Netflix has this great thing where, in addition to your snail-mail movies, you can choose 14 hours of free movies a month to watch on your PC. They tend to be older movies and/or B movies, but there’s some decent stuff on there and a few classics.
Since I’ve been working on my French a lot more lately, I decided to use this feature to watch French movies, and the first one I picked was “Une femme de menage” (The Housekeeper).
What’s up with this weird male fantasy of having sex with your housekeeper? I mean, I might make a joke about how nice it would be to have a young guy named Enrique clean the house topless, but I don’t really mean that. Forming a relationship with my housekeeper isn’t something I find terribly sexually appealing. When I look for relationships, I look for people I respect and admire and who I can talk to about stuff we both find interesting, you know, somebody you could actually partner up with; somebody cool. A housekeeper who never talks to me, has nothing in common with me and has boredom sex with me just doesn’t sound all that sexy, so matter how physically attractive the rest of the world says they are.
See, the perfect marriage-type situation, for me, isn’t being with somebody who cleans my house, makes me dinner, initiates no-strings-attached sex, and is so much younger than me that we have nothing in common and they need me around to take care of them. This is only the perfect living situatino if you’re looking for a slave.
In the end, the housekeeper initiates the sex, cleans the house, and then when they go on a long vacation, ends up leaving him for another man (who happens to be her own age). She does go so far as to rebel against the idea of going back to Paris after the holiday because, “In Paris I’m just your housekeeper.”
Well, yeah, a beach loving sugar daddy sounds great to me, too, if the alternative is life as a housekeeper and boredom sex in Paris.
But of course, our hero doesn’t say, “Of course, you didn’t want to be my slave in Paris,” or even, “Yes, you probably have more in common with someone your own age,” (because him and this housekeepr have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN COMMON BUT LONELINESS AND NEVER TALK TO EACH OTHER). Instead, he says, “Oh, he’s young.” Well, YES, he’s young. But you two don’t even like the same music. The most she has going for her in your eyes is that she cleans your house and has sex with you and likes to pretend you’re married and you get off on having somebody like you that much. You don’t even love her.
In the end, the point seems to have been that she was using him for a meal ticket and is now dating someone her own age, and he is old and alone, but it serves him right because it’s his fate to be old and alone. What I find even more funny is that somebody categorized this movie as a “comedy/drama/romance.”
I think this movie was confused about what it wanted to be, too.
And maybe that was the whole point: both people are kind of selfish and lonely and know what they’re getting into but try and pretend it’s more than it really is because it makes them feel better, and then they try and act suprised when it all falls apart because really, if you’re in love, aren’t you supposed to be surprised when it ends? But they aren’t, and it isn’t, and then the guy nearly drowns in the ocean right before the credits roll and somebody mistakes the woman for his daughter – the movie seems to say: ah, yes, all is as it should be!
I did not feel particularly sorry for either of them.