You can’t choose your family…or can you?
by Megan Smith
The modern nuclear family: one mom, one dad, one child…and the nanny.
But Margarita (Nicola Correia Damude), a twenty-something immigrant from Mexico, isn’t your average live-in nanny. She’s a tutor, a personal shopper, a chef, a caregiver, and a maid. From re-tiling the kitchen to cleaning the hot tub to making personalized morning smoothies, Margarita does it all.
Her Canadian employers, Ben (Patrick McKenna) and Gail (Claire Lautier), are your typical white, upper-middle-class, luxury-car-driving, dentist-and-doctor couple. But from the very beginning, we discover things aren’t always as they seem. In reality, a series of bad investments has left the couple drowning in debt. Their ultimate decision is to fire Margarita, who has looked after their now-teenage daughter, Mali (Maya Ritter), for the past six years. But how can they? She’s family.
Besides enjoying the occasional dip in the couple’s hot tub with her law-student girlfriend, Jane (Christine Horne), being “family” doesn’t come with too many perks. Margarita gets the worst room in the house, and even on her rare days off she’s constantly on call. Despite it all, Margarita’s love for the family is exceptional.
It’s not until the couple attempts to fire Margarita that they notice the immense amount of work she contributes to keep the family and household running smoothly. And when they finally muster up the courage to do the deed, Margarita doesn’t take things lightly. “In Mexico, we don’t fire family,” she says.
The couple, in an attempt to rid themselves of guilt, tries to convince Margarita this change is for the best, that they are holding her back, that she can go back to school and have a new career.
But unbeknownst to everyone, pursuing a different future isn’t an option because Margarita is undocumented. So now the couple—and Margarita’s girlfriend—must evaluate just how far they’ll go to keep the woman they’ve grown to love in the country.
Directed by Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert, Margarita is a sweet and subtly dramatic film that presents a refreshing representation of a lesbian relationship sans the political statement. Damude definitely shines in her leading role, giving off a great sense of warmth and sincerity. Love and family come in all forms, and Margarita portrays nothing less.
Available from Wolfe Video (wolfevideo.com).