Synchronized cast proves central in French comedy

“The Women on the 6th Floor” (France) – Netflix Instant Watch and Amazon Prime Instant Video

While it could easily have indulged in cartoony stereotypes about the nature of women from Spain, “The Women on the 6th Floor,” a French comedy about Spanish domestic workers in Paris in the 1960s, proves remarkably refreshing.

Granted in the first scene the maids are individually interviewed, it certainly would seem overly reliant on stereotypes. Each maid boasts in an accent as rhythmic as the flamenco guitar in the background, the many tapas and styles of paella she can cook.

But the old-school economist, who is looking to hire one of them, only cares about one thing: that his morning hard-boiled egg be cooked to perfection.

As he accidentally gets to know each of the maids who live a floor above him, we learn that they are not an anonymous, homogenous entity, but rather a varied family, full of personalities as unique as their regional accents.

Each character in the film represents a vastly different mentality, making the casting a critical affair. What is impressive is that in addition to holistically embodying their individual mentalities, each actor succeeds in highlighting the attitudes of the rest, resulting in a synchronized cast that sets the stage for a cheerful message.

What maids are made of – and indeed what we are made of – extends beyond the limitations of professional roles to encompass the how of everything we do.

Like the perfectly cooked egg, this comedy is the product of impeccable timing. The comedic situations seamlessly step from subtle to outrageous, with the eloquence usually reserved for theatrical plays.