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Just watched this lovely little movie last night. It's quite a gem. And great to watch with your mother, in that psychotically good way.

A young girl goes to work with her elder sister as a maid in a wealthy household. The girls are happy to see each other -- they've been largely separated since childhood by an over-controlling mother and convent education. The employers (a controlling mother and her quiet, overspoilt and resentful daughter -- this is such a great film to watch with my Mom) are happy to receive "two maids for the price of one", and two very dilligent maids as well. The girls can cook brilliantly and sew so well the employers "don't need a dressmaker".

The employers are decent, keeping to themselves and letting the maids run the household. They are fastidious though -- the mother walks around the house with a white glove checking for dust, and ill tempered over small details. They also have a habit of trying to show off their great maids to guests. The sisters keep to themselves as well, and from the beginning, the elder sister shows signs of deep frustration at their mother, trying to cut off her younger sister's good relations with her mother.

The larger part of the movie deals with the sisters' separating themselves from their mother, developing a kind of satisfactory life for themselves with the money they save in the household and pleasing their employer. There is also their attraction to each other, which goes into a sexual relationship. Unfortunately, as the sisters become obssessed with each other, they start to get slightly neglectful in their duties as maids. The employers become suspicious when the maids start acquiring expensive clothing, which they actually bought with the money they managed to save. The employers are also wondering why their maids are often quiet, spending their Sundays off in their rooms.

The older employer is so like my Mom she's scary. Easily snappy, fastidious, controls everyone. She gets more irritable as the movie goes along because she can't really place her finger on why her maids are so odd. This is based on the Papin murders, of course, so her and the daughter both get their eyes clawed out and severely killed at the end (there's no surprise there), but it's just a great character study of nutly psychotic quiet characters.

I turned to Mom in the middle of this thing, as the employers engaged in a game of competitive solitaire, and said, "Well, if I stayed with you any longer, I'd end up like the (employer's snippy, despondent, sulky) daughter."

Either that or I'll turn into one of the nutly psychotic sisters.

Hamp Rates This: 1 Walnut (or 5 Sunflower Seeds)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
Woah. How did your mom react?
Jan. 17th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
With humour. And mild disbelief. I don't even want to think about what she's telling everyone now. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )