This is about Sophie (Sandrine Bonaire), who has applied to be the maid for Catherine Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset) and her family. She has a son from a previous marriage and hubby Georges has a daughter from his. They live in a huge house on the outskirts of an end of the line town in France. She is given the job of looking after the whole family, as well as cleaning and cooking for them. They initially come across as considerate, offering to pay for driving lessons etc, but soon they just seem to treat her like a slave.
Then she meets the girl from the Post Office - Jeanne played by Isabel Huppert, who has a passionate dislike for the whole rotten family and starts to awaken the latent hate that is fermenting in Sophie. The other thing is they both have a past, and their pasts are achingly similar. Sophie also is covering up for the fact that she is illiterate and seems ashamed about it.
As the restrictions on her bring into focus the simmering resentment of certain members of the family, things are going to inevitably come to a head. This French film was made in 1995 and has been re released on DVD in the UK and I am rather glad that it has. This was one of those films where not a lot appears to happen, when in actual fact all the nuances of the mundane and ordinary are all building up a tapestry that will conclude with the final acts of the protagonists. It is just a brilliant film, where every single performance is so convincing without seeming to try and it had me absolutely transfixed for the duration, seriously I can not recommend highly enough.