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La Nana (The Maid) (2009)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 65
Fresh: 61 | Rotten: 4

Catalina Saavedra's devastating performance would be reason enough to see The Maid, but Sebastian Silva's empathetic direction and finely tuned script only add to the movie's pleasing heft.

96

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 1

Catalina Saavedra's devastating performance would be reason enough to see The Maid, but Sebastian Silva's empathetic direction and finely tuned script only add to the movie's pleasing heft.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,148

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman feels she must fight to hold on to her place in the household where she's been a servant for much of her life in this drama from writer and director Sebastian Silva. Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) works as a maid for a well-to-do Chilean family, and has been with the household so long that she's come to think of herself as part of the family. However, Raquel is also aware of the distance between herself and her employers, and though she's fiercely devoted to Mundo Valdes (Alejandro Goic),

NC-17,

Art House & International, Drama

Sebastián Silva

Jun 22, 2010

Elephant Eye Films

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (4) | DVD (5)

As played by Catalina Saavedra, she's a guarded, ruthless, but ultimately poignant character, and writer-director Sebastian Silva studies the levers of power inside the little household as if it were the Politburo.

March 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Deadpan, handheld technique allows director Sebastián Silva to mine mundane situations for subtle hazard but also to take his story in unexpected directions, initial reticence preserving the potential for surprise.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As unlikable -- and unstable -- as the character is, Saavedra finds a way for the audience to care about Raquel deeply and even to root for her to come out on top with her childish evil plots.

February 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes unsettling, and always engrossing, The Maid is a domestic drama about the gulf that exists at impossibly close quarters between the worlds of upstairs and downstairs, the worlds of employer and household servant,

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fun for a while but increasingly tedious...

December 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's tough and unsentimental, with a documentary aesthetic that belies the craft of the calibrated tension.

December 3, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beware the psycho servant in Chilean Upstairs/Downstairs tale!

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

What might have been a condescending social-issue drama about oppressed servants or a shrill send-up of the ruling class instead becomes a carefully etched character study.

September 10, 2010 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

Sits compellingly between genres.

September 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Sebastian Silva's film is very finely decorated by Catalina Saavedra's loyal but self-destructive servant.

September 1, 2010 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A perceptive, empathetic character piece.

September 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Sebastián Silva's second feature is an exceptional study of the emotional investment that domestics make in the families they serve.

August 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Sebastián Silva's film is an unexpected combination: a gripping psychological thriller, and also a poignant human drama.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

An extremely sharp portrayal of a complex family and individual dynamic.

August 26, 2010
Little White Lies

A tart, thoroughly engaging and often suspenseful mixture of psychodrama and social satire...

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Saavedra's performance as Raquel is what matters, glittering with the hard sparkle of anthracite.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Silva defies the dictates of genre, preferring the complex verities of characterisation over predictable thrills.

August 20, 2010 Full Review Source: MovieScope
MovieScope

Fascinating, humane and compellingly honest.

July 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Catalina Saavedra is superb as the prickly yet protective maid to a Chilean family in this very human comedy

June 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

Does a fine job of building expectations and then turning them sideways.

June 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Is this two-dimensional, emotionally stunted and alienated character truly so lacking in any complexity, fascinating personal and cultural history of her own, or inner life? It seems so, until the workingclass can make their own movies about themselves.

June 11, 2010 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze
NewsBlaze

Saavedra totally embodies the role of Raquel, holed up in her disinfected cage, while Sergio Armstrong's handheld cinematography underscores the claustrophobia of her existence.

April 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes

The movie edges into psychological-thriller territory at times, but it's mostly an intriguing character study of a woman who has spent her adult life mistaking a business relationship for a personal one.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Every so often a foreign film comes around that reminds me how conditioned I am by Hollywood to expect a set of plotpoints to go in certain directions.

February 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Audience Reviews for La Nana (The Maid)

I loved this satirical look at the class system in Latin-American culture (in this instance: Chile)! But, under the surface of an obvious social commentary lies a tender story of a woman who is adamantly entrenched in her role as a no-nonsense housekeeper when what she really needs is, quite simply, a helping hand in her own life.
January 4, 2011
flickfever

Super Reviewer

"The Maid" is a modest, low-budget Chilean film from a relatively unknown writer/director, Sebastian Silva. It is a character study of a lonely, childless, middle-aged maid named Raquel, who is played in an impressively understated and naturalistic way by Catalina Saavedra.

There is a fine line, however, between understated and boring, and "The Maid" unfortunately slides across the line into boring one too many times. But there is some special cinematic work here, and I'm pleased that the film has gotten attention beyond the confines of Chile. It is also nice to see a maid character at the center of a serious film -- it's about time. Maid characters are typically used as comic relief or are just part of the background. Silva really upends this tradition by making Raquel the center of the story and focusing all his attention on her inner life.

Raquel is a live-in maid who has been working for the same suburban family for close to 20 years. The family of six is vibrant and happy, but Raquel seems to be unhappy about something. She has a strange hostility toward the oldest child, which is difficult to watch. It doesn't appear that the girl has done anything to deserve this mistreatment. When the family hires a second maid to help Raquel, she goes almost insane, locking the new maid out of the house, maniacally disinfecting the bathroom every time the new maid uses it, and abusing the family's new kitten. The new maid, a delightful young Peruvian woman, quits within a month.

But the lady of the house will not give up. She insists on getting a second maid. So we watch Raquel terrorize yet another servant, but then the third is the charm. The third new maid (played beautifully by Mariana Loyola) breaks through to Raquel. A touching friendship emerges, and we come to learn a lot more about Raquel and about the peculiar emotional challenges of being a live-in maid. Is she part of the family or is she not? Being both in and out is very tough. I had never even considered this.

Silva's film is not a masterpiece, but it open one's eyes in a special way and will surely touch everyone who sees it.
October 30, 2009
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

"The Maid" is an incisive character study that is almost bookended by a pair of birthday celebrations, the first one for Raquel(Catalina Saavedra), the maid on occasion of her 41st birthday. While not really similar nor approaching its level of mayhem, I could not but also think of "Murderous Maids" and recalling Sylvie Testud saying that events would not have happened in that movie if her character had not been treated so nicely. And that's also true of the family in "The Maid" as Pilar(Claudia Celedon) and Mundo(Alejandro Goic) have worked to make Raquel an informal part of their family, as she has been employed there twenty years. It is also for this reason that they are looking for a little extra help for Raquel since they feel the house is too large anymore for her take care of by herself, especially in light of her headaches and taking a header down a flight of stairs. Raquel is adamant in refusing help, having already driven one other maid from the house but Pilar overrules her with the hiring of Mercedes(Mercedes Villanueva) from Peru. Raquel is even in a running battle with Camila(Andrea Garcia-Huidobro), the eldest daughter. Raquel's behavior emanates from the job becoming her entire life and she is the type of person who can never retire because she would not know what to do with herself otherwise(Compared to the people who cannot retire because they cannot afford to.) whereas Pilar might have a job and Mundo spends all of his time on model boats and golfing. As a family of luxury, they have a house fitting their status and nearly all of the action is filmed there. Don't get me wrong. It is beautiful but it does become claustrophobic with a hint of sexual frustration in the air and it is a relief when the action is occasionally set elsewhere.
December 6, 2009
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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  • The Maid (La nana) (UK)
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