Movie review: 'Women on the 6th Floor' loses its way

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Things start promisingly in this French comedy, set in 1962, in which Parisian businessman Jean-Louis (Fabrice Luchini) befriends the Spanish immigrant maids who live in the tiny sixth-floor rooms of his apartment building.

At first, the Spaniards' carefree attitude — especially the tenderness of his new maid, Maria (Natalia Verbeke) — begins to warm the stodgy conservatism of both Jean-Louis and his status-conscious wife Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain), while Jean-Louis begins to gain empathy for life among the service classes (sort of like "The Help," without the civil-rights drama).

But director/co-writer Philippe Le Guay loses the handle on his story, turning it into a midlife-crisis fantasy that betrays everything that has happened before. —


'The Women on the 6th Floor'

Opens Friday, Dec. 23 at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably PG-13 for some sexuality and language; in French with subtitles; 104 minutes.