The Chambermaid is another film of a slowed-down genre that seems to be as much of a reaction to contemporary action/adventure/hyper-digitized films as it is a statement of its own, and when I say “reaction," I don’t mean that in a negative sense. I mean that it appears to be made, whether consciously or not, as an antidote to what is being seen by the masses. Watched with a careful eye and ear, not to mention heart, it is sure to satisfy.
The Chambermaid focuses on Eve, a young maid working in a high-priced Mexico City hotel. Her name is a possible clue to writer/director Lila Aviles’ intentions, especially when we note that the entire movie takes place within the confines of the hotel—a sort of world unto itself that appears, for much of the movie, to be restrictive not in an exploitative way—the employees often seem happy, and there are even educational opportunities that Eve takes advantage of—but rather in a subtly coercive way that keeps everyone in a sort of benign suspension. Eve’s main goal — until tempted otherwise — is to clean the 42nd floor. We’re not told exactly what this means, but clearly it’s beneficial, and the clientele there are, no doubt, often generous, if not also living in their own worlds of privilege.
Hence, though the film could’ve been a one-dimensional exposition of class and money differences, it opts instead to be a sly and enchanting tale of a young woman whose struggles seem to be rooted as much in the reality of modern day Mexico as they are in a bold retelling of the Edenic temptation—though in this case, we may be seeing a false Eden, and not a real Paradise. But how we learn that is part of the satisfaction of taking it all in right to the end.
[This film is not rated; it has one scene of nudity/sexuality]