Little Movies I Love: The Nanny Diaries

Before they were Black Widow and Captain America, Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans were co-stars in this little movie about a young woman right out of college who takes a job as a nanny for a very wealthy Manhattan family. Full of clichés and stereotypes, it is extremely satisfying for that very reason.

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Stereotype #1:  Our fearless heroine, Annie (Johansson), is a college graduate having trouble finding a more “important” job, so she takes the nanny position just to earn money until she decides what to do with her life.  She is pretty and bright and down-to-earth, all refreshing characteristics to attract…

Stereotype #2  The Harvard Hottie (Evans) who lives upstairs is kind and handsome and totally out of reach, a rich young man who could never be really interested in a girl from New Jersey.  Turns out he has his own story, and it’s possible a down-to-earth girl is exactly what he needs.

Stereotype #3:  At the center of our story is the “Spoiled Brat,” Grayer, who really just needs time, attention and love.  He is a handful, no doubt, and she has no experience with children, except that she has been one, and she knows that children need to play.  His mom wants him to speak French and go to the Guggenheim, but Annie thinks he needs to go to the Museum of Natural History on the subway, eat snow cones and peanut butter, and make forts with blankets.

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Stereotype #4: Annie is employed by a rich society woman (Laura Linney) who has little time for her child, but absolutely uncompromising rules for his care.  Her child eats only a high soy, organic diet.  He can only go to museums and art galleries for recreation, except for prearranged play dates with carefully vetted playmates.  She spends all of her time shopping, relaxing at spas, or involved in properly appropriate organizations. She is demanding, condescending and at times cruel.

Stereotype #5: Husband/dad (Paul Giamatti) is constantly absent due to his high pressure job.  He has little time for his family, even when he is home, and gives his wife a slightly sympathetic aspect to her character as she constantly tries to please him only to be ignored.  He is, of course a philanderer, a source of passionately charged fights between them to further isolate their son.

Stereotypes are not always a bad thing; in fact they can be downright fun.  That is this movie: great, satisfying fun and well worth a couple of hours on a Saturday night.

Nanny Diaries

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