Good Madam – Filled with Uneasy Tension
Director: Jenna Cato Bass
Writer: Babalwa Baartman, Jenna Cato Bass, Chumisa Cosa (Screenplay)
Cast: Chumisa Cosa, Nosipho Mtebe, Kamvalethu Jonas Raziya, Sanda Shandu, Khanyiso Kenqa
Plot: An eerie psychological thriller about Tsidi, who is forced to move in with her estranged mother. A live-in domestic worker caring obsessively for her catatonic white ‘Madam’ in the wealthy Cape Town suburbs. Tsidi tries to heal her family, the ‘spectre’ of ‘Madam’ begins to stir.
Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Good Madam starts as Tsidi (Cosa), and her daughter Winnie (Raziya) move in with her mother Mavis (Mtebe). Mavis is a live in worker for a strict Madam. Setting out the rules, Tsidi prepares Winnie for what the home environment will be like.
The longer Tsidi spends in the home, the stranger she starts feeling. Seeing things around the home, hearing noises and dealing with personal matters. Tsidi is left in a position of needing to know the truth, to keep her daughter safe.
Thoughts on Good Madam
Characters & Performances
Tsidi is the loving mother, wanting to make sure her daughter is safe. She is forced to move in with her domestic worker mother. In a strange home, where she can be given a role around the home. She starts seeing things around the home, things that shouldn’t be there. Diving her into an uncertain mindset, as she starts to wonder what is real or not. Becoming suspicious of the owner of the home, the bedridden woman.
Mavis is Tsidi’s mother, who has been working in this house for years. She has cared for Madam, kept the home clean, keeping to herself for the most part of her days. Aware of the situation, that is something happens to Madam, she will become homeless. She will do anything to make sure the Madam stays healthy.
Winnie is the daughter that is trying to remain strong for her mother. Remaining in school, happy to be around her mother and her love.
The Madam is the mysterious woman, the owner of the home. Locked away behind a forbidden door. The bell rings for Mavis to see what she wants, otherwise the mystery about her is the driving force for the story.
The performances are strong. Chumisa Cosa in the leading role, brings the desperate to be independent woman to life. Showing how she starts to question everything she knows. Nosipho Mtebe as the mother is great, because she shows the routine her character has become trapped in.
The story follows a single mother moving in with her domestic worker mother to rebuild. It doesn’t take long before she starts seeing things around the home, questing her own sanity around the events. Becoming curious about the owner of the home and the connection she has with her own mother.
Sending us into a world of uncertainty, we are left with a story that is filled with tension. One that is looking to surprise us with every scene. Reflecting the disturbing reality of following in our parent’s footsteps of mediocrity in employment. The strange thing about this story, is that you could see parallels with ‘Parasite’. With the family doing everything they can to keep this world around them.
Good Madam is a tension riddled horror, that makes every scene feel uneasy. Even within the beautiful home, nothing ever feels comfortable within the walls. We might not get the pure scares, as focusing on the tension the primary here. Showing real unease in everyday life.
Final Thoughts – Good Madam is an uneasy thriller, that keeps us guessing throughout.