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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Need More Joy in Your Life
This movie made me cry. It reminds me of how little joy I have in my life. The Spanish maids were so vibrant and alive, their love for one another obvious and pure. The enthusiasm they had for life was infectious and overwhelmingly beautiful. We all need a group of loving friends to dance and sing with and enjoy a delicious paella with fine wine. Life was not meant to be...
Published 19 months ago by Britt

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very French !!
This is the quintessential French farce !! All right to watch and be amused but totally meaningless, e.g. the usual sort of things people go through, but with tongue in cheek !! Traded it in as once was enough !!
Published 19 months ago by Jane Austen


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Need More Joy in Your Life, July 28, 2013
This movie made me cry. It reminds me of how little joy I have in my life. The Spanish maids were so vibrant and alive, their love for one another obvious and pure. The enthusiasm they had for life was infectious and overwhelmingly beautiful. We all need a group of loving friends to dance and sing with and enjoy a delicious paella with fine wine. Life was not meant to be dull and routine. Too many of us live in isolation, entertained by gadgets like computers, televisions, and cell phones, never experiencing the joy of real friendship. I want to be like the Spanish maids and actually FEEL.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Friends with benefits: A Parisian Upstairs Downstairs, March 31, 2012
By 
This review is from: Women on the 6th Floor (DVD)
THE WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR (Les femmes du 6ème étage) is a delightful bit of French pastiche that entertains while it also provides insight into several problems - immigration, class distinction, rich controlling poor, and the polar extremes of between the wealth and the working class. Fortunately the story as written by Jérôme Tonnerre and writer/director Philippe Le Guay takes place in the 1960s, offering the audience to glance back at period when social reforms were in the gestational phase and in doing so the film allows the comedy to reign - a fact that makes the reality eventually more poignant.

The story takes place in Paris in 1963 in an elegant neighborhood where Jean-Louis Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) is a serious but uptight stockbroker, married to Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain), a starchy class-conscious woman and father of two arrogant teenage boys, (Camille Gigot and Jean-Charles Deval) currently in a boarding school. Jean-Louis lives a steady yet boring life while Suanne busies herself with luncheon appointments, hair appointments, charities, etc. Jean-Louis' mother had been living with the Jouberts until her recent death and now Suzanne forces Jean-Louis to move all of the deceased woman's things to the attic on the 6th floor, an act that infuriates the longtime French maid Germaine (Michèle Gleizer) who leaves the household in disgust. Naturally everything deteriorates an Suzanne must find a new maid. She encounters Maria (Natalia Verbeke) recently immigrated from Spain, offers her a trial employment, and Maria, who becomes friends with the group of maids who live in the disgusting squalor of the 6th floor of the building: naturally these Spanish maids bond and help Maria bring the Joubert household to a state of perfection. Jean-Lois is thrilled with the new maid and discovers the other maids, hears their problems with the sewer and other poor conditions, and sets out to befriend these wonderful ladies who are living in his building : the redoubtable Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Berta Ojea, Nuria Solé, and Concha Galán. These lovely and deeply appreciative lively Spanish maids help Jean-Louis to become open to a new civilization and a new approach of life. In their company - and especially in the company of beautiful Maria - Jean-Louis will gradually become another man, a better man.

The acting is first rate, the subplots embroider the main story with fine finesse, and the sense of the transformation of one wealthy but emotionally vapid man into the loving charmer he becomes makes for a very fine comedy. The ending (three years later) is a bit vapid and cheapens the story quality, but by that time the audience is so entranced with this new vision of camaraderie that it matters little. This is a refreshing, well made, exceptionally entertaining film that boast a particularly fine cast of ensemble actors. In French and Spanish with English subtitles. Grady Harp, March 12
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Beautiful and Captivating French tale of domestic servitude., January 27, 2013
This review is from: Women on the 6th Floor (DVD)
Set in Paris in the 1960's this is the story of one of those beautiful French town buildings that house a microcosm of society. Jean-Louis Joubert (Fabrice Lucine) is a middle aged stock broker married to Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain), they have settled into a life of domestic existence masked by their upper middle class sensibilities. Then their maid of over twenty years has a falling out and leaves. Well apparently the latest must have for women in Suzanne's position is a Spanish maid.

So Suzanne sets off and recruits Maria who is just off the bus from Spain and she is put to the test and after realizing that Mousier Joubert likes a perfect 3 ½ minute boiled egg she starts to work her way into the affections of the couple. The thing is she actually lives in the same building up in the gods on the sixth floor. This is a place at complete odds with the luxurious apartment where she works. They have no hot water, no washing facilities, no refrigeration and no heat and all live in squalid little bed rooms oh and the toilet is blocked. However despite this and the long hours they all work they are always happy and over flowing with love for one another. Oh yes the children of the not so loving couple, are in boarding school but return full of the arrogance that only privilege can bring.

As events take their turn it soon dawns on Jean-Louis that he prefers the company of the Spanish maids and what he had always thought important might not be as he suddenly realises he may have been getting his priorities wrong all along.

This is a joyous film, full of unexpected humour and touching moments all mixed in with the not so nice bits of life. It is just a pleasure from start to finish and it is very hard to say why without doing a real plot spoiler. This is one of those films that you will not be able to help raving about, and I intend to bore quite a few friends about why this is a must see. Maria is played by the very beautiful Natalie Verbeke who is just brilliant. There is not a single lack lustre performance here, all of the cast are brilliant especially the Spanish women. Director and co writer Phillipe Le Guay has made a simple yet beautiful film that deserves much more attention. For lovers of all things European, French, Spanish or just those that like a great Gallic comedy - absolutely brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully joyful and life-affirming, June 24, 2014
This review is from: Women on the 6th Floor (DVD)
In French and Spanish, with English subtitles, this film depicts the burgeoning friendship between French stock-broker, Monsieur Jean-Louis Joubert and a group of Spanish cleaning ladies who live on the top floor of his apartment building. I found the film wonderfully life-affirming...watching the transformation of Jean-Louis as he befriends these women, and starts to help them in various practical ways. Love thy neighbour with skin on! Jean-Louis' wife and sons provide wonderful comic relief with their laugh-out-loud statements and worldview. Set in 1960s Paris, this delightful social comedy will leave you smiling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "For The First Time I Feel In My Place ... Here I Discovered A Family" - Jean-Louis, January 2, 2014
By 
Sheryl Fechter (Northern Illinois, United States) - See all my reviews
During 1962, Life in Paris is getting very predictable, complacent, and altogether lacking for middle-aged Jean-Louis Joubert (Fabrice Luchini). He lives along with his country woman turned socialite wife, Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain), has two haughty sons off in boarding school, goes to work each day as a stockbroker, but is just existing in his white collared orderly routine. Their petulant maid, Germaine, is having daily falling-outs with his wife since Jean's mother passed away. It has been nothing but constant friction as she blames Suzanne for being the one who actually did the woman in; intentionally. Without warning, she packs up her belongings and scornfully quits to the tune of the cantankerous neighbor woman yelling in the hallway, "The Spaniards! they partied all night again, they shouted and sang!". While this woman may think them too boisterous, they are a spirited bunch and a cohesive family-like unit of maids living on the 6th floor of their building. The floor that breathes the life into this story.

After learning from her high-society friends just how "agreeable" these Spanish women are and that they even work on Sundays (after 6:00 am Mass), she recruits the lovely Maria Gonzalez (Natalia Verbeke). Just arriving from Spain and joining her Aunt Concepcion on the 6th floor, she is quickly acclimated to her new position with the Jouberts. A very fussy Jean-Louis insists on only one thing; the perfectly soft-boiled egg. "If the egg is perfect, my day is made" is his stance on how life should be for Maria to handle. She easily enchants with her sweet and lively ways, conversations with Suzanne, takes care of each household task and equally sweeps Jean-Louis right off his feet. He visits the floor upstairs while bringing up things for storage and sees what he calls "deplorable" conditions for the maids. Jean quickly begins to shape things up for the women becoming what they call a "Saint" to them. They lived with the most horrible conditions; no hot water, a plugged up toilet, tiny sleeping spaces, paint peeling off walls, overly long working hours, everything that would drain a person.

But not these outspoken and animated women. They are a joyous group that get together all of the time; eat, drink, and always be merry is their motto. They give a whole new meaning to being happy while feeling that what they do is wonderful and supporting each other as if they were all sisters. As Jean visits the women on the 6th, using any excuse to see Maria, he learns more and more about life through another culture, self-betterment, loving others, and the meaning of true happiness with these jubilant people. While joining them all for one of their festive parties filled with grand food, flowing wine and plenty of singing, Suzanne has been suspecting his absences from home but blames it on another source. Jean-Louis does not deceive his wife about his whereabouts although she does decide to send him packing. While he takes up a new residence and Maria attends to situations so dear to her own life the years go right on by. They each must come to terms with the possibility of never seeing one another again or if learning through their two very different worlds was the heart of the matter all along.

This extremely effervescent film, co-written and directed by Philippe De Guay, is accompanied by lovely original music (Jorge Arriagada) featuring a gorgeous Spanish Guitar playing throughout. The scenery (Jean-Claude Larrieu) of Paris, Spain and the countryside is breathtaking and shown with the gusto of the movie's own spirited momentum. A storytelling movie that has something completely special to say; it speaks of immense joy, friendships of the highest kind, laughter with abandon, and the absolute message of the most important things in life.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR: Maids a'plenty!, April 5, 2012
This review is from: Women on the 6th Floor (DVD)
What begins as a motion picture about the clash of cultures could've ended up as a `coming-of-middle-age' dramedy in lesser hands, but, thankfully, THE WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR rises on the shoulders of its many skillful players.

Jean-Louis Joubert (played by Fabrice Luchini) is a man very set in his ways: he's a stockbroker who's been very successful by playing it safe - investing for the benefits of long-term relationships - and, much as he's done at work, he is at home. He wed a demure country girl (Suzanne, played by Sandrine Kiberlain), immediately went to work at raising two heirs for the business, and even insists that his morning hard-boiled egg be cooked at no-less-and-no-more than three and one-half minutes. He lives his life with exacting precision. So it should come as no surprise that his recent hiring of a new maid - Maria Gonzalez (played by the lovely Natalia Verbeke), who speaks her mind, has a free-wheeling love of life about her, and is a modern, liberated woman - is about to turn his ordered world upside down! Of course, that only means he's going to fall in love all over again - isn't that required of any romantic comedy these days? - but it's a sin easily forgiven when the tale is so sweet.

At its core, WOMEN explores the nexus of where things meet. Various ethnic cultures come together and clash. The passing of times forces the old to consider the new. Children clash with their parents. Nations go to war. Blue-collar clashes with white-collar. Precisely when two forces collide creates this nexus - a magical, mystical place where what comes after the intersection is always much more colorful, vibrant, and expressive than what came before. This `nexus' is central to appreciating what the film is saying about these people, these times, this place, etc., as it's the catalyst that fuels the narrative.

Jean-Louis meets Maria, and something as simple as the parting words as he's leaving for work requires his attention; however, not long after, he sees the world around him in much different color and flavor, and he's psychologically dashed off in another direction completely, one that lets the outside world in for a man who long ago shut it and its influences out. It's an almost magical transformation - one handled deftly by Luchini, an odd choice certainly for a romantic lead up against Ms. Verbeke, but one that works because of the chemistry the two create onscreen - and it carries the weight of an entire picture.

What I struggled with most was Jean-Louis's eventual rejection of his wife comes with little-to-no motivation, nor with any foreshadowing whatsoever. Up until the moment when he indulges himself, we're only shown that he has an established life at home, and, while his behaviors there, around the building, and at work are clearly `evolving', there was never any definitive moment when he announced - as a character - that he was losing interest in his wife while gaining it in Maria. Granted, his life with Suzanne may not have been perfect - he can recite her day's schedule ineffectually like the letters of the alphabet - but they appeared happy in their relationship. Sure, maybe it's a small quibble, but seeing how it fuels the second half of the picture, I would've appreciate a greater scene - even a simply throwaway - that may've made me understand this singular choice by a lead character better. Otherwise, I'm led to believe that he's simply fallen into a rut - succumbed to life's grand routine of life then work then marriage then death - and that seems too forced, maybe even a bit too convenient, to this viewer.

To be fair, there are some virtual throwaway side plots that aren't worked to great effectiveness here. The building's `manager' is a bit of a brute woman who - for reasons that are never clearly established - gets accused of withholding the maids' mail. Jean-Louis and Suzanne's two sons appear briefly, but they're given mostly moments so stereotypical that the scenes almost appear like cast-off segments from another film. An obvious gold-digger / widower who apparently preys on wealthy investment bankers is another stock character who adds little to the picture, essentially only fueling Suzanne's fears of her husband's naiveté. I can't help but wonder if a few extra minutes for each of these characters may've provided the depth I thought was missing from their inclusion as is, but that's something that will have to wait until the remake.

However, it's all a very fulfilling film. The `women' from the 6th floor - from the title - refers to where the building's maids all reside in cheap, single room flats. Relegated to this no-frills existence, one would think that these ladies would be beaten down by life - their shoulders slumped, always tired from overwork and abuse - but not these gals! They're full of life! They're primed and ready for whatever challenge comes next! Whenever they can, they help one another out on the job; they share their lives and dreams and experiences with each other; and they've become a family all of their own. It's this current that propels the picture to greater heights - it gives it a tremendous dynamic as these ladies go about everything they do with great zest - and it shows that life for the rich and famous may not be all that it's cracked up to be.

WOMEN is photographed with great attention to colors and location, and it all looks great on the screen. Sadly, the disc comes with no special features to speak off, and this is the kind of human comedy that would've benefitted from a little exploration (commentary, interviews, etc.). Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. What's hard not to recommend? The cast remains a delight - it's a wickedly clever ensemble of (mostly) blue-collar characters who share their blue-collar world in all of its blue-collar fantasies and foibles

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Strand Releasing provided me with a DVD screener for the expressed purposes of writing this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well done, April 29, 2014
By 
Theofile (Nassau, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Have watched a number of times and simply enjoy it. Great story. Great entertainment. Maria has a smile that lights up a room, and most of the women have beautiful hearts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Interesting, December 30, 2013
If you are looking for a charming and heart-warming French film to watch, sample this one. It shows what happens when conventional, bourgeois French lives of the well-to-do are upended by the arrival of a new maid. As the father of the house learns about his maid's life and those of her fellow maids, he is motivated to help them out. His help turns into friendship with the maids. Soon he finds he prefers their lives and friendships to his. This changes everything. This film may inspire you to think about the relationships in your life, and whether they meet your needs. One book I read by a nun on ten fun things to do before you die said one thing we should do is 'get interesting'. Getting interesting means expand your friendships to include diverse people of different races, socio-economic backgrounds and experiences. This film shows how your life can change for the better when that happens. I loved most of the film - would have rewritten the end, but that's subjective. See what you think. 4.5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and surprising, August 9, 2013
Very European in style with a good mix of French and Spanish. Demonstrates the human side of employer/employee relationships. The Spanish maids are down to earth, but can also be catty. Enjoyed the film, but didn't always buy how the plot developed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, July 30, 2013
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This review is from: Women on the 6th Floor (DVD)
I really like this movie it was funny and really show how a husband and wife get really just stuck in the hum drum life. It was entertaining and funny check it out for yourself.
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Women on the 6th Floor
Women on the 6th Floor by Philippe Le Guay (DVD - 2012)
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