Enjoy some fairy tale frivolity in 2002's Maid in Manhattan

Enjoy some fairy tale frivolity in 2002's Maid in Manhattan

Enjoy some fairy tale frivolity in 2002's Maid in Manhattan

During our recent exploration of how cleaning and cleaners have been depicted in popular culture here on the Aurora blog, we have looked at a few cinematic retellings of classic fairy tales, such as Snow White and Cinderella.

Today, we focus on a more modern take on the fairy tale with Maid in Manhattan, one of the films that helped to turn Jennifer Lopez into a global star. Refreshingly, in this movie the lead female character doesn't rely on a man to whisk her away to a better life.

A new look at fairy tale traditions
Lopez plays Marisa Ventura, a single mother who works as a maid at the upmarket Beresford Hotel in Manhattan, which is frequented by celebrities and politicians. Marisa's friends and co-workers believe she has what it takes to make the move into management, but she continues working as a maid to ensure she can look after her ten-year-old son.

Marisa's life changes when, one day, while cleaning the room of wealthy socialite Caroline Lane, she tries on a designer Dolce & Gabbana coat. At that moment, hotel guest and senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall, played by Ralph Fiennes, walks into the room and is instantly smitten with Marisa. The only catch is he believes her to be Caroline Lane.

The pair spend some time together and instantly hit it off, but Marisa runs the risk of losing her job if her bosses find out about the mix-up, meaning she has to avoid Christopher after their initial meeting.

Things come to a head when Marisa agrees to meet Christopher at a grand ball, and it is in these scenes where the film's fairy tale inspirations really come to the fore. We won't spoil the ending, but by the time the story has concluded it becomes clear that Marisa's idea of a fairy tale isn't just about meeting a man, but also about being independent and working hard to look after herself and her son.


A lot to love
Maid in Manhattan may not have taken the world by storm or made a big impression on critics, but it certainly pulled in the crowds at the cinema. It reached number one at the US box office on its opening weekend and brought in some $155 million worldwide, nearly $100 million more than its budget.

There is a lot to love about the film, not least the on-screen charisma and likeability of Lopez, Fiennes and a young Tyler Posey, the actor who plays Marisa's son Ty. Lopez would go on to star in other light-hearted comedies like Monster-in-Law and The Back-up Plan, while Fiennes made a memorable impact on children all over the world by playing Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise.

For many people, Maid in Manhattan fits snugly into that category of movies that feel like the cinematic equivalent of comfort food.

Here at Aurora, we know that not even a surprise encounter with a celebrity or politician would be enough to distract our expert cleaners, so you can rely on us to keep your workplace or business premises spotless and presentable.


Posted by Julie Tucker