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Live-In Maid (Unrated)





Release Date: July 18th, 2007 (Film Forum) by The Film Sales Company.
The Cast: Norma Aleandro, Norma Argentina, Elsa Berenguer, Hilda Bernard, Monica Gonzaga, Susana LanterŪ. Directed by Jorge Gaggero.
In Spanish with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: During harsh economic times in Argentina, Beba (Aleandro) canít afford to keep her live-in maid, Dora (Argentina).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Live-in Maid has a simple, yet absorbing plot and rich character development along with a tour de force performance by Norma Aleandro. Beba doesnít have any real friends and has divorced her husband while her daughter has moved away. Dora has worked for Beba as a live-in maid for thirty years and relies on her income to support herself and her husband. She notices that Beba has been struggling to pay her lately, so she considers quitting her job. However, itís not that easy for her to quit even though she hasnít really bonded with Beba throughout the years. The sensitive, focused screenplay by writer/director Jorge Gaggero humanizes Beba and Dora as the two gradually bond with each other. Thereís no entirely good character or bad character here given that theyíre so complex and real, which makes them easier for you to care about and to feel absorbed by the character-driven drama. Although the plot doesnít have any real surprises, itís still compelling to watch thanks to the strong performances all-around and the brief running time of 83 minutes, which never overstays its welcome.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Sometimes it takes a crisis, such as the economic one that Beba goes through, in order to realize what truly matters in life. Beba needs a friend and, if she werenít so uptight, she could have had a very close one with Dora. When Dora threatens to quit, Beba finally cherishes their relationship rather than taking it for granted. Itís quite poignant how both learn how thereís more to them than meets the eye and how human they are. The ending itself, which has an uncanny similarity to the ending of Once, feels equally tender and uplifting.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0

IN A NUTSHELL: A compelling, poignant character-driven drama. Norma Aleandro gives a tour-de-force performance.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater.


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