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Reviews & Ratings for
Live-In Maid More at IMDbPro »Cama adentro (original title)

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41 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Dignity under duress

Author: rantchester
24 March 2005

This slow but involving human drama takes Argentina's recent economic meltdown as its prompt. Cama Adentro means 'live-in maid': Jorge Gaggero's sensitive film pursues the deep but uneasy relationship between the genteel, newly-impoverished Beba (Norma Aleandro) and Dora (Norma Argentina), the servant with whom she's shared her Buenos Aires apartment for almost 30 years.

Sudden lack of money has flipped the pair's dependency. Unable to pay her maid for several months, lonely, prideful Beba stands to lose the only reliable company she's known (her daughter, like her husband, has previously departed - alienated, we're left to assume, by Beba's haughtiness). Dora, meanwhile, must decide whether to stay and assist her unravelling employer, or take her chances in an economy with fewer and fewer jobs.

What could have become gooey and trite in the hands of a lesser director is instead rendered plausibly complex: the women struggle to preserve their dignity in straitened circumstances, and to forge a new accord based on mutuality rather than compulsion. Both Beba and Dora are endearingly flawed - the former supercilious and unyielding, the latter torn between contempt and sympathy for her former boss. Argentina is gruffly impressive as the emotionally-contained maid, while Aleandro's monstrous but piteous snob is an equally sharp portrayal. In Gaggero's measured telling, the pair's not-quite-friendship rings all the more true for being revealed with unsentimental compassion.

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25 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Two Women

Author: abelardo64 from United States
28 June 2008

This is a film I can't shake out of my mind. The upper class woman, a remarkable Norma Aleandro, faces the economical horrors Argentina went through in 2001 and as a consequence she can't afford to pay her live in maid, the sensational Norma Argentina, that was at her service for a quarter century. The film doesn't tell you anything but shows you everything even the most invisible of details. Pride and humbleness co-mingling, switching places in a pacific duel of profound, silent emotions. The stories painted in both actresses faces are nothing less than extraordinary and I've them both in my mind daily since I saw the film for the first time, weeks ago.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The human side of economic crisis

Author: lastliberal from United States
18 December 2007

I haven't seen a lot of Argentinian films, but I have enjoyed immensely the ones I have. This is a great example of the art-house films that are made in Argentina.

Jorge Gaggero was honored not only in Argentina, but at Sundance for this work that he wrote and directed.

It tells the story of a rich woman, Beba(Norma Aleandro, The Official Story), who has fallen on hard times and cannot afford to pay her electric or phone, much less her maid. The Maid, Dora (Norma Argentina in her first role), is trying to build a house on the outskirts of town and needs the money to finish, so she quits to find another job.

Everything is done with grace, as Beba tries to keep up appearances, even as she has resorted to selling cosmetics door-to-door to pay the bills, or in some cases, just to eat. The dance between employer-employee becomes more and more intricate as the power relationship changes.

The ending was a big surprise, but a testament to the love these two women had built up for each other over 30 years.

A superb film.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Your Place or Mine?

Author: David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
23 September 2007

Greetings again from the darkness. Very intimate tale of the 30 year relationship between a once wealthy woman and her live-in maid. Written and directed by Jorge Gaggero, the film picks up as Bebe is finally starting to acknowledge her financial difficulties and Dora her maid, is just about at the end of her patience, after not being paid for more than 7 months.

Obviously the bond created by time between the women is very strong, but only really shows at the oddest moments ... a sharp of glass in the foot or while hosting ladies night. The two lead performances are sterling and top notch. Veteran actress Norma Aleandro plays Bebe as a drunken, yet prideful woman, who obviously needs the companionship of her maid/friend. Norma Argentina plays the mostly stoic Dora as the maid who realizes she is the salvation to this very proud woman whose life is crumbling.

The intimacy of the scenes with both is pretty strong stuff and the nuanced performances are rarely seen in American cinema. Buenos Aires is given little screen time, but we still get the drift of the social pressures of a past life. Very strong film that was a Sundance favorite in 2005, but is only now making the rounds at indie theatres.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

subtle, poignant look at the class struggle

Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States
5 September 2009

Beautifully written and directed by Jorge Gaggero, "Live-in Maid" is a bit like an Argentine version of "Driving Miss Daisy." Beba (Norma Aleandro) is an aging divorcée from the privileged upper classes whose ever-worsening financial situation is making it harder and harder for her to maintain herself in the style to which she is accustomed - including paying the salary of Dora (Norma Argentina), her loyal but long-suffering housekeeper who has put up with her boss' moodiness, petulance and condescending attitude for thirty years now. Yet, as in "Miss Daisy," the relationship between these two women cannot be pigeonholed quite so neatly. In fact, their story, rich in ambiguity and emotional complexity, comes to reflect in miniature the much broader conflict that exists between the ruling class and the servant class in our society.

In truth, there is no logical reason why these two individuals from wildly divergent social backgrounds should even be expected to get along at all. Certainly, Dora has every reason to resent Beba for her privilege, her rank and the often imperious manner in which she treats her. Yet, in her own way, the stoic, taciturn Dora comes to pity Beba for the hard times, both financially and emotionally, that the previously pampered woman suddenly finds herself going through. Indeed, things get so bad for Beba that she is forced to sell virtually everything she owns to keep herself afloat, and even has to humiliate herself by trading merchandise for food in a second-rate cafeteria. In addition, Beba's grown daughter wants to play as little a part in her mother's life as possible. In the same way, although Beba clearly doesn't treat Dora as her equal, she understands deep down inside that this "subordinate" is also probably the only real companion left to her in the world, the one person she can reach out to for comfort and support. The relationship between them may be one of mistress and servant, but the two parties also have much that unites them, including the problems common to women their age, their concomitant struggles with money, and the fact that fate has thrust them together for such prolonged and extended periods of time that they can't help but get to know one another on an intimate level. It is the discovery of their common humanity, brought about by this enforced closeness, that finally allows their relationship to blossom into a friendship between equals that crosses class lines.

On a sociological level, the movie points out the irony that it is the people with the most power who, when the chips are down, are really the most helpless and fragile - and the people with the least power who are the most persevering and tough and seemingly most equipped to cope with the vicissitudes of life.

Superbly understated performances by the pair of Normas - their scenes together are really quite breathtaking and quietly masterful - as well as flavorful and subtle storytelling make "Live-in Maid" an intensely poignant, wholly believable and thoroughly absorbing experience throughout.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful acting--struggling with reduced circumstances

Author: filmalamosa from United States
23 December 2011

Senora Beba is a 50 something (approaching 60) woman who is having to learn to live with reduced circumstances. She is the perfect upper middle class rattle brained blond who is maybe really not so rattle brained.

Dora is her live in maid of 30 years who is going to quit because Senora Beba can no longer pay her salary reliably.

Neither one want this to happen.

It is a wonderful look at life as you get older live alone and have less income.

Both characters and the film are 100% real.

This movie is a must see.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Realizing the truth

Author: NICO from United States
24 May 2011

Beba is a wealthy divorced woman who is being gravely affected by the Argentine economy and therefore doesn't have enough money to even pay her maid. Dora, the maid, has been living with the family for thirty years and is torn between not wanting to leave Beba alone and needing a steady income. The pace of the movie is kind of slow as the plot is very simple and does not go beyond the regularities of the lives of the two main characters. However, the simplicity and regularity of the story is quite enjoyable as we are able to truly enter the lives of two very different women and identify the many differences between them. The director Jorge Gaggero shows us the way in which people's roles in a relationship can certainly change over time. Although Beba has been in charge of Dora for so long because of her economic status, when her status changes, Beba has nothing to hold over her and soon realizes how much she needs Dora. The movie explores economic class differences in Argentina through a very personal lens which in turn results in a very interesting and meaningful story.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Film for Thought

Author: Alyssa Capocy from United States
12 November 2009

With startling realism, Jorge Gaggero's film delves into the delicate relationship between employee and employer. Due to an incredible pair of professional and non-professional actors, a modern story of class struggle is told with very few bells and whistles beyond the brilliant acting. Set in Buenos Aires during the financial crisis of 2001, this film examined the idea of what happens when economic hardships level the playing field between the affluent and the working class. An understated teeter-totter of tension and tenderness is always present in the interactions of Beba Pujol (Norma Aleandro) and her maid, Dora (Norma Argentina). Without speaking a word, it's obvious that both women come from very different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. European- looking Beba can barely exist without the help of a hard-working maid who was selected by the director for her more stereotypically indigenous looks. The existence of this tension and class division is very much a living issue that's broached with tact, maybe even a little comedy, by the filmmaker. Although the dialogue was as subtle as the plot, the film captured the emotions of both protagonists so beautifully that there is never a misunderstanding about what's going on. Even in moments of silence, a look or gesture speaks a thousand words. Hand-held cameras, natural lighting, and a noticeable absence of soundtrack succeed in allowing the audience to forget that they're watching a film, and instead, simply watch two women. Norma Argentina, who was a maid for twenty years before venturing into acting, plays this role with an honesty of emotion that is hypnotizing. While extremely thought-provoking, this movie isn't appropriate for someone who wants a definitive ending or specific message. If you're willing to sacrifice a little excitement in exchange for a masterpiece of nuance and character study, Live-in Maid is a real treat.

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Subtle, entertaining, heartbreaking, deep, sophisticated - Argentinean

Author: Vasiliy Brian Komendant from Burbank, CA, United States
19 August 2014

This film to me is undoubtedly one of the rare and stupendous examples of what they call (in the best sense possible) - an "actors' director", or in this case, rather - an actresses' one. I shall not bore you with the plot, it is all in the respective IMDb section, instead I will tell why I consider this a must-see for anyone who appreciates stories about relationships, who enjoys and values the intricacies of a female character (in this case - two rather opposite ones) beautifully unfolded. The love-and-hate relationship between the lady of the house (a bit delusional, totally broke and trying desperately to save her face) and her mucama, played to perfection by the grand Norma Aleandro and the fantastic discovery of Jorge Gaggero - Norma Argentina. What amazes me is how incredibly sensitive the director is to the enormous difference in characters of the actresses and their approaches, how seamlessly he makes that gap serve the purpose of his brilliantly written story. Every scene is a master class in subtlety, wit and purposefulness. In my view, many new directors will benefit enormously if they watch the film with an open mind. I was astonished by the fact that Ms. Argentina had never appeared on screen or stage before, she is breathtakingly effective in every shot, and the honest simplicity she contrasts to Aleandro's sophistication is a delight to observe. Absolutely recommended - the film is made with very apparent love for the woman, for Argentina and exquisite artistic taste and mastery. 10/10 from me.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

did not like it

Author: delaguerra777 from west palm beach fl
6 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i liked the beginning of this film but then it lost me ,i was waiting for some humor never happened..........some deep meaning conversation that would explain the housekeeper's stern personality and lack of affection..........never happened it lacked charisma ,the ending left me saying 'are you kidding?',it made no sense at all with a piano sitting awkwardly outside of a house that didn't belong in......i saw a similar CHILEAN movie called 'THE MAID which had all the characteristics i mentioned ,i don't know the who the produceris but i know it's s CHILEAN movie, i absolutely LOVED 'THE MAID' AND HIGHLY Recommend YOU WATCH IT ,THIS movie gets a THUMBS DOWN from me .

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