wanting to be marginalized in the only life she’s known—refuses to play nice.
The buzz: Winner of two jury prizes at this year’s Sundance film festival—the top prize in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition and a special prize for Saavedra’s performance—“The Maid” is the second film from 30-year-old Chilean director Sebastián Silva. He based it on his own experiences growing up in a family with a live-in maid, used his own childhood home as a location and cast his younger brother as the family’s eldest son.
The verdict: Although some of its specifics are rooted in South American culture, “The Maid” is a surprisingly universal film—an easily accessible character study that creates a credible and complete family dynamic. It’s both a domestic dramedy and a workplace procedural, incisively revealing the emotional consequences of living with a family that you’re never quite a part of. TV and theater veteran Saavedra is remarkable in the title role. Unafraid to play up Raquel’s more childish, off-putting qualities (she pretty much wills away two possible helpers out of stubbornness), Saavedra also conveys both an admirable resolve and a sympathetic fragility. Raquel doesn’t need our pity. She earns our understanding. And Silva is a filmmaker wise enough to afford this hard-working woman her dignity.
Did you know? The film’s release led to debate about the treatment of domestic workers in Chile, where approximately 70,000 people work as maids. This year, the country’s President passed a law guaranteeing they are allowed holidays off work.
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Maid in Louisville.
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