Netflix Series Review: MAID

Ella Cascone, Managing Editor

I recently watched the Netflix limited series, MAID, which was released this past October. The series is adapted from the book, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land, which is based on the period in the author’s life when she was a single mother working as a housecleaner to support herself and her daughter. It follows a young mother Alex, played by Margaret Qualley, who is trying to escape an emotionally abusive relationship with her daughter’s father, Sean, played by Nick Robinson. Alex initially flees home with her daughter, Maddy, in the middle of the night. She attempts to create a life for herself but nothing seems to go her way. Alex’s mother, Paula, played by Andie MacDowell (Margaret Qualley’s real-life mother), is undiagnosed with bipolar disorder. She loves her daughter but has no sense of commitment or responsibility. Alex’s father, played by Billy Burke, is not in her life, meaning she is essentially on her own. She initially seeks shelter in her car before moving into a domestic violence shelter. From there Alex and Maddy live in halfway houses, low-rent apartments, relatives’ homes, and even back into Sean’s trailer for a short but devastating period of time. Each time you think one of these places is going to work, the well-thought-out plan seems to explode in Alex’s face. 

In order to pay for some expenses, Alex gets a job as a maid, hence the name of the series. She tirelessly cleans houses every day and works harder than any of her coworkers. She begins cleaning for a rich woman named Regina, played by Anika Noni Rose. Regina has a tough exterior, ruthlessly critiquing Alex’s skills and technique. However, Alex is still the only maid who Regina wants in her house and requests her each week. Alex eventually bonds with Regina, and she becomes her only constant support. 

The creativity in this series is also amazing. Anytime Alex spends money, a count of her savings comes up on the screen. Viewers see how far Alex has to stretch her money just to be able to feed herself and Maddy. Additionally, the series is narrated at times by Alex through her writing which further portrays the inner struggle Alex is experiencing. Alex learns to trust only herself because everyone else has betrayed her at some point, whether that be her father, who she realizes left for a different reason than her mother had always told her, or her friends who took Sean’s side instead, not one person made this situation easy for Alex. 

I am someone who rarely cries while watching television or movies, but I was unable to keep track of how many times I sobbed watching MAID. It was an uncontrollable cry, as I was just so taken over with sadness and anger for Alex’s situation. This series does an incredible job portraying the extreme flaws of the system. People in poverty, specifically women, have so little resources that it seems like there is no way out. The amount of work that goes into simply finding a roof to put over your head is unfathomable, and the paperwork to get government-assisted aid is nearly impossible. Nothing about the system is easy or made for the people. The portrayal of these issues is so necessary in today’s society. When a piece of media moves you to the point of tears, you know it is a job well done.