The Chambermaid Lynn (2014) MUBI

September 8th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Ingo Haeb | Cast: Vicky Krieps, Lena Lauzemis, Steffen Muenster | 90min   Germany   Drama

Vicky Krieps strikes just the right note in Ingo Haeb’s rather trite chamber piece based on a novel by Markus Orths.

The doomed relationship with her dull manager and boyfriend (Steffen Muenster) at a the chintzy hotel where they both work has exposed an obsessive compulsive streak in her fastidious behaviour as cleaner and chambermaid which she clearly enjoys.

The monotonous work routine and listening to French classic movies on her computer soothes Lynn’s anxiety. She tolerated a certain amount of stress from her prying elderly mother who lives far away in an another humdrum existence.

Cheerful in a vacuous way, Lynn offers her ex sexual favours – which he continues to accept – and even though the relationship is over she appears neither disappointed nor turned on by this one-sided routine which provides another evasion from her daily chores.

There are echoes of Amelie in both the tone and characterisation of The Chambermaid’s rather facile approach which belies some serious and even creepy psychological undertones.

Occasionally Lynn has taken to trying on guests’ clothing, riffling through their cubboards and sliding under their hotel beds in anticipation of what might happen when they return to the room. An expected S&M routine experienced under one particular bed brings her into contact with a masculine-faced dominatrix Chiara (Lena Lauzemis) who Lynn decides to try out on her own terms, with surprising consequences and although she doesn’t quite fit the submissive role, Lynn clearly enjoys being controlled and punished in bed and Chiara brings this out into the open in several paid encounters which prove therapeutic for Lynn’s wellbeing.

The Chambermaid was shot by French cinematographer Sophie Maintigneux, who cut her teeth on Eric Rohmer’s classic Le Rayon Vert. Coupled with an atmospheric score from Jakob Ilja, This is watchable but lightweight in comparison to more fully-fledged LGBT titles such as The Duke of Burgundy and Blue is the Warmest Colour, although its delicate psychology is perfectly fleshed out by Krieps’ subtle performance. MT

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