Alice (who is dealing with some issues in life) hires a cleaning lady named Shelly and the two form a powerful bond. Unfortunately, Shelly isn’t exactly what she appears to be and has some serious issues of her own, and before you know it Alice begins to regret hiring her (especially after the bodies start piling up).
I’d heard several good things about The Cleaning Lady before I saw it, so I went into it with high hopes that it was going to be as good as a lot of the reviews I read for it claimed it to be. I thought that it sounded like it might have an interesting premise, so I was excited to check it out and kept my fingers crossed that it lived up to the hype it’s gotten in recent months. After everything was said and done, I’m not exactly sure how I felt about it. It had its moments for sure but at the same time it moved a bit too slowly for me and there were times that I couldn’t help but feel a little bored while I was watching it. It wasn’t a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination, but I just didn’t quite enjoy it as much as a lot of other reviewers seemed to have.
In a lot of ways, the movie reminded me of one of those old suspense/thrillers they used to show on USA Network back on Wednesday nights back in the 90s. We have a lonely woman that is dealing with certain issues (she can’t stop having affairs with rich married men that buy her pretty much anything she wants) who gets close to a woman that she hires (who is horribly scarred) to clean her house.
Things with the woman she hires go OK at first and they have a normal, friendly relationship but then things go wrong quickly and the people around Alice start getting killed off. It appears as though Shelly, the cleaning lady has some serious mental issues (for good reason once we see what happened to her when she was younger to make her the way she is later in life) and it isn’t long before she essentially becomes obsessed with Alice (almost in a Single White Female sort of way to a degree). While it is interesting watching things get stranger and stranger between the two as Alice slowly begins to figure out that there is just something not quite right about Shelly I thought that things dragged on a little too long and everything could have been resolved a lot quicker if some of the more unnecessary scenes had been left on the cutting room floor (especially the opening scene that involves Shelly putting rats in a blender that is not needed and just plain unpleasant all around). While I think that the screenwriters had good intentions while writing the movie, I think that some of the things they came up with probably looked much better on paper and didn’t quite work on screen.
I also feel like I have to say something about the ending as I just didn’t care for it. It is more than a little unsatisfying and it just doesn’t work at all. I’m thinking that the people that wrote the script must have had a very difficult time trying to decide how to end things and went with this ending because they thought that viewers would like it, but they were wrong. It feels extremely abrupt and rushed, not to mention that there is just something about it that feels off in general that I can’t quite put my finger on. It isn’t the worst ending in the history of movies or anything like that, but I have a feeling that the viewers that are really into this movie are going to feel more than a little let down when they get to the final scene.
On the other hand, there were certain things I liked about The Cleaning Lady. I liked the characters (even though I’m not sure we are supposed to) and though that the actors playing them did a fantastic job. I felt sorry for both characters (especially Shelly once you find out what a messed-up childhood she had) and I think a lot of other viewers will too. There is a lot of disturbing things that take place during the course of the film and I don’t know if I’m alone in this or not, but in many ways, Shelly comes off like a Batman villain for a number of reasons. Yeah, she’s messed up and maybe evil but at the same time she is sympathetic, and you can’t truly hate her. I thought that she was a complex character and is probably the best thing about the entire film as a result.
I thought The Cleaning Lady was an OK movie, but I wasn’t exactly blown away by it. It’s watchable, but I don’t think that anyone would ever bother watching it again after they initially check it out. It’s a dark, depressing movie so if you’re feeling down, I wouldn’t recommend watching it because it will only make you feel worse in the long run. Check it out if it sounds like something you would be into, you could do a lot worse.