Netflix’s “Maid” – Trapped in Domestic Violence [review]

Maid 2021


Title: “Maid” (Neflix series)

Release Date: 2021

Director: John Wells

Cast: Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Andie MacDowell, Anika Noni Rose




“It takes woman seven attempts to leave an abusive relationship” these are the words of the director of a center for victims of domestic violence, where Alex, the main character of the Netlix miniseries “Maid” ends up. This is an extremely moving, realistic portrayal of the situation of a mother trying to break free from a toxic partner and create a normal home for herself and her less than three-year-old daughter. Based on fact, “Maid” is a vision of America’s poverty, homelessness and the helplessness of those who have not lived up to the myth of success. Above all, however, “Maid” is an anatomy of the complex trap faced by a single mother, against whom not only the domestic aggressor works, but also the social welfare system and cultural stereotypes that paradoxically keep her in the role of helpless victim.

“Maid” – the story of Stephanie Land

The ten-episode miniseries “Maid” is a story based on the memoirs of Stephanie Land, who described her difficult life experiences when, at the age of 28, as a single mother of a toddler daughter, she found herself literally at the bottom. Without a home or a job, she ended up in a center for victims of violence, where she could only stay for 90 days. During this time she had to rebuild her life: find a job, an apartment and create a stable home for her child. The script for the Netflix series was based on Land’s book “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s will to survive” from 2019, which made it to “New York Times” bestseller list.

The main character of “Maid” is Alex, who, after another domestic brawl in which Sean (Nick Robinson) makes a hole in the wall and smashes an ashtray over their daughter’s head, runs away with her three-year-old child in the middle of the night. She has only $30 in her pocket, which she needs to survive. In an instant, she becomes a homeless single mother with no means of survival. At the welfare center, she learns that she can get social housing, but on the condition that she has steady employment, at least two pay stubs. So Alex is immediately hired by a social worker recommended by Yolanda, who contracts a cleaning service at a starvation rate. So Alex leaves her daughter in the care of her irresponsible and mentally unstable mother and sets out to clean a large mansion. Therefore begins the first day of freedom for the heroine.

Maid series review

Netflix’s “Maid” – trapped in violence

“Maid” by Netflix is a series that at times knocks you into the seat with the scale of emotions evoked. It is impossible to remain indifferent to the story of a single mother struggling to survive in a tangled web of various conditions. Subsequent episodes reveal different faces of violence, which, especially in the psychological and economic version, can take very sophisticated forms. The most difficult part of the process of recovering from the intricately created manipulation is the moment of realizing that this violence is a fact at all.

For if a man does not abuse his wife, but starts brawls, destroys objects, threatens, intimidates, takes away her access to her account – are these sufficient characteristics of abuse? Will they be credible to the court? How to prove them if there are no witnesses? Maybe it’s better to stay with the husband, who, after all, can also be wonderful and is a father after all? Do you give yourself the right to break up the family? How do you support a child on your own if you have no education, income or even a roof over your head? These are the dilemmas Alex faces, and – as “Maid” seems to show – the solutions to these issues can prove to be exceedingly difficult.

“Maid” is a series that first and foremost raises awareness of how complicated a phenomenon domestic violence is. It is a kind of trap in which the victim is stuck not because she is naive or stupid. In some ways, surviving in such a pathological situation requires considerable strength and intelligence. During the screening of “Maid”, I had the irresistible impression that the film is even a blow against all the harmful stereotypes about women experiencing abuse from their partners. It shows that domestic violence is not just a situation played out within four walls, but a multidimensional affair in which the culprits are also a flawed social welfare system, poor support from loved ones, indifference from employers, and abysmal wages for women doing the hardest jobs.

Maid Netflix series analysis

“Maid” and the process of overcoming helplessness

“Maid” by Netflix is a series that strongly engages the viewer’s attention by taking the victim’s perspective. Here we have treatments aimed at showing her way of thinking about herself and the world. Together with Alex, we wait for hours in offices, fill out stacks of paperwork to improve the situation, enter a courtroom without understanding a word of legal jargon, scrub a dirty toilet in a house where no one has cleaned for years.

We are not just spectators to the plot of “Maid”, we are participants in it, experiencing extreme emotions. The creators do not for a moment let us see objective solutions, on the contrary, they make us enter the mind of Alex, convinced of her worthlessness. So we hear imaginary dialogues and the presumed course of events, which sometimes plays out only in the head of the frightened heroine.

Indeed, the series “Maid” shows that coming out of the role of the victim is as complicated as the domestic violence. It is worth noting here the very good acting of Margaret Qualley, who was able to play the role of a single mother incredibly suggestively. She convincingly conveyed the learned helplessness of her character and the paralyzing shame that prevents her from asking for and accepting help. It seems that Margaret Qualley, despite her fierce determination, at times even deliberately irritates the viewer, when one would like to shake her and say – don’t be treated like this, fight back.

Interestingly, the actress starred here in a duet with her real-life mother, Andie MacDowell, who created a phenomenal role of an eccentric artist who evokes extreme emotions. A mentally unstable, albeit undiagnosed woman, all her life changing lovers and places of residence in search of a life purpose is certainly a creation worth watching. Just like the whole series. For “Maid” is worth watching, and after the screening of each episode, Alex’s moving story will continue to scroll in our minds for a long time to come.