Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) has been the maid for the family run by matriarch Pilar (Claudia Celedón) for 23 years. Those years have taken their toll, and Raquel looks worn far beyond her 41 years. She is clearly unable to look after the household on her own, and Pilar tries to hire another maid to help out. Raquel takes this the wrong way, imagines she’s being eased out, and treats each new maid as an invader who must be repulsed.
Saavedra is extraordinary in the title role, her exhausted, pained, but determined look invoking a sullen bulldog who is on the verge of going feral. But this is not the story of a maid’s psychotic break, nor is it one where the family she works for is made up of monsters. Everyone in the film is very human, and the story is a very human comedy. The comedy is not of the slapstick nature (though there are some pretty physical moments), but rather grows out of the finely observed characters, and is shot though with genuine drama. A find, deeply sympathetic piece.
The transfer is solid, but the film is not the most attractive one. Naturalism seems to be the goal here, which is fine, but the colours are rather washed-out, and the picture is a bit grainy. The image is sharp enough, and again, based on some of the reviews of the theatrical release, it seems that the rather drab look is true to the film. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.
Here, though, I can’t help but wonder if a bit more might not have been done. The track is the original Spanish in 5.1. The dialogue is clear and undistorted, and there is nothing as such to detract from one’s listening pleasure. However, the surround elements are practically non-existent, and there are plenty of missed opportunities to increase the depth of the sound design. The end result will do, but is hardly exciting.
Behind the Scenes: (18:30) Plenty of clips of the production underway.
Storyboarding The Maid: (3:04) A brief montage of storyboards and the filmed result. There is nothing by way of explanatory comment.
Photo Gallery: This, on the other hand, has actual captions for each picture. I wish more such features did that.
The visuals and sound may not be exciting, but the performances, not to mention the film itself, certainly are. Well worth checking out.