Maid in Manhattan
A scene from Maid in Manhattan that presents a fictional cover of People magazine and imagined public presentation about the romance between the two lead characters (Wang, 2002, 1:39:52)
Film & Television

Maid in Manhattan

An academic review of the 2002 film, Maid in Manhattan, directed by Wayne Wang

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In this post, I survey and discuss the 2002 film, Maid in Manhattan, directed by Wayne Wang. This is an academic literature review that provides a chronological overview of the discussion presented with a brief interpretation of the themes and/or arguments. I may or may not agree with the content I am reviewing here and the critical lens of my summations and annotations reflect the research I was doing at the time.

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Summary

Maid in Manhattan is a romantic comedy film that follows the story of Marisa (Jennifer Lopez), a hotel housekeeper, who falls in love with a wealthy politician staying at the hotel (Ralph Fiennes). The film raises questions about the impact of socioeconomic disparities on relationships and opportunities for upward mobility. It also highlights the challenges faced by marginalized workers, like Marisa, as they navigate the divide between the working class and the privileged elite in a society that perpetuates inequality.

Annotations

Marisa’s colleagues discuss their dreams of upward mobility and awkwardly break out into spontaneous choreography to Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” followed by a costume-test montage.

A scene from Maid in Manhattan that depicts the film trope of spontaneous choreography
A scene from Maid in Manhattan that depicts the film trope of spontaneous choreography (Wang, 2002, 1:07:34)

Marisa finally finds the resolve to stand up to her mother’s lateral oppression, rejecting her insistence that she accept her place within the class hierarchy and remain a maid.

I’m gonna find a job as a maid in some hotel. After some time passes, I’m gonna apply for the management program. And when I get the chance to be a manager — and I will, Ma, I know I will — I’m going to take that chance without any fear. Without your voice in my head telling me that I can’t.

Wang, 2002, 1:30:26

Bibliography

Wang, W. (Director). (2002). Maid in Manhattan [Film]. Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios & Hughes Entertainment.