Netflix 'Maid' Review: Heart-wrenching tale of mother's love brings in tears and hope
Spoilers for 'Maid'
Netflix has put out a beautiful new drama and our hearts are heavy and hopeful. 'Maid' is the newest addition to the collection of dramas Netflix churns out and this one is quite a special one. The trailer gave us a glimpse of what to expect but quite frankly it was a bit more than one can expect to handle.
Inspired by the New York Times best-selling memoir, 'Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive' by Stephanie Land, 'Maid' follows the story of Alex, a single mother who turns to house cleaning to barely make ends meet as she escapes an abusive relationship and overcomes homelessness to create a better life for her daughter, Maddy. Seen through the emotional yet humorous lens of a desperate but determined woman, this series is a raw and inspiring exploration of a mother’s resilience. Be ready to have your heart in shambles while also hoping for the best.
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The story begins with Alex ( Margaret Qualley) leaving the house in the dead of the night with her daughter Maddy and drive off in search of a place to crash for the night. We are then shown the events leading up to her actions. The trailer she's living in has clear signs of violence as we see a hole smashed in the wall and pieces of a vase strewn on the floor. It is revealed her boyfriend Sean (Nick Robinson) has a drinking problem and habitually takes his frustrations out at home. Scared for herself and her daughter she makes the brave decision to leave. The story follows her struggles as a single mom barely able to survive.
Margaret Qualley gives a heart-wrenching performance as the abused Alex who now lives only for her daughter. Alex has been dealt a bad card and you'll feel for her. How the show delves into the broad spectrum of types of abuse is commendable as we see Alex not believe herself to be a victim of domestic abuse since she was not physically hit. She brings the meaning of abuse into perspective since we see her admit she's been scared for the longest time of Sean and feared for her life, enough to finally leave him. As she tries to get help, we also see how the system can disable the efforts of victims with its complicated procedures. Identifiers of abuse of any kind are hard to spot but the lines 'before they bite, they bark' and 'before they hit you, they hit near you' strike a chord.
As we see Alex go through a rough time having to clean literal crap in her job as a maid we are introduced to her family. Her mother Paula is bi-polar and untreated making for an unreliable parent who barely qualifies as responsible. Qualley’s real-life mother Andie MacDowell plays Paula and in a brilliant performance manages to frustrate you as well, with her mood swings and nutty behavior. You can’t help but feel pity for Alex.
In this story of misery Rylea Nevaeh Whittet as Alex's daughter Maddy is the only joy as she lights up the screen with her innocence. She is the sole reason for Alex to keep going and we can see why. We get to know Paula herself was abused and ran off with Alex. She loves her but shows it in inconvenient ways. Nick Robinson, too, does a good job of portraying the abuser who controls and intimidates, calling it love and apologizing after the damage is done. The show has moments of humor drizzled in which provide some relief.
On her journey, we see Alex come across good people as well and lets us know that there is light out there. We see her trudge through her battles for Maddy with happy and hopeful moments as we finally see her get a fresh start with the one she loves and lives for.
'Maid' is quite a heavy watch as the show manages to make you feel miserable and exhausted as well. A story of survival, hope, perseverance, love, and fighting against the odds, it does a good job of portraying the grim reality many around the world face. It makes you think and appreciate the little things in life you may take for granted. Although it ends on a happier note, you may need to consider it before watching as 'Maid' can be quite taxing and triggering for some viewers.
'Maid' is now streaming on Netflix.