The Women On The 6th Floor Dir: Philippe Le Guay

So the question you’ve got to ask yourself is, “Am I the target demographic for this movie?” I don’t mind subtitles, but being young and male, my answer was probably no. But my mum was a definite yes as she had enjoyed the trailer and wasn’t going to turn down some free vino either.

Set in Paris in 1962, the women of the title are an eclectic group of Spanish maids who clean up after their French ‘bosses’ in the apartments below. It’s upstairs vs. downstairs with a culture clash thrown in too. That’s until one of the bosses, and the apartment block owner, Jean – Louis (Fabrice Luchini) hires spirited Spaniard Maria (Natalia Verbeke). His boring bourgeois existence is shaken, and he’s soon sorting out their troubles and getting caught up in their zest for life.

The women of The Women On The 6th Floor carry this movie. Each of them make their unique characters real and very funny. Fans of Pedro Almodovar will recognise Carmen Maura and Lola Duenas from Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown and Volver respectively. Luchini does well as the middling sharebroker, but is outshone by Verbeke, who is cute and captivating as Maria. But the age gap, while pretty acceptable in most French films, was a bit off putting.

Writer / Director Philippe Le Guay (The Cost of Living) plays it pretty safe and handles things with a light touch. Putting a bit more at stake for the characters, or getting past the whole poor and happy v rich and sad story, may have left this with more resonance like The Help.

My mum though, after being disappointed with Midnight In Paris, was charmed with her second visit there in as many weeks. While both cover male middle age crises in France, The Women had the more rounded female characters.

Having just watched the brutal mixed martial arts flick Warrior the same afternoon, I may not have been the target demographic, but The Women On The 6th Floor did win me over with some light hearted charm. My mum was a sitting duck really.

Clayton Barnett