There’s no stress quite like holiday stress. Familiar routines are broken, journeys undertaken, and you have to try to coordinate plans with a lot of other people who are just as stressed as you are. That isn’t even getting into the worries about what gifts to buy and how to keep everyone happy with the food selection. With all this going on and more, it’s no surprise that there can be a lot of tension mixed in with the joy of seeing loved ones again, as evidenced by the short film The Maids Will Come on Monday.
This is the latest from (writer-director) Harley Chamandy, the filmmaker behind The Last Act of Joey Jumbler. Here the focus is on a well-to-do family gathering together to celebrate the spirit of the season, though from the very first something about that spirit is more than a little frayed around the edges. Julianne (Anana Rydvald) can’t seem to say anything right to her expectant daughter Chloe (Charlotte Legault), while the hosts of the party (Julianne’s sister Christine and her husband Henry) are apparently trying to get through the evening as quickly and quietly as possible. Julianne’s husband Craig (Charlie Ebbs) just seems to be trying to drink everything quickly and quietly.
When the tension finally breaks, it explodes, and more of the truth than anyone’s really comfortable with comes spilling out. As in Joey Jumbler, Chamandy shows us a realistic glimpse of vulnerable families — the backdrop is different, but the heart of this story is something we can all relate to. Like life, the film offers no easy solutions. We can’t be sure which direction any of the characters will go or whether things will ever quite be the same for any of them, but the film creates a masterful portrait of a family at a crossroads, with a chance to either change things for the better — or fall right back into the same comfortable yet destructive habits.