Thursday, 20, January, 2022

Review | MAID

Series talks about the psychological violence that many victims of domestic violence face

Dear reader, before starting the review about the series Maid from Netflix, I would like to share something personal with you. The intention is to inform, but I want to make it clear that situations that I will briefly mention here, happen every day and if I somehow help someone who has gone through something similar, I will be very happy. 

My mom has four sisters. Two live here in São Paulo and the other two in Bahia. Before my maternal grandfather died, life for my mother, my aunts, uncles and grandmother was not easy. They worked in the fields and the money they got, my grandfather spent on drink. He was an alcoholic. My mother once had to hide in the middle of the night out of fear. My grandmother stayed in this life until his last breath. Some time ago, one of my aunts who lives here in São Paulo went through a difficult time. Her ex husband since they met, he was not upright. They had two children. Life wasn't always easy. One day, the youngest asked for a banana and his father slapped him so hard that blood flowed from his mouth… he was just a child. I wasn't even five yet. My aunt didn't let go of him. Years later, he got up to speed again. Go out with women on the street and anyway, he wasn't a good husband. He called my aunt a "bandit" or a "fuck". My mother always advised her to get out of this relationship. Until one day he left home and left my aunt and cousins in need. shortening the conversation, she and my cousins started to work and with the help of the family, she managed to get up. Today, she is married to a nice man who treats her like a person and not like garbage. Her ex-husband has beaten her, humiliated her, abused her, assaulted her psychologically and emotionally. If you know someone or if you are that someone, don't be ashamed, don't blame yourself and get help. It took my aunt more than 20 years to realize what she was living and managed to get out of it, you can too. Everyone is entitled to live a good life.

The law that obliges the receiver to report domestic violence in residential or commercial condominiums comes into force from today, November 15, and must apply the new determination within 24 hours after the occurrence, according to the text approved by the state deputies. Unfortunately, the law does not provide for punishment in case of non-compliance.

Despite the last stretch, it's an advance. Because many times we witness an aggression and do not do anything due to “in a fight between husband and wife, they don't get involved in the harvest”, but this is a wrong thought. Often, the woman already comes from a history of aggression that only gets worse and when she realizes – in cases where she does not die – she has bruises and the psychological state is destroyed. It's hard to recover, it's hard to ask for help, guilt and shame consume victims, and getting someone to believe what you say isn't always easy.

The series Maid Netflix addresses another face of domestic violence: psychological violence. The series was created by Molly Smith Metzler and inspired by the book of Stephanie LandMaid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive“, the plot was released on streaming on October 1st. In addition, it is important to highlight that Metzler also signs the executive production alongside names such as John Wells, Margot Robbie (the Harlequin) and Tom Ackerley. Among the producers involved, we have the giant Warner Bros.

A história real que inspirou Maid, série da Netflix - Mix de Séries
Alex and Maddy in the Forest / Netflix Playback

The production, which is developed through 10 episodes that lasted an average of 55 minutes, follows the life of Alex, played by the actress Margaret Qualley, a young woman who runs away in the middle of the night with her two-year-old, Maddy, role of the little girl Rylea Nevaeh Whittet, after being psychologically assaulted by fellow Sean, played by Nick Robinson. From start to finish we have witnessed her journey to protect herself and her daughter. It is a sensitive, difficult, hard and cruel work.

Alex's journey was not easy, as she spent a lot of time deprived of a lot and now when she decides to run away she is faced with an even worse reality: no job, no home and a complex family history. Her mother, Paula, played by the very talented Andie MacDowell, suffers from mental problems and Alex's father, Hank, plays the role of Billy Burke, who has not had contact since he was a child and Maddy's mother's social cycle is the same as that of her ex. From the moment she leaves home, one thing she needs to understand is that she really is a victim of domestic violence. It's a journey full of discovery and reinvention. And as the episodes went by, we found out why many women continue this cycle of violence.

Maid it's well directed, the script is creative and escapes the cliché situations we normally see in the genre. The montage is also interesting, it feels like we're inside her head and her thoughts are shared with us, for example, in situations where she doesn't understand the legal and bureaucratic terms, we're exposed to her vision and how she absorbs that information “blah blah blah". Another well-used resource is the girl's balance, which is not restricted to Alex only, but we also have access to each new expense, something that highlights the inequality and how serious the single mother's situation is. 

The strong point of the plot is the messages that are transmitted and one of them is the relevance of assistance programs in the lives of DV victims (Acronym used to refer to domestic violence), who are helpless and looking for a new beginning, on the other hand, Narrative does not skimp on how difficult and sometimes inaccessible the bureaucracies behind these systems are.

A história real que inspirou Maid, série da Netflix - Mix de Séries
Alex looking for help at social center / Netflix Playback

As in any abusive relationship, Sean takes all of Alex's freedom making her totally dependent on him. She happens to be an employee of a cleaning company, that's why, the title of the series, Alex has contact with other people's lives. And these other experiences are recorded in a notebook by her, since one of her passions is writing, another dream she had to put aside due to an abusive relationship. It is these other realities that enrich and give a more shine to the plot and with other points of view and new characters, among them Regina, played by Anika Noni Rose, a client with a difficult temper who despite having a comfortable life, is lonely. Initially, he mistreats Alex, however, both develop a bond of friendship. This becomes one of the coolest production centers.

Know that the series is full of triggers. Situations of domestic violence are very heavy to see, for several reasons: at first, Alex does not think he is a victim of domestic violence, other characters such as his own mother, Paula, and other women are victims of abuse and in certain cases, they are not manage to break free from this cycle of continuous violence. The actress who plays Alex, Margaret Qualley is amazing in the lead role being the real key point of the series. The actress, who became known for her character Jill Garvey from the series HBO, leftlovers, delivers an authentic young mother, who lives motherhood in a realistic way and like other women, victims of domestic violence, falls and stands up for the greater good, her daughter. It's impossible not to be moved and not root for her to get out of this situation.

The obstacles faced by Alex and Maddy are many, but just as she mentions in the last episode, we'll report it here too. They moved nine times, slept at the ferry station, spent the night in the car, in a trailer, at Nate's house (Raymond Black), a man who is interested in Alex, but the most striking is the support house for women victims of violence. It's there, with director Denise, role of the actress BJ Harrison, that the protagonist finds support for the most difficult moments. And the icing on the cake is the battle between Alex and her ex-husband, Sean, who tries to make everything difficult, even though he doesn't even have a chance to support Maddy. 

Maid coloca mãe e filha na vida real para atuar, e diretora revela como  isso aconteceu
Alex and his mother, Paula, their relationship is a bit troubled / Netflix Playback

In Maid, little by little, we begin to understand the cycle of abuse that Alex goes through, and how the lack of family support influences this process. Your mother, Paula (Andie McDowell who in real life is the girl's mother) is a very strong character, we don't know exactly what she has, but it is evident that she suffers some kind of serious mental disorder, volatile mood, is in a different place at every moment, is in constant denial of reality. Paula has eloped with Alex from Hank's assaults, but continues to bond with men who abuse her, such as Basil, who pocketed her money. In addition, she is a nomad in no condition to help Alex and often, she gets in the way the most. But we can understand why… she needs to find a balance between reality and imagination and, at the same time, carries powerful stigmas of a life of violence suffered that left their marks on her life.

Overall, it's a series that tackles an important topic and has few hitches. One that's gone a little way off the curve is the comedy they're trying to introduce, perhaps to smooth over the subject they're portraying. But it doesn't work very much. The number of episodes is also exaggerated, 06 or 08 n maximum would have done the job, because at times the series intensifies some details that do not need a greater focus than necessary. But even so, it's good to see that the audiovisual industry has thought with care when introducing issues like this that are important and need space so that something happens. Nobody needs to live like this.

Thunder Wave note
Maid is a production that deserves the success it has acquired. A necessary work, which does not romanticize domestic violence and introduces us in a real and true way to the cycle of aggression that many women face and in a transparent way why many victims are unable to escape these cycles of violence. Therefore, the best way is to prevent them from starting and talking about it is important and necessary. Remembering that the debate starts with information, knowledge, and denunciation. Prepare the tissues, a season of crying and reflection is guaranteed. Don't miss watching.

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