THE CHILEAN DRAMA The Maid examines the peculiar dynamics that go along with having a live-in maid—and the uniquely first-world problem of what to do with an employee who's grown too old to do the very job that's effectively made her a member of the family. Raquel (Catalina Saavedra) has lived with the Valdes family for years, keeping house and helping to raise their four children. But even though headaches and dizziness make tending to the household increasingly difficult, she fiercely clings to her role as the family's primary caretaker—with no family of her own, it's the only life she knows. When the Valdes' bring in another girl to help with the housework, Raquel's response is immediate, territorial, and cruel.
The Maid frequently and coyly threatens to tip into horror movie territory—when the new maid takes responsibility for the family kitten, it feels like only a matter of time until Raquel murders the poor thing. But actress Catalina Saavedra brings a wounded humanity to even Raquel's cruelest moments, tempering the character's malice with a sense of underlying confusion about her place in the world. It's a potent performance, a character study of the best kind—one that bridges gaps of culture and language with patience, humor, and humanity.