Making the Grades
Every now and then, a girl could use a fairy godmother with a magic wand to whip up some glass slippers and a new gown. But Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) will have to settle for the help of her son when it comes to catching a man.
In Maid in Manhattan, moviegoers get the classic Cinderella story complete with the cleaning girl who falls for the handsome prince -- or in this case a senatorial candidate on the election trail. Working as a maid in a swank New York hotel, Marisa is a single mother from the Bronx who has learned to be invisible to the rich and influential guests who stay in the four-star establishment. She's an employee who takes her job seriously enough to be considered for a promotion until her co-worker convinces her to try on the discarded outfit of one of their wealthy visitors.
That's when she accidentally meets Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes), a Congressional aspirant who's just checked into the Beresford. Mistaking her for a fellow guest, he is smitten with the well-heeled woman and her politically savvy son, Ty (Tyler Posey). But instead of coming clean, Marisa avoids Chris rather than face the disparity of their social standings. Afraid to burst the bubble, she holds out until she is confronted with the evidence of her actions.
Unfortunately, the script could use a little spit and polish to clean it up for family viewing. Along with consequences for actions that are often mild (if even evident), repeated profanities, sexual comments and a religious jab wear at the film's suitability. A brief bedroom scene involving an unmarried couple and the unclothed backside of a male hotel guest may also leave some parents checking out.
Interestingly, the movie focuses on the often-overlooked service people who keep things running smoothly but are rarely acknowledged. According to the studio, Lopez drew crowds of onlookers while filming in the Waldorf-Astoria but barely drew any attention when wearing her housekeeping costume. Considering that she is the same mega star regardless of how she dresses, that observation may be the most realistic aspect of this Hollywood fairytale.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Maid In Manhattan.
How did Marisa’s mistake contribute to a tangle of lies? How can letting someone believe something that is not true be the same as telling a lie? How important is honesty in a relationship?
The hotel’s motto was that their service people should be invisible. What does that mean? Are people who provide valuable services often overlooked? What examples show that Marissa went above and beyond the duties of her job?
How likely is it that Marisa would be able to find another job in the hotel business considering the reason for her dismissal?
How are minority groups depicted in this movie?