Set in 1960s Paris, The Women on the 6th Floor tells a charming, yet predictable and often clichéd, story about an uptight stockbroker, Jean-Louis (Luchini), who falls in love with his beautiful Spanish maid, Maria (Verbeke). While the film centres on the development of the love story, there is a lot being said about the class society of the time.
Jean-Louis, like all of his friends and acquaintances, has never been concerned with how his staff lives, who they really are or what has brought them from Spain to France. It is only when he ventures to the 6th floor and meets all of the women living with Maria that his eyes are opened to the huge class divide and he begins to do things to help them improve their living situation.
As time goes by the women have a life-changing effect on Jean-Louis; he now realises how unhappy he is and unfulfilled by his life and starts spending more and more time on the 6th floor to escape it.
All of Jean-Louis’ colleagues are workaholics, his wife and her friends are obsessed with social status and his children, who go to boarding school, are arrogant and extremely unlikeable. The women, despite their poor living conditions and financial struggles, always appear happier and more full of life than any other characters in the film and it is their spirit that gives the film its charm.
Although the film was enjoyable, there was nothing particularly special or memorable about it. With such a predictable plot, there is no need for the film to run to 104 minutes and it felt quite drawn out and in need of tighter editing.
The central love story here between Jean-Louis and Maria just left me cold with the on-screen chemistry between the two failing to ignite. It doesn’t say much for the success of the film when you find yourself rooting for him to stay with his wife rather than find true love with the maid.
An uninspiring offering!