Thursday, June 24, 2010

La nana (The Maid) (2009)

The write-ups for this movie sounded promising and full of laughs. That’s why, once I began watching, I was underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong…there were moments of amusement, but the main character was so fueled by bitterness and anger, it was difficult to connect with her, like her or understand why this movie revolved  around her. The woman is Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) and she is the live-in maid of a Chilean family. She has served the family for more than 20 years.Food possessive The movie begins on Raquel’s 41st birthday. She has been stricken with powerful headaches and dizziness. This fact, combined with her acrimonious relationship with Camilla (Andrea García-Huidobro), the oldest of the family’s four children, causes the family matriarch to add Lucy (Mariana Loyola), a young new maid to the household to assist Raquel. This sends Raquel into a tail spin and she resorts to juvenile shenanigans to haze the new girl.

The movie continues like this without any tangible arc for nearly an hour when suddenly magic occurs: Raquel displays a smile and laughter, but I won’t tell you how it happens because it’s worth watching it develop. The male writer/director has a knack for understanding the subtleties of familial relationships and human behavior. Although, he doesn’t turn these keen details into true subplots (which may have robbed focus), their mere suggestions align with and support the plot. The only spoiler I will provide you is that I yielded to tears at the end because Raquel, you won me over.

Writer/Director: Sebastián Silva

Country: Chile

Genre: Dramedy

Run time: 95 minutes

Scale: 4.5