Watch The Maid
- 1 hr 24 min
The Maid, a drama film from 1990, is a heart-wrenching story of a housemaid's life in a posh family's mansion. The movie stars Martin Sheen, Jacqueline Bisset, and Victoria Shalet, and it's a commentary on classism, oppression, and the value of self-worth. The movie starts with an introduction of the housemaid of the Mowbray family, Ruth (Victoria Shalet). Ruth is working as a maid for the Mowbrays for many years and is a loyal and diligent worker. However, she is often at the bottom of the hierarchy of the family, and though she is an integral part of their household, she is always overlooked and undermined. Her lowly status is apparent from the very beginning, as Ruth is given the most menial of tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and serving the family's meals. Despite this, Ruth continues to work hard, ensuring that the Mowbray family home is running smoothly and everyone is well taken care of. Meanwhile, the Mowbray family's relationship is tense because Clive, the patriarch of the family, is having an affair, and his wife Audrey (Jacqueline Bisset) is aware of it. Audrey and Clive's relationship is strained as a result, and this creates a sense of dysfunction within the house. Ruth observes this tension and is affected by it, but she's afraid to say anything or intervene. Ruth is a young woman who, despite her position as a maid, is educated and well-read. She is curious, and she tries to see beyond her servitude status. Her intellectual curiosity makes her stand out from the other maids, and it also creates an opportunity for her to connect with the family, especially with the children. Ruth becomes friends with the Mowbray's daughter, Rosina, and a bond develops between the two. The themes of the film become more apparent as the plot thickens. Ruth's relationship with Rosina, who is closer in age to Ruth than to her own mother, creates further tension, as Audrey tries to keep them apart. Audrey recognizes the chemistry between the two ladies and how Ruth's influence on Rosina is becoming more pronounced. In the meantime, Clive's affair is revealed, causing upheaval and further destabilizing the family. As the family's everyday life becomes more complicated, one thing remains constant through it all: Ruth's dedication to her work. Ruth's work ethic and her unwavering desire to make the Mowbray family comfortable contrast with the family's classism and privilege, creating a power imbalance. Ruth's integrated role and the family's reliance on her highlight the importance of the working class and how often they're undervalued and unrecognized. The Maid's central message is the fight for self-respect, in the midst of a complex relationship between servants and aristocrats. Ruth is continuously struggling with being treated as a possession, rather than a person. Her intelligence and hard work make her more valuable than just a maid, and as the story progresses, Ruth begins to feel this sense of self-worth. Her relationship with the family, especially with Rosina, has brought out her potential, and her self-respect increasing leads her to speak up against the mistreatment she and the other workers of the household face. The Maid is a deeply moving and emotional film. It portrays the harsh reality of the class divide and how it can systematically wear people down. At the same time, it celebrates hard work, self-respect, loyalty, and friendship. It's a character-driven story that's nuanced, impactful and a vital reminder of how painful oppression is and humanities need for equality. With powerful performances from every actor, especially Victoria Shalet in the titular role, The Maid is an exceptional film that is worth watching.