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Movie Review - Maid in Manhattan with Jennifer Lopez (2002)

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Background

“Maid in Manhattan” is a delightful tale that could only happen in New York City.  It is based on a story of the same name written by John Hughes.  The talented cast makes the improbable tale appear to be possible.  I guarantee that you will smile from beginning to end.

                                

Statue of Liberty

                                         Statue of Liberty, New York City - Wikimedia

Introduction

Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a divorced woman with a ten-year-old boy named Ty (Tyler Posey) who works as a maid in the high-class Beresford Hotel in Manhattan.  If Tyler has a day off from school, he comes to the Beresford with his mother while other employees keep him busy.  Often, he sits with the security guard whose television screens show the inside of every hotel room.

Ty’s Speech at School

Ty had been researching a paper on Richard Nixon in preparation for a speech he was required to give at school.  He was hoping that his father would come to the presentation.  Marisa called Ty’s father to remind him and learned that he was out of town on business and would be unable to come.  When Ty got up to give his speech, he became nervous and forgot his words.  He walked off the stage and went backstage.  Marisa went back to console him, saying he would do better next time.  Ty insisted that there would be no next time.

                                                          

Jennifer Lopez

                                                                     Jennifer Lopez                                                                                                                                                       Wikimedia

An Assistant Manager is to be Hired

When Marisa and her fellow worker Stephanie (Marissa Matrone) were working in the Park Suite on the 22nd floor, Stephanie showed Marisa a notice that was circulated by management that they were seeking to hire an Assistant Manager, and present employees were urged to apply.  Stephanie encouraged Marisa to apply.  In the course of cleaning the room, Stephanie opened the closet to reveal the expensive wardrobe of the present resident of the room, wealthy Caroline Lane (Natasha Richardson).

Natasha Richardson

It is worthy of mention here that Natasha Richardson died as the result of a skiing accident in Quebec, Canada in 2009.  She was the wife of actor Liam Neeson and the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and director/producer Tony Richardson.

Marisa Tries on Caroline’s Designer Coat

Stephanie persuaded Marisa to try on Caroline’s white designer coat which was valued at $5000.  Caroline had asked Marisa to return the outfits in her closet to the store where she purchased them. 

                                                          

Ralph Fiennes

                                                            Ralph Fiennes - Wikimedia

Ty Meets Assemblyman Christopher Marshall

Meanwhile, Ty was riding the elevator and the present Assemblyman Christopher Marshall, a candidate for the Senate and the son of a former Senator.  Chris had his dog Rufus with him, planning to take him for a walk.  Ty questioned the Assemblyman about his political affiliation and they got into a discussion about Richard NixonTy explained that he had given a talk on Richard Nixon at school but messed up.  He asked Chris if he could walk with him and Rufus.  He had to ask permission from his mother who was in the Park Suite on the 22nd floor.

Marisa and Chris Meet

When Ty and Chris walked into the Park Suite, Marisa was decked out in Caroline’s designer coat.  Chris naturally believed that she was a guest at the hotel, and was instantly entranced with her.  He assumed that she was Caroline Lane.  He asked Marisa to come along while he and Ty walked Rufus in Central Park.  When the paparazzi were seen following them, Chris explained that he had recently broken up with his supermodel fiancée and the newspapers were anxious to corroborate the story.  Marisa mentioned Ty’s disappointment about forgetting his speech at school.  Chris explained to Ty that he was often nervous when giving a speech, so he always held a paper clip in his hand.  The energy of his nervousness would leave his body and find its way to the paper clip.  He urged Ty to do that the next time he had to give a speech.

                                                         

Natasha Richardson

                                                                  Natasha Richardson                                                                                                                                                Wikimedia 

They are on the Front Pages

The next day, the newspapers had a picture on the front page of Chris Marshall with an unknown lady friend in a white designer coat, her face turned slightly away from the camera.

Caroline Lane is Invited to Have Lunch with Chris

Back at the hotel, Chris asked Lionel, the chief butler, to invite Caroline Lane to his suite for lunch the next day.  Marisa was working in Caroline’s suite when she received the invitation and offered her some advice about what to wear for the occasion.  She steered her away from the white designer coat which Chris had seen on Marisa.

The “other Caroline Lane” is Invited to Dinner

Chris was shocked when the real Caroline showed up for lunch.  He asked his assistant, Jerry Siegel (Stanley Tucci) to find “the other Caroline Lane,” stating that he wanted her to accompany him to an important $2,500-a-plate dinner he was planning to attend.  Marisa’s friends on the hotel staff helped to prepare her for the evening by bringing her to the hotel hair dresser, finding a beautiful dress she could borrow, and allowing her to wear a diamond necklace and earring set from the hotel jewelry shop.

Marisa and Chris Hit it Off

Caroline Lane was at the dinner also, having purchased her own ticket to be seated at a table next to Chris Marshall.  She was forced to pay more for her single ticket than the going rate for a couple’s ticket.  Marisa wanted desperately to end the romance because she feared for her job.  Instead, she and Chris got along famously and she spent the night in his hotel room.  Unfortunately, Caroline Lane spotted Marisa as she slipped out of Chris’ room the next morning.

Marisa was called to the manager’s office that morning, and expected to be fired.  Instead, they were highly impressed with her management position application (which Stephanie had sent in without her knowledge).  They offered her a six-week training program after which she would step directly into a management position.

                                                               

Stanley Tucci

                                                                           Stanley Tucci                                                                                                                                                        Wikimedia 

Marisa is Fired from the Beresford Hotel

Caroline Lane spoke to the management and to Chris Marshall about Marisa borrowing her clothes and Marisa was fired from the Beresford Hotel.  She avoided Chris for some time after that.  She was able to secure a job as a hotel maid at the nearby Roosevelt Hotel.

Chris has a Press Conference at the Roosevelt

Ty found out that Chris was giving a press conference at the Roosevelt Hotel and went to listen to his talk.  When the audience was asked for follow-up questions, Ty had a question for Chris about forgiving people who made mistakes.  He made mention of Richard Nixon, the former President of the United States.  Jerry Siegel tried to cut Ty short, but Chris insisted that he be allowed to speak his peace.  He went down to shake Ty’s hand and noticed that Ty was holding a paper clip, as was Chris at the same time.

A Happy Ending

The film came to a speedy ending, showing newspaper clippings of Chris and Marisa’s wedding, and Chris’ election to the Senate.  Marisa was also shown in her uniform as a member of management at the Roosevelt Hotel.

I loved this film and advise anyone to see it who wants to be uplifted for two hours.  Everyone in the cast was superb, but I must give special mention to Tyler Posey (Ty) for his perfect portrayal of a very bright ten-year-old.

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