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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘The Maid’ Chilean treasure

    Tense. That’s the word that best describes “”The Maid.”” It captures the anxiety in the actors’ jaws, the rigid shots and the emotional stiffness of bourgeois hypocrisy. Hailing from Chile, this delightful foreign film follows Catalina Saavedra’s portrayal of Raquel, an eccentric and dour maid working in a Santiago household.

    For over 23 years, Raquel has served the Valdes family with a zealous passion. She lives for the four children and loyally cleans the large home. When obliterating headaches and age begin to interfere with her service, the Valdeses begin a search for a newer and younger woman to help out with the chores.

    A stubborn creature of habit, Raquel goes to increasingly devious methods to oust each new maid with an arsenal of locked doors, piercing passive-aggressive tactics and a bucket of cleaning supplies. Audiences do not know whether she will attack next with the feather duster or the kitchen knives. Raquel meets her match with vivacious Lucy, who abruptly throws Raquel’s sense of meaning into question.

    The only tiny complaint: With a few more ousted maids, director Sebastián Silva could have easily created a montage. The continuous cycling of new characters, though often humorous, eventually becomes predictable until the arrival of Lucy. However, this small qualm is vastly overshadowed by Saavedra’s performance. While not exactly cinematic, it is the lack of expressive feeling and her manipulation of only a few facial movements that creates such an intriguing character. Silva’s subtle camera shifts hone in on Raquel’s path toward satisfaction and the honest assessment of an uncomfortable domestic situation.

    “”The Maid”” is a thoroughly engrossing take on the dynamics of an individual who essentially lives with a family, yet remains first and foremost an employee. In a culture where very few families have live-in servants, such a depiction is especially unnerving for most Americans. Though a great movie upon first viewing, “”The Maid”” needs time to marinate for audiences to truly grasp the darker undertones and realize the theme’s subtlety. 

    Sharp, biting and poignant, “”The Maid”” is well worth a trip to The Loft Cinema. Visit or call 795-7777 for showtimes.

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