by Jessica Krummacher
A foreigner, Fiona is hired as a maid and nanny by a middle-class family living in the Ruhr region, the Bauers: a father, mother, teenager daughter dating a boy older than Fiona and a small child. Daily life is marked by precise rules and rituals and seems to pass normally between the swimming pool, family meals, idling in the garden and short walks. Discipline is imposed and reasserted perpetually. Yet very soon the family members’ neuroses and anxieties emerge, and roles and boundaries become distorted. In particular, the mother, suffering from early menopause, takes out her frustration and rage by treating two dolls as actual newborns, while the father, who is often away on business, has a morbid interest in Fiona that becomes increasingly more evident and dangerous.