The Maid [La Nana]

"Excellent"

The Maid [La Nana] Review


This striking black comedy from Chile delves into the life of a 41-year-old maid for a wealthy Chilean family, cleverly revealing both her own inner life and some home-truths from this modern-day caste system.

Raquel (Saavedra) has worked with Pilar and Mundo (Celedon and Goic) for more than 20 years, raising their four children. She's part of the family, and is fiercely protective of her work. So when Pilar hires a nice younger woman (Villanueva) to help, Raquel subtly but outrageously hounds her out of the job.

And when they hire a much feistier older woman (Reeves) to snap Raquel into shape, she tries the same thing again. But the next one (Loyola) is a completely different story.

The film is shot with a handheld, doc-style realism that captures tiny glimpses of the characters' real feelings, as opposed to what they express to each other. The camera follows Raquel without blinking, making constant observations that are bitingly funny and sharply telling, while almost never leaving the family home. Raquel's relationship with each family member is distinct. Issues constantly crop up, especially between Raquel and the eldest daughter (Garcia-Huidobro), and this becomes even more tense with invasions of privacy from both sides.

Saavedra delivers a relentless performance that blends loyalty with paranoia.

Raquel's increasingly surly demeanour is both hilarious and a little terrifying, because we can see that it could be her undoing. She rejects all suggestions that she might need assistance, and her territorial attitude is pretty vicious. And yet Saavedra's performance miraculously holds our sympathy even as she behaves very badly indeed. We actually understand why she feels the way she does. And we like her a lot.

This is a fiendishly clever film that constantly catches us by surprise with witty touches that reveal the characters deepest thoughts and feelings. The connections between these people are complex and often unexpected, as the sharper, darker edges are softened with affection. By the end, we feel like we have travelled a remarkable journey with Raquel and this family, and it's not only a thoroughly enjoyable trip, but along the way we've learned a few things about ourselves.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Sebastian Silva

Producer: Gregorio Gonzalez

Starring: Catalina Saavedra as Raquel, Claudia Celedón as Pilar, Andrea García-Huidobro as Camila, Mariana Loyola as Lucy, as Mundo

Also starring:

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