Stockbroker Jean Louis Joubert (Fabrice Luchini) lives with his socialite wife Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain) in the Parisian apartment that his family have owned for generations. When their long serving maid retires, Suzann decides to follow the lead of the other owners in the apartment block and hire a Spanish maid, the charming and beautiful Maria Gonzalez (Natalie Verbeke).
The Spanish maids all live on the squalid 6th floor of the apartment block, which is a sharp contrast to the luxury of the rest of the building. When Jean Louis discovers the living conditions on the 6th floor, he goes about trying to fix them and subsequently wins the hearts of the maids. He becomes obsessed with Spanish culture and the lives of the maids, particularly Maria.
The Women on the 6th floor is the coming of age film’s much maligned cousin, a mid- life crisis film. At times it can be uncomfortable to see the middle aged Jean Louis’ attitude towards the young and beautiful Maria. However, if anyone can portray a middle aged man pursuing a younger woman gracefully it’s the French, and Le Guay just about pulls it off with only the occasional cringe worthy moment.
Both French and Spanish culture are depicted in a light hearted but accurate way although at times the portrayal of class conflict can be a little bit heavy handed. The Women on the 6th floor is far from edgy but it’s simple humour and likable characters means that it is a heart warming and engaging film. [Watch the trailer]
The Women on the 6th Floor is released exclusively at the IFI from 13 July 2012.