Comedy maid to order
HOW to explain The Women on the 6th Floor ?
Well, it is Spanglish without Adam Sandler. It is also The Help without any of that messy racial discrimination stuff. And it is French. So very, very French.
Set in the early 1960s, this engaging middle- of- the- road comedy has both a soft heart and a snappy social conscience working in quite effective tandem throughout.
The women living the high life flagged by the film’s title are actually the lowest on the pecking order of all the characters assembled here.
They are a colourful gaggle of Spanish maids, each of whom spend the working day running the households of the snooty Parisian elite who live in the apartments underneath.
These loud- talking, salt- of- the- earth ladies live in cramped quarters and are woefully underpaid by their employers.
Nevertheless, to no one’s great surprise, they are also much happier and wiser than their hoity- toity clientele.
Writer- director Philippe Le Guay definitely plays a conservative hand here, but never to the detriment of the breezily pleasant tale he has to tell.
The film is probably at its very best when simply allowing its audience to enjoy the colourful company of the Spanish domestiques.
The main plot – where a stuffy old stockbroker ( Fabrice Luchini) changes his ways after falling for a pretty young servant girl ( Natalia Verbeke) – is a little drab ( and kind of creepy too) by comparison.