Madame is determined to break up the romance. It's like she has become a Judas in the life of kind, lovable maid.
I agree about those two performances. I'll also admit that there are tropes in this upper class/lower class comedy we've seen in Merchant Ivory films and imported programs on PBS. But Rossy de Palma won me over as soon as she professed to be worried because she's pear-shaped. I loved her vibrant scene at the dinner table. I loved seeing the maid being treated like a first class citizen. Rossy de Palma's performance kept me interested in this 90-minute feature.
Yes, there are stereotypes in MADAME. Critics were lukewarm to the movie. However, critics raved about Woody Allen's MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (2011). I watched that recently and felt like I'd already seen it. The lead actor, Owen Wilson in this one, was stuttering and stammering like Woody Allen. The romance that seems to have become "a dead shark," the mentions of great literature, the loser who proves to know more than the show-off intellectual, the love of Cole Porter -- I felt like Woody Allen gave us leftovers from his other films, placed them on fancy lettuce surrounded by slices of new cheese of a silver platter, and the critics ate it up. To me, MADAME felt fresher. Have we ever seen a story like this in one of the many Hollywood films about a black maid who works for rich white folks here in America? Nope.
If you've never seen Rossy de Palma in a Pedro Almodóvar film, check out his LAW OF DESIRE (1987), WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (1988) or KIKA (1993) to start.