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The Maid’s Room | Review

Maid of Honor: Walker’s Thriller Uneasily Navigates Issues of Class

The Maid's Room PosterServing as a portrayal of unsaid attitudes amongst the elitist denizens of the Hamptons that seems to ring true even when drowning in its over-the-top pronouncements, Michael Walker’s third feature, The Maid’s Room is a mixed bag of interesting ideas lost in a sea of underdevelopment. It’s never quite smart enough to be thrilling and hopelessly overwrought when its fragile examination of class issues necessitates more subtlety for success, but its fine for a late night cheapie that’s pretending to convey morality through martyrdom.

Recently emigrating from Bogota to the Hamptons, soft spoken transplant Drina (Paula Garces) accepts a position as a housemaid for the prosperous Crawford’s (Bill Camp and Annabelle Sciorra). The estate is more of a vacation or summer home for the wealthy couple, so they leave for distant climes while Drina looks after the house and their teenage son, Brandon (Philip Ettinger). Immediately after his parents leave, Brandon breaks out the booze and has a party. Several scenes later, he stumbles in drunk late one night and passes out, his parents just happening to return the next morning in order to see the car all banged up and bloodstained. Brandon claims to have hit a deer while drunk driving. But the already suspicious Drina pieces together the truth, which is that Brandon was the driver in a fatal hit and run accident that night. But the Crawford’s have no intention of alerting the authorities.

Compared to his first two features, the Jeff Daniels’ headlined Chasing Sleep (2000) and the 2012 Parker Posey comedy Price Check (which did serve as a great meaty role for its talented leading lady), The Maid’s Room operates as the most complete narrative of the three in that it has a beginning, middle and end rather than fizzling into nothing.

Jumping right into the situation, a leaden interview transpires between Drina and her new employers. “My aren’t you pretty,” remarks the missus, before engaging in a continuous series of references to the maid’s ability to speak English well, a sweet natured gal who decorates her room with a 27×40 poster of the 2000 film Erin Brockovich, which, come to find, is cinematic quick speak for Drina’s moral integrity. Likewise, Walker bludgeons us with an ant motif, introduced as a warning. “Don’t leave anything out overnight. We have ants. You’ll see,” advises Sciorra. And, indeed they do make an immediate and frequent appearance, the little critters quickly assuming a harbinger status.

While the unassuming Paula Garces is convincing in a rather underdeveloped character (we learn little about her other than the fact that she likes to be alone), the Crawford’s are unmitigated monsters, though not flashy enough for camp value. Character actor Bill Camp gives an obnoxious performance as the privileged patriarch. Attempting to bribe the holier than though Drina he spits, “God is on our side, too!”

The presence of Sciorra is interesting; her most famous turn in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992) still looms prominently here. Doesn’t she know better than to hire beautiful females as the help? And there’s something sneakily unnerving about the reference, like we always knew her privileged 1990s housewife would morph into the drunken dandy that accosts Drina in the middle of the night, tossing out a flurry of dime store detractions and barely concealed disdain for the working class.

While it would be unfair to divulge Drina’s fate, their expensive home becomes the site of extreme unrest, a fortress eventually turning against them from a place of protection to precarious trap. If only Walker’s film didn’t explore its relevant issues so ponderously perhaps The Maid’s Room would have registered with some kind of relevance.


Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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