Discovery, transformation, and liberation define the premise of the movie, along with a moral that money does not always buy happiness, but a little bit doesn’t hurt. All of that is done in the French movie manner with the expected artistry of director Philippe Le Guay.
Originally released in 2010 under the title, Las Femmes du 6éme Étage, the film features a wonderful cast of characters. Fabrice Luchini delivers his always strong performance as a rather ridged man of wealth who reacts to the strange events life throws at him. Performance by some of the Spanish maids like Natalia Verbeke, Carmen Maura and Lola Duenas are exceptional in detail.
This slice-of-life takes place in 1960’s Paris. A wealthy stockbroker, Jean-Luis (Fabrice Luchini) and his wife own and live in an apartment building which has been in the man’s family for years. Rooms on the 6th floor are occupied by Spanish women who are refugees of the Franco regime. These life-loving women, who work as maids, are pretty much invisible to Jean-Luis. Circumstances draw the owner and ladies into each others lives. The dull world of the stockbroker is transformed and eyes opened.
My favorite scenes are when the Spanish maids are together. Conversation of rapid-fire words with the juggling of multiple subjects is the way I see Colombian women frequently conversing. It is so real to life. My limited Spanish always gets lost in those conversations. Fortunately my wife helps me out.
It was only after seeing the movie that I checked reviews from American critics and viewers. The low marks they gave baffled both me and those who attended the theater with me. A close read of their comments revealed the reasons. Many critics have an aversion to feel good movies. I do not share their offense at happy endings. American viewers seem stuck in a box that all films must be hollywooded with only beautiful actors engaging in useless sex and needless violence. Additionally, for many, the reading of subtitles bogs down their mental ability to enjoy the other parts of the film.
The Women of the 6th Floor is available on DVD from Amazon for $16.93. I highly recommend the movie for those who have a more worldly view, like to learn and enjoy a film that ends with you smiling and a good feeling in your heart.