Directed by debutant filmmaker Fran Torres, ‘Under Her Control’ or La jefa’ (‘The Boss’) is a Netflix Spanish-language thriller film. The plot revolves around two women — self-made millionaire and fashion label owner Beatriz (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón) and ambitious Argentine immigrant Sofía (Cumelén Sanz). After being hired as an intern at Beatriz’s company, Sofía quickly proves her worth and becomes a permanent employee. However, she soon learns that she is pregnant. This poses a massive problem for Sofía. She doesn’t want to lose her job because of the pregnancy, nor does she has any desire to undergo an abortion. When Beatriz learns of this, she makes an unusual request to Sofía — when her child is born, Beatriz will assume all the responsibilities. After some consideration, Sofía agrees. She doesn’t tell Nacho, her boyfriend and the baby’s father, about any of this.
The two women subsequently sign a contract, and Sofía tells Nacho that she has to go to London for six months. In reality, Beatriz relocates her to her country house. However. The longer time Sofía spends in that house, the more she realizes that she has been kept like a prisoner. This eventually results in a bloody confrontation between her and the older woman. As a film, ‘Under Her Control’ explores themes such as immigration, immigrant exploitation, and surrogacy. If that has made you wonder whether ‘Under Her Control’ is inspired by actual events, we got you covered.
Is Under Her Control a True Story?
No, ‘Under Her Control’ isn’t based on a true story, though like any other great film, elements of truth are embedded into the film’s narrative. ‘Under Her Control’ has been developed from a script by Laura Sarmiento, known for her works in projects such as ’14 de abril. ‘La República’ and ‘Diablero.’
“The first thing that won me over about the script was the richness and the accuracy of the portrayal of these two lead characters, Beatriz and Sofía, and how their relationship encapsulates many of the tensions we see in today’s society, such as classism, ultraliberalism, feminism and surrogate mothers… They appear in the film right from the get-go,” Torres told Cineuropa. “It manages to capture all of these strains and stresses present in the public discourse without descending into clichés. Plus, both protagonists are unpredictable – they don’t fit into any of the predetermined templates that fiction often uses to portray female characters.”
Sánchez-Gijón echoed the sentiment of her director in an interview with eCartelera. “It wasn’t for us to judge our characters, but rather to understand their motivations and how they make them make the decisions they end up choosing, she said. “Initially, they are both convinced that they have made a deal that will benefit them.”
The ‘Parallel Mothers’ star also reflected on why female characters such as Sofía and Beatriz are important. “A change is taking place in the industry, it started a few years ago, but it still has to get better,” she explained. “We are going in the right direction, it is natural and it has been coming to us from other international markets. Half of the population has to be represented from their different realities and complexities and that means having main characters of different ages. In Spain, more stories of women who go outside the parameters are being produced. I just hope it continues.” Clearly, ‘Under Her Control isn’t based on a true story, but it’s perfectly understandable if someone thinks it is.