Title: The Chambermaid
Director: Lila Aviles
Starring: Gabriela Cartol, Agustina Quince, Teresa Sanchez
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
What It Is: Eve (Cartol) is a chambermaid in a luxurious Mexico City Hotel. Her every day is taking care of empty rooms, straightening bedsheets, cleaning toilets… A mother struggling to earn a promotion, find time to see her son, and get an education, Eve does her best to move forward in life only to see obstacles frequently blocking her way.
What We Think: It’s best to lay it out right off the bat: as soon as you’re five or so minutes into the movie, that’s sort of what you can expect from the whole movie. Not to say there isn’t much to show for, but it is a rather simple concept delivered, as far as the story goes, in a relatively simple way. I’ll get the murkier things out of the way, the things that prevent me from seeing this movie more progressively than how I feel it is. And I guess those “things” are really a “thing.” That pacing. Nowadays, for whatever reason in our supposedly “fast-paced world,” I come across so many films (national, international) that really care to take their time with a story’s pacing. It’s something that I can appreciate from time to time, filmmakers and artists taking their time to really speak their truth through the medium: it’s just too many times do I watch a movie and say “wow, that would’ve been a really great short film.” Unfortunately, this may also stand for this film as well. I understand its reasoning for having the pacing it does, but it sort of becomes a problem when I’m finding myself in a daze, snaps my eyes back to the screen, and realize I’ve missed nothing. Despite this, the point was still able to get across to me in full, and I’m completely graced with the intention and the meaning. I love what this movie stands for–I certainly wouldn’t watch it again. It could’ve been over in less than a half-hour and I still would feel the same about it… though maybe a little less tired.
Our Grade: C, Even though this movie often was a bore, there were a great handful of things to appreciate about it. The heartbreaking realization in the protagonist’s reality is monotony, the gloom of a repetitive every day having to work for a corporation that passively treats you as less than humane, the sacrifices we have to make in order to make it to the possibly empty promises that we look up to. It’s a slow yet empathetic display that serves a reminder for things both good and bad (both in backward ways): that people are always suffering silently as workers in life, and just how much I treasure plot in the empty spaces. I’m giving this quiet and gloomy drama a pass, realistic enough to be like a documentary. Perhaps it would have been more impressionable if it was so, but, shoulda woulda coulda, this movie was okay for a fictional humanity piece.