Pin It
Favorite

The Maid 

This astonishing Chilean film beautifully observes the smallest of everyday things.

click to enlarge art15268.jpg

Right on the DVD box for The Maid (La Nana), a winner at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, are the words “humorous” and “darkly comedic.”

This astonishing 2009 Chilean movie is many things: a pointed examination of domestic politics; a startling portrait of a life given over to others; a beautifully observed film about the smallest of everyday things. But “funny” it ain’t, though I suppose “darkly comedic” will sell more DVDs than “brutally sad.”

Because that’s what I see here: brutal sadness, in the tight boundaries and minor limits of the life of Raquel (Catalina Saavedra), live-in maid to a well-off Santiago family. And yet I urge you to see this movie, and see it now. Because it’s not just brutally sad; it’s also surprisingly hopeful, and wonderfully unpredictable, and simply lovely. Writer and director Sebastián Silva juggles his characters within the restricted confines of the Valdes home — almost the whole movie takes place there — and crafts such a richly emotional story in all the things that go unsaid between the Valdeses and Raquel. He skillfully maneuvers through ever-changing perspectives on Raquel and the lengths to which she will go to retain what little power she has in her life. She is the villain of the piece, and the heroine, and one of the most unforgettable characters I’ve ever seen on film.

Raquel is in charge of the household, but she appears to have no friends, no interests, nothing outside of the Valdes family. Her raging migraines are getting worse. The house and the kids are just too much work for her, but she’s also loathe to cede any of the power she has. So when the Valdeses bring in another, much younger maid to help Raquel ...

Well, I won’t tell you what happens. None of it is funny: just horrifying and heartbreaking. And absolutely haunting, in the very best way. This is the rare film that strives to introduce you to a character and succeeds in a way that you won’t see coming. (Not Rated)

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Slaying The Shark
  • Slaying The Shark

    Meru is one outdoors doc that knows a great story trumps great stunts
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Third-World Problems
  • Third-World Problems

    Owen Wilson and Lake Bell take a stab at drama in No Escape
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • No Winning Side
  • No Winning Side

    Cartel Land offers an intense look at vigilantes fighting Mexican drug gangs on both sides of the border
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Bach @ Barrister

Bach @ Barrister @ Barrister Winery

Sept. 1-2

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Maryann Johanson

Most Commented On

  • Spokane Sounds Like...

    The music we're more likely to listen to than any other city
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • Paternity Leave

    Has Wilco finally moved away from the 'dad rock' label?
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Music


Film


Punk


Review


Festival


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation