“Under Her Control,” or “La Jefa” in native Spanish, is an intriguing and somewhat disturbing tale of two women who make an agreement between themselves that gradually sours their relationship. Despite there not being anything spectacular in either the plot or the execution, the film does hold its ground for the most part, as the unnerving distrust between the two characters is successfully emoted. While it can be argued that the film’s climax lets it down, with action watering down the drama, what “Under Her Control” offers is not too bad and makes for an entertaining watch.
‘Under Her Control’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Sofia is a young woman living in Madrid with her boyfriend, Nacho, struggling to have a good life as both of them still have no professional stability. While Nacho works for a real estate agency trying to save up money to start his own business in the same field, Sofia does not yet work and only receives a call for an interview at the beginning of the film. The two have enough love and sparking chemistry between them, though, as Sofia often goes over to the empty apartments Nacho shows to potential buyers to have sessions of romance. Nacho expresses some desire to return to their native South America, as being a real estate manager in Colombia is easier and more profitable than in Spain, but Sofia quashes these discussions every time, reminding him that she did not leave Argentina only to go back. She is, therefore, understandably excited to receive the call for an interview, especially at a clothing brand where she has always wanted to work. She also does not forget to thank God for the chance to visit her church before she goes to the interview. At the fashion company, she is hired as an intern assistant to the woman who runs the whole business, Beatriz.
All goes very well for Sofia, as she enjoys her new job and also often takes up responsibilities on her own, grabbing Beatriz’s attention. She is even seen to make decisions about the fashion side of things, and not the business side, as she has been hired to do, and Beatriz approves of her choices as well. Her relationship with Nacho also goes well, as he is hopeful that she would lead potential clients to his agency since she would now be rubbing shoulders with rich crowds. However, all this takes a quick and sharp turn when Sofia finds out that she is pregnant. Although not entirely averse to the idea of becoming a mother, she knows that now is the worst time financially for her and Nacho to become parents. Sofia tries to think of getting an abortion, and tries to seek validation from her religion, as she tells of her wish inside the confession chamber. This does not (obviously) work, as the priest only says that killing an unborn baby is the worst thing a human can do, and the religious Sofia is even more confused. Perhaps fearing that telling Nacho about the news would make him happy and he would want to keep it irrespective of their difficult financial situation, she does not tell her boyfriend anything. Instead, it is Beatriz who she opens up to, telling her about the pregnancy and asking for advice. The boss, Beatriz, who had still been looking for love through a series of casual hookups, agrees to help Sofia and presents a strange proposition.
What Is The Agreement That Sofia And Beatriz Make Between Themselves?
The aging Beatriz had been looking forward to starting a family of her own for quite some time, but the pressure of running a company could never give her the time to go about doing it. Now that Sofia has told her whole situation to Beatriz, she decides to make use of this opportunity to get herself a successor. She tells Sofia that her new job at the company will not be affected at all, for she would take the employee under her wing and care, and since Sofia did not really want the baby, Beatriz would take it after its birth. The elder woman also discusses this entire idea with her gynecologist best friend and her husband, who has dealings with the law, and the two also give their consent to it. Finally, Beatriz presents the whole plan to Sofia and also tells her that all her needs during her pregnancy would be taken care of as she would be moved into Beatriz’s sprawling house just outside the city. Although Sofia knows that agreeing to such a plan would mean that she would have to go away from her beloved Nacho, she also realizes that it is the only way to deal with her situation.
Where “Under Her Control” works its charm is in the fact that both the central characters are equally opportunistic and ready to manipulate their situations for the sake of their own benefit. While Beatriz makes use of the situation her new employee is facing, Sofia, on the other hand, makes use of her boss’ wish to become a mother. When Sofia sits down with Beatriz and her two friends to talk about the deal, she is quick to ask for double the already-high compensation that she was getting to essentially become a surrogate mother, and she also demands two paid trips to her native Argentina. She then signs the official document, which poses her as the surrogate mother willing to give her newborn baby to the other party, Beatriz, before she even informs Nacho about any of this. She returns to Nacho, who still has no idea about her pregnancy, and tells him that she has been offered a promotion at her job, for which she would have to spend the next few months in London. The boyfriend does not agree to such a proposition, saying that he did not want to be away from her for so long, but then learns that Sofia has already agreed to it. Later on, it is also revealed that all the academic qualifications that Sofia had talked about during her interview at Beatriz’s company were false as well, and that the woman had only made it all up to get the job.
Next, Beatriz drives Sofia to her house and sets her up there for the next few months of lavish living. While Beatriz drives away every day to her office, Sofia is left mostly alone with only a Vietnamese domestic helper named Tati. Although Sofia initially enjoys her days here, walking around the big house and its compound, which even has a gym and a swimming pool inside, she gradually starts to feel something is off. Looking around inside the house, she finds hidden security cameras with live feed transmission on, meaning that Beatriz was keeping an eye on her even when she was alone at the house. Sofia confronts her boss about it and tells her to remove all these cameras from the inside, and Beatriz seems to accept her wish, although the security cameras outside are left operational. However, something more sinister seems to be in the works when, right after her confrontation about the cameras, Sofia’s phone goes missing. The phone had been the only means of communicating with the outside world, especially with Nacho, who believed Sofia was in London. Sofia realizes that she is literally cut off from the outside world, especially because Tati also does not have a phone of her own. When Beatriz is told of this, she promises to bring Sofia a new phone, but she takes an alarmingly long number of days to deliver on her promise. Before that, she lets Sofia once talk to Nacho on her iPad, and the young woman breaks down seeing her lover, but cannot really say anything about her situation.
Sofia had earlier seen Tati go up to a locked room on the top floor of the house as part of her cleaning duties, and she now makes an effort to know what is inside it. She manages to express her wish to Tati, who speaks only her native language, and enters the room to see that Beatriz has been setting up the room for the baby. As the baby had been earlier identified to be a boy by her gynecologist friend, Beatriz had even labeled everything in the room with the name of her forthcoming baby, Carlos. However, while this is not explored anymore in the film, the room arguably looks too decorated and planned out for a baby that was still months away, and at first glance, it even looks like a room that had earlier been used to rear a baby. It might also seem that hiring a young woman like Sofia could also have been Beatriz’s plan to somehow get herself a child. A few days later, Sofia sees that Tati is no longer in the house, and all the pictures of her family that she had put up on the wall in her room are also gone. It might be perceived as Tati’s punishment for having shown Sofia the room upstairs, or it might even be that Beatriz was somehow manipulating Tati into working for her as well, and had now let her go because she needed Sofia to be alone in the house. Going through Beatriz’s closet, Sofia finds some more suspicious elements—a few strands of hair carefully packed away and a small empty urn-like thing.
Around this same time, Beatriz also starts acting very dominating and controlling over Sofia, and she does not care much when Sofia complains about her discomfort. One afternoon, when Beatriz is away, Sofia tries climbing over the main gate to escape the house, but is ultimately struck down by the electric fences, and Beatriz rushes back home after seeing it on her security camera footage. At the same time that she comes to her house, a distraught and desperate Nacho goes over to her office in search of her missing girlfriend. For quite a few days now, Nacho had been unable to reach Sofia or talk to her except for the one time she had called him from Beatriz’s iPad. Fearing that something might be wrong with her, he had checked in with the company’s London branch and had learned that Sofia had never been there. Realizing that Beatriz might be the one responsible for her situation, she now goes to her office and manages to get hold of her house address. In the meantime, Beatriz had been informed about the man’s presence in her office, and when she drives out to go meet him at her office, Nacho drives down to her house. He rings the doorbell, and a drugged Sofia answers him, but she is unable to open the door and only asks him to inform the police. Getting no mobile network at the place, Nacho tries going around the house in order to call the police. However, on her way to her office, Beatriz learns that Nacho has left the place, possibly towards her house, and she now makes a quick return to her countryside house.
‘Under Her Control’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Nacho, Sofia, And Beatriz?
As Beatriz drives back to her house, she sees Nacho on the private dirt road leading to the place, and she runs him over, killing him instantly. She then sees the boyfriend’s car and goes to dispose of it somewhere, only returning home late in the evening. By this time, Sofia had tried shouting for help but had gotten no response, and when Beatriz returned, they both pretended like nothing unusual had happened. Realizing that Sofia was now at her most unstable mind, Beatriz tells her that her doctor friend would perform a C-section operation on her the very next day. Although Sofie does not react too much to this news, she realizes that her time is up, for she believes that Beatriz would kill her after the baby is delivered. Later that night during dinner, Sofia violently hits Beatriz with a wooden rolling pin, terribly injuring her, and holds her captive inside the house. She also suspects that her boss might have harmed her boyfriend since Nacho did not return, and repeatedly stabs Beatriz to make her reveal what she has done to him. Beatriz does not let anything out though, and she instead tries to tell Sofia how she would most definitely let her go after she delivered the baby. The next morning, Sofia takes all the money and jewelry that she can find inside the house, and also the contract that she had signed to give up her baby, and is about to leave the place when she sees that Beatriz is missing from the spot she had been held captive. It is Beatriz who now attacks Sofia, but the young woman pulls out a pair of decorative scissors (ironically, a prize that Beatriz had won for her work in fashion) and stabs Beatriz to death. In a bloodied condition with tearful eyes, Sofia leaves the house and walks through the dirt road alone when her water breaks, indicating that she is soon about to give birth.
The two characters in “Under Her Control” both are equally devilish and with possible ill-intentions. While it is very much possible that Beatriz was indeed planning to kill Sofia, the fact that Sofia goes to the extent of killing her also speaks about how she is. Both women are ready to do just about anything to get their wishes and desires fulfilled. It is the distrust that the two gradually, or perhaps from the very get-go, develop for each other that ultimately makes both of them lash out at each other in their own ways. Whether Beatriz had any other dark past is not dealt with in the film, and it doesn’t really matter much because of what is offered instead. “Under Her Control” mostly holds on to the initial intrigue, and a major part of it is due to the performances of Cumelen Sanz and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon in the lead roles.
“Under Her Control” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Fran Torres.