The Maid (La nana) (2009)

Director: Sebastian Silva

Cast: Catalina Saavedra, Claudia Celedon, Alejandro Goic

Raquel has been working as a live-in maid for more than 20 years in the household of an affluent Chilean family. She saw the kids grow up in front of her and is party to the family’s intimate secrets and their inter-relationship struggles.

When the lady of the house decides to bring in another maid to help with the workload, cracks begin to show in Raquel’s ability to separate her own identity from that of the family she has served for so many years.

Raquel uses passive aggressive (often quite funny) methods to get rid of the first two maids employed to help her. Although the family treats her kindly, there is a definite lack of empathy for the emotional isolation within which Raquel finds herself. By the time a third candidate is employed, Raquel is in danger of losing the very thing that defines her life – the family she works for. Fortunately the caring, life embracing nature of the new maid, Lucy, provides the necessary catalyst for Raquel to slowly rediscover the joy of her own life and identity.

The movie is an insightful study of the interaction within the servant/master social hierarchy, as well as the consequences of mental servitude. It is done with sensitivity and the minimum melodrama, beautifully crafted, honest and with a great performance by Catalina Saavedra who plays Raquel.

Nominated for a Golden Globe and winner of the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance film festival.