Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 14, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Maid

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Kimberly Cutter
publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

As Raquel, the housekeeper for an affluent Chilean family for 23 of her drab 41 years, Catalina Saavedra conjures a performance of such unflinching intensity and naked bravery in The Maid that at times it’s painful to watch. Raquel’s devotion to her employer is barbed with hatred, need, and an insecurity she manifests through constant tiny acts of sabotage that would be funny if they weren’t also so chilling — bordering on psychotic. (No kitties were harmed in the making of the film, but let’s just say a new pet gets a cool reception.) She’s a woman on the verge, but never over-the-top. A?

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