Movie Review: The Chambermaid

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 2/5 stars

Bottom line: Some interesting glimpses at obsession and compulsion. Otherwise, a story that falls flat and refused to hold my interest.

Lynn is a chambermaid in a hotel.  As the movie begins, she is just getting her job back after a mysterious absence.  It is soon revealed that she was self-institutionalized for some reason and as the movie progresses, that reason becomes clear.  Lynn has compulsions.  Luckily (?) for her, cleaning is one of them.  The other has to do with her hiding under guests beds and getting a voyeuristic look into various guests’ habits.  During one of her under bed adventures, a guest has a dominatrix over and the session so piques Lynn’s interest that she steals the dominatrix’s contact information and starts sessions of her own.  Lynn’s compulsions gradually get worse as the film progresses and then the film kind of just ends on a very strange note.

There is a lot of film student stuff going on in this movie that I can recognize, but just not appreciate without a compelling story to go with it.  A vast majority of Lynn’s time under the various beds are shot solely from Lynn’s under bed perspective.  The use of camera angles and lighting and strategic mirrors is very well done.  The musical score is also noticeably appropriate.

Whenever I don’t get a film as much as I didn’t get “The Chambermaid”, I always attempt to see what actual critics think and the consensus seems to be general praise.  Strangely, many picked up on a blurb from somewhere that called “The Chambermaid” the “Fifty Shades of Grey” of Germany.  They seemed to be saying that as a compliment, but I can only imagine that they know nothing about “Fifty Shades” or were using it as a backhanded compliment while still rightfully praising the cinematographic accomplishments of the film.

I really can’t recommend “The Chambermaid” unless you’re all into that fancy technical directorial stuff.  I’m pretty sure at this point I should just give up on seeing German films.  Of the three German films I saw for the film festival, only one was any good and that one was only nominally German.