The Chambermaid (2019) Movie Review: A Wonderfully Facile Character Study

Lila Aviles's directorial debut is incredibly thematic without being overtly so.
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On the surface, it doesn’t seem like The Chambermaid is about much. It’s about a maid named Eve (Gabriela Cartol) who works at a high-end hotel and follows her day-to-day routine. In addition, the entire film takes place in the hotel. That being said, it is rather simplistic as it seems to make a statement without explicitly saying anything at all. By presenting Eve’s mundane routine, The Chambermaid appears to say something about class and the nature of working with the public.

As Eve is going from room to room on her assigned floor, she’s flustered with the way the customers mess up their rooms. Eve rarely says anything but because she angrily cleans the clutter, it’s evident that she feels the hotel guests are being neglectful. There are even a few guests that act neglectful and are the kind of customers that expect workers to move Heaven and Earth so that they can fulfill their wants. Since the guests are quite affluent, there’s an even greater disconnect between Eve and them.

Because the film has one setting, it has a rather claustrophobic feel. Because Eve’s life tends to revolve around her work, it feels like the hotel is the one world she knows. She even goes for her GED in a program provided by the hotel. As she’s essentially trapped in that hotel, it makes the audience wonder whether she’ll see life beyond the hotel and escape the confines of her occupation. Can she finally leave behind those wealthy guests that make her feel like a subordinate?

Ironically, the character of Eve herself feels rather underwritten. There are glimpses of her home life yet they’re still just glimpses. Lead actress Gabriela Cartol still attempts to give her some complexity by playing into her demure nature so Eve can quietly process everything around her while letting her frustrated folding of clothes illustrate the stress she feels over her situation. Also, Teresa Sanchez provides spunky comic relief as Minitoy, Eve’s fellow maid who acts as her comrade.

Along with the main character being underwritten, the steady pace almost becomes a hindrance since the movie sometimes feels longer than it is. Despite those flaws, though, The Chambermaid is still an effective demonstration of class and the service industry under the guise of a character study. Thanks to the efforts of writer/director Lila Aviles, it makes its fair share of points without spelling them out for the audience which makes it all the more admirable.

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