Catalina Saavedra, in 'The Maid'

Dir. Sebastián Silva
(2009, Not Rated, 94 min)
★ ★ ½

Are we supposed to sympathize with Raquel (Catalina Saavedra), the title character of The Maid? Few characters make it harder to do so. She never smiles, not even on her birthday, which opens the film. That in itself doesn’t make her unlikable; some people aren’t demonstrative of their feelings, keep others at a distance, but are still capable of caring and being cared for. Not Raquel. She is bitter and mean, particularly to Camila (Andrea García-Huidobro), the teenage daughter of the family she serves, for no reason we can discern. She is downright abusive to other maids, whom the family hires to “help her.” Raquel thinks she’s being replaced, and so did I, but the new maids really are there just to help; the mother, Pilar (Claudia Celedón), is a pushover and can’t bring herself to fire her long-serving maid.

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