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Maid in Manhattan / Last Holiday

Four maids dancing and laughing.
September 25, 2022 - 7:00 pm
Q&A with filmmaker Wayne Wang, L.A. Times writer Mark Olsen.

Maid in Manhattan

U.S., 2002

Marisa Ventura (Jennifer Lopez) is a struggling single mom who works at a posh Manhattan hotel and dreams of a better life for her and her young son (Tyler Posey). One fateful day, hotel guest and senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) meets Marisa and mistakes her for a wealthy socialite. After an enchanting evening together, the two fall madly in love. But when Marisa's true identity is revealed, issues of class and social status threaten to separate them. Can two people from very different worlds overcome their differences and live happily ever after?

35mm, color, in English, French and Spanish with English subtitles, 105 min. Director: Wayne Wang. Screenwriter: Kevin Wade. With: Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Stanley Tucci. Print courtesy of the Directors Guild of America collection at UCLA.

Last Holiday

U.S., 2006

“To describe the plot is to miss the point, because this plot could have been made into countless movies not as funny and charming as this one.”—Roger Ebert, 2006

Teaming again with Giancarlo Esposito to show off their honed comedic chops, Wayne Wang’s next studio film after Because of Winn Dixie for Paramount makes for the perfect hotel-set double bill with Maid in Manhattan, doubling down by working with rapper-turned-actress Queen Latifah in a role that suits her comedic timing and grounded confidence in the same vein as Maid in Manhattan suits Lopez’s. As for the plot, in which Georgia Byrd’s (Latifah) terminal illness diagnosis leads her to sell all her possessions to live out her remaining days at a posh hotel: “I've always been fascinated by the idea of living for the moment, as if every single day counts,” Wang said in an interview in 2006. “It's something I've attempted to explore both in my work and personal life probably with equal amounts of success and failure.”

35mm, color, in English and French with English subtitles, 112 min. Director: Wayne Wang. Screenwriters: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman. Cinematographer: Geoffrey Simpson. Editor: Deirdre Slevin. With: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Giancarlo Esposito, Gérard Depardieu. Print courtesy of the Directors Guild of America collection at UCLA.