When the estranged daughter of a hard-working live-in housekeeper suddenly appears, the unspoken class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray.
Val (Regina Casé) is a loyal-to-a-fault, live-in housekeeper employed by a wealthy São Paulo family headed by Dr. Carlos (Lourenço Mutarelli) and his workaholic, status-conscious wife, Dona Barbara (Karine Teles). Val dotes on their teenage son, Fabinho (Michel Joelsas), whom she has helped raise and who has become a surrogate for Val’s own child, Jessica (Camila Márdila), who lives with Val’s estranged husband in the rural northeast.
Everyone and everything has its place in Val’s carefully ordered world but when the ambitious, headstrong Jessica announces she is travelling to São Paulo for university entrance exams and expects to stay with her mother, Val’s feelings of pride and guilt collide with her unquestioned deference to her employers. Her unease is exacerbated when self-aware and unapologetically ambitious Jessica makes herself at home in Val's employer's house in ways her mother would never presume to do.
A script penned by the film’s director, Anna Muylaert, offers the talented ensemble cast richly delineated characters to work with. The film avoids easy stereotypes, exploring issues of class and privilege with humour, insight and a compassionate regard for human fallibility.
“Beautifully written and acted…this film’s a winner. One of Brazil’s best and most beloved actresses, Regina Casé delivers a stunning performance” The Hollywood Reporter