The delicate relationship between employer and servant is skilfully subverted and scrutinised in a funny, serious study of class in modern day Brazil.
“The perennially fascinating and tactless subject of 21st-century servitude is the theme of this well acted and absorbing film – to be compared with Sebastián Silva’s 2009 gem The Maid, and, from much further back, Joseph Losey’s 1960 classic The Servant.
What happens when the live-in help get above themselves? And how does the supposedly liberal and relaxed employer class find a way of expressing its fastidious distaste and unease? It is the story of a rich Brazilian family in São Paulo and their housekeeper Val, wonderfully played by Regina Casé. She has been a nanny to the son of the house, as well as all her other duties, earning enough to send money home to pay for the care of her own daughter Jéssica, whom she has not seen for 10 years.
Everyone knows their place and everyone is happy. Now Jéssica shows up: a smart, confident 19-year-old (played by Camila Márdila) hoping to apply for a university place in the city, and Val asks if she can stay with her in her little room while she looks for a place. Soon Jéssica makes herself at home all over the house in all sorts of subtly inappropriate ways, addressing her mother’s employers in a subtly insolent manner – and it is clear that the master of the house and the son find her attractive. The unspoken, unspeakable agony of class and caste is cleverly rendered in this funny, serious movie.” – The Guardian ★★★★
“This is the sort of savvy, socially conscious crowdpleaser that occupies a rare middle ground between genteel and intellectual world cinema.” – Variety
Brazil, 2014 | Language: Portuguese | 112 minutes | Cert: CLUB
Director: Anna Muylaert
Starring: Regina Case, Antonio Abujamra, Helena Albergaria