The Nanny Diaries (2007)

There is a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia called Zunzi’s. It’s the kind of place that when you drive by it, you keep driving. Nondescript and low key come to mind.  It looks like a deli, but when you walk in there’s only around a four foot by twelve foot area for customers to stand while they order. No tables inside for eating……some outside tables. First clue that this is special is the line of people winding outside waiting to order. Second clue, the aromas of Swiss, Italian, South African, and Dutch foods traverse down your nostrils and grab onto every cell in your body, refusing to let go until some material substance has been matched to the fragrances. And third, your first mouthful of food.  Oh . . . my . . . goodness!

But, at first glance, you’d probably just drive-by. (sad sigh).

And so it goes with The Nanny Diaries. Watch the trailer, look at the DVD cover, and you’ll quickly forget it. (sad sigh).

This is a serious, well-made, and beautifully scripted movie. At first glance a simple story about a recent unemployed college graduate (Scarlett Johansson) who takes a job as a   nanny among the privileged inhabitants of New York’s upper east side. What follows is a study of parents and children. One, the hard-working mother (Donna Murphy) of the nanny who has sacrificed so much so that her daughter can get a college education and in turn a better life than she. And two, the mother (Laura Linney) of the nanny’s charge, Grayer (Nicolas Art) who sacrifices nothing for her son.

The funny moments are natural. The flights of fancy in the main character’s narration are just enough to be interesting, but not distracting. The script and performances ring true. And your heart will be broken and healed in one sitting.

So set aside your first reactions, sit down, take a deep breath, and take in this movie. (happy sigh).

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