Jean-Louis (played by Fabrice Luchini) is a stockbroker in Paris in the early 1960’s, with a conservative life, a conservative wife Suzanne (by Sandrine Kiberlain) and two sons at boarding school. They live on one floor of an apartment building owned by Jean-Louis. The family do little to manage the house on a day to day basis – they hire a maid who, along with many other french families’ maids, lives in “service staff” quarters on the sixth floor of the same building. Many Spanish women are looking for work in Paris around this time because they have fled Franco’s oppressive regime in Spain. The family hire Maria (by Natalia Verbeke), who soon shows her worth and settles in to the household. Jean-Louis is fascinated by Maria and her friends on the sixth floor and becomes transfixed with their love of life and joy in living. He slowly becomes more and more involved in their lives as he realises his own lifestyle is quite staid and lacking in real passion.
This is an enjoyable, light-hearted movie – the characters are fun and the story is delightful as Jean-Louis discovers there are more things to life than work and money. I enjoyed it.