Movie Notes: The Nanny Diaries
= 2 stars
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, Alicia Keys
Directed by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Recent college graduate Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johansson) isn’t sure what sort of career to pursue and ends up as an overworked nanny to Mrs. X (Laura Linney), taking care of young son Grayer.
- I can’t say I’m a big fan of Scarlett Johansson, even in the excellent Ghost World, Lost In Translation, and Match Point, but here, she actually impressed me, displaying a wide range of emotions and a particular sensitivity. Of course, she gets much help from the always reliable Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti as Mrs. and Mr. X, the offensively wealthy and essentially useless parents that employ Annie, whom they refer to only as “Nanny.” Mr. X is introduced in a very funny way, with his head hidden behind furniture, echoing his absenteeism as a father.
- I really enjoyed the outrageous differences between the uber-wealthy and the working class. Annie participates in a ridiculous Fourth of July costume party, a birthday with mimes, and a beach getaway where a wrinkly relative emerges as if from Grey Gardens.
- A few randomly bizarre touches like an umbrella that whisks Annie away, or the references to a natural history museum.
- Tries to take on too many subjects. In addition to class differences, we get sociology, a blossoming romance, and an artsy film style that seems to be mimicking Amelie or 8 1/2. Most of it doesn’t work.
- According to my better-read, better-half, the movie deviates significantly from the book.
- Obtrusive soundtrack music, bursting in at obvious moments.
Even with strong performances by the core trio of Johansson, Linney, and Giamatti, falls just short of even a passable rental. You’re probably better off nursing the book.
IMDB: The Nanny Diaries
Wikipedia: The Nanny Diaries
Rotten Tomatoes: The Nanny Diaries