What we’re obsessed with right now: ‘Maid’

A woman standing in a cluttered room
Margaret Qualley in Netflix’s “Maid”

San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.

What I’m obsessed with: “Maid,” a miniseries starring Margaret Qualley that was released on Netflix last month. The 10-episode drama is inspired by the bestselling memoir “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land, who worked as an executive producer on the show.

Why? This heartbreaking series tells the story of Alex (Qualley, who you might remember as Pussycat in “Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood”) in the wake of leaving her alcoholic boyfriend Sean (Nick Robinson) after an incident of domestic abuse. Daughter Maddy in tow, Alex flees their shared trailer and attempts to build a new life — only to be faced with one hurdle after another. All the odds seem stacked against her as Alex is forced to navigate a complex legal system, welfare programs, and the paradox of needing a job to secure shelter, but needing a residence to land a job.

Heavy hitter: This is not a light-hearted watch. Though the show centers on domestic violence and poverty, it also touches on topics like complicated relationships, abandonment and mental illness. And while the based-on-a-true-story plot is devastating on its own, the actors’ emotionally-charged performances (especially from Qualley) will leave you shattered. I cried in every episode — mostly out of desperation for Alex to catch a break, but occasionally there were some happy tears, too.

Did you know: Longtime actress Andie MacDowell plays Qualley’s flighty, unpredictable mother and their complicated mother/daughter dynamic felt so authentic on screen. Turns out the two are actually related in real life. But before you go calling nepotism, Qualley’s acting chops (which earned her a Emmy nomination for the FX miniseries “Fosse/Verdon”) prove she is a leading lady in her own right.

Bad timing: Sandwiched between the debut of survival drama “Squid Game” (Sept. 17) and the third season of psychological thriller “You” (Oct. 15), I think “Maid” fell through the cracks with its Oct. 1 release date. If the series was also off your radar, consider this a sign to add it to your Netflix queue ASAP. Just be sure to grab the tissues.

The 10-episode miniseries “Maid” is available to stream on Netflix.