Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
A French upstairs/downstairs romantic comedy set in the early 1960s from co-writer/director Philippe Le Guay, that centres on the upright middle class French couple - Jean-Louis Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) a successful Parisian stockbroker and his snobby socialite wife, Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain). Jean-Louis has inherited the successful family investment business and the apartment in which he has lived his entire life. His rigid daily schedule commences with his eggs needing to be boiled just perfectly.
Suzanne has an argument with their elderly maid who abruptly resigns, leaving this bourgeois couple without anyone to do the household duties. Suzanne hires a young attractive Spanish maid, Maria (Natalie Verbeke), who along with the other housemaids in the apartment building is a refugee who has fled Spain from Franco's oppressive regime.
There are obvious relationship problems between the Jouberts, which lead Jean-Louis to be curious and become involved with the lives of the various housemaids living upstairs. He improves their living conditions and becomes their advocate to resolve their issues all the while enchanted by Maria, which creates more distance between the Jouberts.
The stellar cast delivers magnificent endearing and intriguing performances. Luchini and Kiberlain are marvellous as the severe couple creating strong chemistry in their relationship. Kiberlain is fantastic as Suzanne; you can't help but loathe her at times. You have quite possibly met women like these Spanish maids. I know I have, after working in aged care facilities, these women appeared all so believable; you will feel you know them.
I enjoyed this light-hearted film and found it humorous and entertaining. The joyous paella part held by the maids was a hoot.
Now, after reconsidering the different aspects of this sentimental fare, I feel it missed the opportunity to tackle the more important social and political issues relevant to the Spanish refugees fleeing from Spain to France; to exist without their families as overworked underpaid domestic staff for the bourgeois middle class.