Make no mistake, the rich old man's nurse in Knives Out is no virginal ingénue. An attitude fully assumed by Ana de Armas, who plays the (main) role of Marta. Caught up in the torrent of the venal interests of a bourgeois family without scruples or tenderness, this young nurse is the key figure in Rian Johnson's latest film. But more than just a pretty face, the young woman stands out for her moral and pugnacious character. By accepting the role of this “pretty Latina caretaker” as she is described in the script, Ana de Armas suspected a role without depth, oscillating between sexism and barely disguised stereotypes. However, while the fragile appearance of this (not so) innocent young woman with a pronounced accent might lead to hasty conclusions, Marta is in reality a character far more complex than at first glance. Ana de Armas shines with her subtle and convincing acting, which earned her a nomination for the Golden Globes 2020.
For the 31-year old Cuban actress, embodying the lead character of a full-length feature film isn’t just about ego, but a reflection of the combat to rehabilitate Hispanic actors in rewarding roles. This should delight an American movie industry undermined by its own self (cf. the 2020 Oscar nominations). After starting her career in Spain, she arrived in Hollywood in 2015 for her role as Bel in Eli Roth’ movie Knock Knock – the man behind Cabin Fever (2002) and Hostel (2006). With Keanu Reeves as her victim, the curvaceous young woman, in a vulgar and malicious attack, punishes a married man incapable of resisting her charms. A character that's ultimately insignificant -just like the story - whose relief we fail to understand due to an excess of contradictions. But Hollywood, not always willing to admit the hypocrisy of a falsely feminist cinema, does know how to recognise a godsend when it sees one. Beautiful, talented, Hispanic and outspoken, Ana de Armas has everything to make it in an American movie system terrified of being reproached for racism.