The Maid Review

The Maid is a nice little piece of psychological drama that manages to be both warm and bleak, dark and funny, provocative and kind. It portrays a woman at the very end of her tether turning the household she works for into disarray as she fights to hold onto her ambiguous place within the family.

Using simple and honest film work reminiscent of handheld camera documentary, director Sebastián Silva tells the story with a quiet sense of realism, not once slipping into melodrama, despite the sometimes bizarre events unfolding. It’s a style that invites us to view the film as social commentary, exploring issues such as outdated class distinctions or the notion of servitude.

It’s also a style that sets off the warmth of humanity within the film and it is, as a character piece that this film really shines. Catalina Saavedra’s performance as the long-serving, insecure maid Raquel is an appealing, engaging pleasure. While Raquel is outwardly prickly and unpleasant, she conveys an underlying vulnerability that means we continue to love her despite some of her comically horrible behaviour. We watch her character develop, almost physically changing, throughout the film as Saavedra slowly allows a stronger, lovelier, more hopeful Raquel to emerge.

Set against the slightly grim background, this tender, sympathetic portrayal tugs at the heartstrings a little. It’s a sweet and rewarding experience.

While offering little in terms of extra features – six minimalist trailers and some rather odd “B-roll” footage – this DVD release provides a welcome opportunity to see this delightful wee film if you missed it the first time round.

Kathy Alys

The Maid is out on 8th November

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