"The Maid" Could Easily Be Swept Under the Bed

I wanted to see a movie that had been around for a while, since the week's new openings did not read very well in the reviews. The New York Daily News gave this film four stars so I thought to myself that it would be a safe bet, after all, what have I got to lose? Regrettably, plenty in terms of time.  And at the age of 85, time is very precious.

While I stood in line at the Angelika Film Center waiting for the earlier performance to end, I decided to ask people exiting what they had thought of the film. One couple said they liked it, while inside the theater, a late-middle-aged-guy recognized me and said, "Only a masochist could enjoy this film. It took so, so long to come to an end. I wish I could spare you the agony." After his comment, I spoke with three other people leaving the earlier show, all of whom said they enjoyed the picture. The guy who referred to masochism was right.  This is a boring and much too long movie.

The plot is simple: Raquel (Catalina Saavedra), a maid in the home of a Chilean couple with four kids, is on the brink of a nervous breakdown. The lady of the house, Pilar (Claudia Celedon), is a patrician and kind woman who wants to hire a second maid to assist Raquel. Raquel is distressed by the thought.

When a young Peruvian maid arrives, Raquel makes her life miserable, and the girl quickly leaves the house. Pilar's mother states that she knows someone who could get along with Raquel, and Sonia (Anita Reeves) is hired. Yet, Sonia is a tough old biddy who, before she leaves, beats up Raquel. Then comes Lucy (Mariana Loyola) who is competent, mature, and a darling who gets Raquel to accept her.

Lucy bring Raquel to her home on Christmas where her uncle, Eric, seduces Raquel. Raquel, who looks to be in her 40s or 50s, is both gratified and horrified. She tells Eric that it was her first sexual experience.

Though the film's highlights include a cute scenes with children, all in all, if you give any thought to how you spend your discretionary hours this, in my opinion, "The Maid" is not the movie for you.  However, there was more than a smattering of applause at the end of the picture.  Why, I don't know.  (In Spanish, with English subtitles.)