The Second Mother

The Second Mother ★★★★½

An effortless insightful examination of class interaction, a heartfelt study in motherhood and, like it wasn't enough, a breezy good-natured hilarious comedy. Muylaert masterfully explores the house, where the vast majority of the scenes take place, to enable the incredibly sensible narrative to carefully address the film's meaningful themes. The frequently-used framing, peeking the dinner table and the living room from the kitchen, is a wonderful example of that.

The complexity of the relations between the few characters organically and terrifically grows as the universally relatable mundane story progresses. Every single one of them, including the moving affection between the bosses' son and his lifelong nanny, are credible. Even a possibly over-antagonizing portrayal of Barbara gets a believable rationalization for the root of her grudge, besides the blatant prejudice.

There are strong performances all around the movie, but of course, Casé is the MVP here. It's not nearly as showy, as the praises and the Sundance award may imply, instead, she shines with a sophisticated depiction of a deeply humble person. Ironically, her role it's almost the complete opposite of her "real" public personality, so utterly hated by the "erudite" community (extra emphasis on the quotation marks).

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