‘The Maid in London’ is Over Two Hours of Offensive Tedium

Rape is an empty plot device in this painfully boring melodrama

by Philbert Dy

The Maid in London is about Margo (Andi Eigenmann), a young woman who dreams of some day lifting her family out of poverty. The movie starts with her getting into a relationship with tricycle driver Ben (Matt Evans), who ends up drunkenly assaulting her one night. She gets pregnant, and she marries Ben against her wishes. Ten years later, they’re still together, and still poor. After Ben gets scammed by a recruiter and later lands in jail, Margo takes a risk flying to the UK, and finds work as a chambermaid at a hotel. She tries her best to survive as an illegal worker in an unfamiliar environment, hoping to raise enough money to pay off her debts.

The movie is 140 minutes long, and it really doesnt need to be. Most of the first hour should have been cut, the movie lingering far too long in cliché narrative elements that could have been explained in a throwaway line of dialogue. There’s just a lot of time wasted, the movie often using multiple scenes to expound on a point that could have been made in one. There is a severe lack of narrative economy on display, and the film becomes tedious well before it gets to the meat of its story.

Much of the setup is unnecessary anyway. The film spends so much time explaining the exact circumstances that bring Margo to the UK, when very little of it matters in the end. Once the characters actually get to London, though, the tedium doesn’t end. The film wastes more time on extraneous matters. So much of this movie involves the characters recapping events we’ve already seen to other characters. In theory, this entire section of the movie ought to really tense, as the characters are on the run. But it dawdles so much that it’s hard to feel it. There are eventually some big developments, but they’re all terribly contrived. And it leads to a legal consultation that is the most tedious scene in the film already bursting with tedious scenes.

The filmmaking isn’t great, either. There’s no sense of rhythm, the movie particularly bad at conveying the passing of time. It stumbles on much more basic matters as well. In many of the sequences, the movie seems to be using two cameras with very different settings. There’s no real effort to hide the rolling shutter effect of the cameras, either. The sound design is well below average as well. On the whole, the filmmaking falls well below the standards of what we should be getting inside the cinema. There isn’t even enough care put into the subtitles, which are chock-full of clunky translations and typos.

Andi Eigenmann doesn’t come off well in this movie. The role isn’t great, the character mostly passive, stumbling through one melodramatic situation after another without any real options. But the rest of the cast has it even worse. None of the other characters bear any personality beyond their function to this labored and painfully contrived plot. And given that, there are still a lot of performances in this movie that leave plenty to be desired.

The Maid in London is really bad. It would be easy enough to dismiss it purely for being tedious, but its sins go deeper than that. Through its excessive convolutions, the movie ends up tacitly forgiving some egregious offenses. In its most abominable moments, it feels like it’s glossing over the damage of rape, content to let that act serve as little more than a plot device. It certainly doesn’t factor into where the characters are by the end, seemingly undamaged by their experiences, happy to leave all that hurt behind. It’s really quite awful.