The series is based on a memoir by Stephanie Land called Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, yet the title hardly seems adequate. In actuality, the name refers to both of them.
The Netflix miniseries, as it turns out, is much more than just about the protagonist’s job. It includes themes of parenthood, domestic abuse, and the uncertainty of life on the lower rung of society.
It’s not a pleasant viewing experience, as the name implies. But it’s also surprisingly entertaining to watch, thanks to a tenacious sense of optimism and a touch of humor.
Detailed Review Of Netflix’s Maid:
“Maid” begins shortly after the final straw has been shattered. Alex, a 25-year-old aspiring writer who lives north of Seattle, is awake and watching her ex-boyfriend smash a hole in the wall as he ends an argument with her.
She quietly exits the mobile home with her 2-year-old daughter, Maddy. They are prepared to be homeless for the first time, but not the last. Alex and Maddy’s attempt to escape poverty takes them through the ten episodes of “Maid,” which debuts on Netflix Friday.
When they aren’t sleeping in the car, various family members live with each other and take care of one another. They move in and out of domestic violence shelters, halfway houses, friends’ and relatives’ homes, before returning to their trailer for a particularly dark period.
When Alex is pumping gas or making excruciating purchasing choices in a convenience store, a counter appears on the screen with an accumulating tally of her dwindling cash reserves.
“Maid” might be a dispiriting experience, moving and convincing one minute, scattered and trite the next. It was adapted from Stephanie Land’s book “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” written by Molly Smith Metzler, a writer/producer with credits including “Orange Is the New Black” and “Shameless.”
This raises the question of why she changed her name back to Latendresse. In fact, being returned to a name by its original owner has been such an uncommon experience that it hasn’t even occurred to me until now.
However, it’s a shame that the extensions to Land’s story tend toward cliched stories about mental illness, alcoholism, and recovery; they are sometimes well-made but entirely unoriginal. Domestic violence is also dealt with more humanely in this portion of the narrative. It might elicit an emotional response from you, yet it won’t surprise you.
The central location of housecleaning itself, as well as the criticism of class and economic structures that can put a working single mother in a nearly inescapable box, have been somewhat lost in this reimaging. It isn’t that the physical demands and minimal reward of Alex’s job or her client observations do not get screen time.
But they’re not as important as they could be, and in many cases, you’ll find them to be there simply for the sake of embellishing or illustrating other more melodramatic plot points.
You don’t get the impression that Metzler or her fellow executive producer John Wells was all that interested in including the maid subject organically into a normal television drama narrative.
Other Details To Know
In “Maid,” the story is centered around two opposing groups of people: women and men. Maddy’s father, Sean, and Hank, her grandfather, are both afflicted with addiction and rage issues, whose violence has had a significant influence in derailing Alex’s life.
Alex’s mother, Paula, is a bipolar free spirit and narcissist who is a tremendous burden on him, as well as two women who throw out lifelines: Denise, the manager of a domestic violence shelter, and Regina, a testy, tightly wound lawyer whose home Alex cleans.
MacDowell’s approach to the last scene of The Shining is grounded in the writers’ room. With Paula, his best bet was a cartoonish manifestation of insensitivity and cruelty.
Rose, on the other hand, transforms Regina’s insecurities into something sharp and moving even in a terrible sequence in which she talks to Alex about chardonnay and Thanksgiving pies.
Qualley’s good performance is the major reason “Maid” will stick with you. It will be owing to Qualley, who is onscreen almost every minute, that “Maid” will stay with you. The tough, warily tight-lipped Alex is a good match for the proud, sometimes abrasive, reflexively suspicious character in “Maid.”
The director, cinematographer, editor, and other crew members of “Maid,” including Quyen Tran, Guy Godfree, and Vincent de Paula, give the film a polished and engaging style owing to the Washington and British Columbia locales.
The series also deviates from the film in that it incorporates more adult social issues, such as alcohol and drug addiction, without making them an issue. The second season expanded upon these themes by exploring Alex’s relationship with his mother, a character who appears in both films.
However, there is a method to this madness: the Netflix technique for when you’ve committed 10 episodes to what could have been a decent two-hour film.
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