Friday Night Movie: The Nanny
In honour of "Women in Horror" Month, I present the first ever Friday Night Movie that is not about my nostalgia for the 80s.
0:05 I had something like this in a playground near my house when I was growing up. This kind of takes me back, which is a nice way to begin . . .
0:11 And now I wonder whether it takes everyone else back as well, since it's clearly the sort of "dangerous" playground equipment we're supposed to be protecting children from these days.
0:56 Is anyone else thinking of Mary Poppins now?
3:37 Take note! A son has been mentioned, but not the daughter in the pictures.
4:03 We're all straining to hear what's being said and to make sense of the family situation, but the nanny has either heard it all before or decided it's not her drama--or both!
4:23 And at least somebody cares about the boy coming home . . .
5:28 He's been in that place quite long enough! Oh, whatever was wrong that they had to send a little boy away from home for two years???
5:46 But, Nanny, I don't want him home. And the look on Nanny's face following that confession is the reason Bette Davis won two Oscars and was nominated for ten.
5:58 I can't seem to manage anymore! When two women are sharing a home and one of them is breaking down because she can't seem to do anything right, you'll know that the other has declared full psychological warfare.
7:47 Ooooooooooh! Are these terrible mood swings or is her "woman's intuition" trying to tell her something?
9:03 At home where he is loved. Why don't his "loving" parents fill me with much confidence?
9:19 And why does this expert on children's normal and abnormal "mental fantasies" fill me with dread?
0:08 You know by now that young Joey is the key to everything, don't you?
0:27 I know he isn't dead because of what I've just typed . . .
0:42 . . . and because I've seen Heathers! =P
1:46 Your son . . . seems to have an inborn antipathy towards middle-aged females. And what does that diagnosis tell you, sir?!?!?
2:56 After I know the whole story, I'll want to look at the close ups of their faces again.
3:37 Nanny is the backseat driver of the entire family, isn't she? Crafty!
4:33 She's also the face you see over your shoulder every time you look in the mirror. Bwahahahahaha!
5:28 It's shameful to admit it at my age, but when my mother claims my bed because a guest needs to use my mattress, that is EXACTLY what I do with my sheets (and with my face) while scouting the house for another place to sleep.
7:10 I'm starting to feel a little sorry for the mother. She thinks it's all her fault. (The nanny is such an operator.)
8:16 Before this live blog is over, I'll have something scathing to say about "mod" parents, who seem to have nothing over their "hipster" counterparts.
8:40 If the stodgy father thinks that music is bad, wait until he meets his grandchildren in the 80s! ;-)
9:21 She has been with the family that bloody long??? And only Joey has ever hated her???
9:23 I know you don't need her, but your mother does. Well, of course. Nanny never "weaned" the poor woman, did she?
9:50 Will you sack her, then? But she didn't have much success with this boy. He won't even beat around the bush.
2:06 Do you remember when we were children? We were always going to marry someone important. And why not? "Helpmeet" to an important man is an excellent career, if you can find such a fellow. ;-)
2:18 After all the damage to families I've seen from women who think that something is wrong with their marriages but can't quite put their finger on what it is, I don't really want to scream at this woman to wake up and smell the disaster that is her home . . . but that is what she needs to do in this case, isn't it? (How 60s, aye? ;-) Of course, if this movie were remade today, the mother would have a nice career and still be all lost, so all is fair.)
2:48 Then there was the accident . . . Ooooh! An "accident"!
2:59 The entire saying is, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." I like the aunt; she hits the nail on the head without even knowing it.
4:06 Didn't I get it right about the mirrors?!?!?!
4:35 Nanny cooked it especially for your homecoming. Now we know why he wasn't eating two years ago. These sorts of hunger strikes are hard for children, though.
5:24 I just realised whom Joey reminds me of: Paul McCartney! LOL!!!
6:46 Okay, I'm convinced. She's a psycho.
7:50 Now, or I won't have a bath! And he's a survivor.
8:41 Adults dealing with an irrational child are usually happy to humour him and wink at each other over his head. The mother is scared because she knows Joey is not irrational.
9:14 Wow. She really can't do anything for herself any longer, can she?
0:06 It must be very important or else they wouldn't have sent him. It would be crazy to accuse Nanny of masterminding the trip as well, but I'm paranoid now.
1:15 If he wants to prove he doesn't need a nanny to look after him, he's doing an excellent job. Go, Joey!
1:21 Yes, that's right, Nanny. He's working to make you obsolete.
2:07 What are you doing out here? More to the point, what are you doing in the story? I didn't expect you, young woman, and I don't know what part you're going to play.
2:32 Ah, fags! ;-)
4:52 OMG!!! Did you see her eyes?!?!?! =O
6:09 Master Joey has accused me of trying to poison him again. If you thought he'd break after two years in that place, Nanny, you miscalculated. Go, Joey!
6:22 Believe it or not, I actually remember milk in glass bottles. We didn't have a milkman, though.
7:17 Now it's like a game! Spot the homicidal nut!
8:49 The truth is that all we really have to go by is Joey's attitude. Nanny really could be "all right."
0:09 And if Nanny is all right and Joey is the worst brat in the world, then I truly sympathise. But that's a big IF.
0:43 Oh, Lord, that scares me so . . . =S
1:15 In other news, that hairstyle is starting to drive me crazy.
2:44 That's what I'm here for: to look after all of you. There's a similar creepy line in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. We're not supposed to be reassured that a woman who is not our mother is looking after us while our mother is still alive.
3:09 Master Joey has been rooting around in my medicine chest! If we assume that she's telling the truth, then we know Joey was looking for poison. If we assume that she's lying, then we can say she's setting him up to take the fall for something.
4:40 Oh, I feel for the poor pie! It looks so delicious.
4:46 And he was so happy to see his mother when he first arrived home. =( That was when he thought she'd be acting like a mother.
5:18 But as we can see, she's acting like an infant.
5:56 Okay, who saw that coming? ;-)
6:33 I like the way the children have a "backroom" existence.
6:41 Now here comes another adult. Sigh! We might never solve this case.
7:28 Did she plant it, Joey, or were you hiding it so that she couldn't use it?
7:52 They just assume it's his fault, don't they? The problem is that it's a perfectly reasonable assumption.
9:20 I still like the aunt. I'm hoping she'll be the key to the older generation's share of the mystery.
0:04 There's some sleeping pills in my case . . . They're just making it easy now, aren't they?
0:16 Can I sleep with you tonight? . . . No, you can't. I admit that if I were in the aunt's place, I'd give the same answer, to be loosely translated as, "Whatever it is, kid, get over it!"
1:12 What an awful editing choice! He should have dropped the playing pieces right after Nanny offers to make his aunt some hot chocolate.
1:51 Here we are again with the bathroom--the scariest part of any home.
2:41 Didn't we just see him put them away? Is this a blooper?
3:13 Oh, God, I'd be screaming if someone woke me up like that.
3:24 Ah, it happened to you, too, Penelope?
4:55 Someone please tell him that nobody believes him because he comes across as a little sociopath.
5:15 Notice that when they first meet, he tells her she's not a very good liar. Now she's returning the favour. And the question for us is whether she is also right.
5:51 The filmmakers do nothing to make him look younger, but never mind. A good story makes up for all technical shortcomings.
6:52 Awwww, poor Susie! =(
9:03 The clandestine outing didn't go well? Look at that body language.
9:28 Well, if this doesn't make you open the shower curtains properly before turning on the water, nothing will!
0:22 So far, it has been a flashback to an awful accident that both Joey and Nanny share the blame for indirectly . . . but it's not murder or anything.
0:36 She said . . . I pushed Susie in the bath and run away and hid. Yet something is wrong if Nanny had to lie about it.
1:16 It's an x-ray!!! =D LOL!
1:50 Oh, blimey, I'm scared again.
2:13 RUN, JOEY, RUN! (Just like in the cheesy song . . .)
2:33 That's right! The old one-two!
3:30 After that fright, this indifference is deadening.
3:39 He went down without a fight?!?!?! He must really be resigned.
4:27 Oh, my dear boy, they took your key! =(
6:10 When he said he was good with knots, he wasn't kidding!
8:12 Caught red handed!!!
8:48 I thought we'd have more of a scuffle over the milk and the tea, but it seems that Nanny chooses her battles.
9:29 "Overlay"? Currently the three scariest syllables in the English language.
9:47 What happened in the bathroom, Nanny? At last!!!
0:03 I love that you're turning out to be the warrior princess I knew you were, Penelope, but remember that you have a weak heart!
0:16 Oh, no! Not the pillow!
1:05 Penelope, if you must die, can't you at least take her out with you?
1:36 Crikey! This is the stuff of nightmares. =S
1:50 Forget Bette Davis eyes! Now she has really scary feet.
2:10 I just realised that if Penelope dies, no one may ever believe poor Joey.
2:31 You're just making it easier for her "to overlay" you, Penelope, throwing yourself across the bed that way.
2:41 Back to the eyes, which are two bottomless pools of evil here.
4:31 EYES! But not Bette's!
5:19 Curiouser and curiouser . . .
7:20 You were too busy looking after other people's children, weren't you? Some mothers have no other choice but to find work as nannies, but it's still incredibly damning when they are called to account for it.
7:40 She couldn't bear the thought of bringing up a . . . baby the way she was brought up. I wonder how many universally understood ways there are of indirectly calling a woman a bad mother.
7:56 So there's more than one dead child in Nanny's past.
8:29 In all fairness, the daughter's mistake is not the mother's fault . . . although we seem to think a good mother should feel sorry and blame herself.
9:15 I do feel for Nanny here. (Who wouldn't?)
9:56 And the stories intersect at last.
0:37 Can you imagine what it must have done to Nanny to see Susie like that so soon after hearing about the deaths of her own daughter and her daughter's unborn baby? =(
0:51 AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I activated "Full Screen Mode" by mistake and got a close up of Nanny!!!!!
2:50 I'm kind of surprised at Nanny's decision. . . . Let's see how it plays out.
3:42 The knots are holding fast, but they're not worth much if everything else in the room is going to prove so easy to budge.
4:01 I don't believe it! He couldn't even barricade the door properly!
4:05 Please tell me you have a weapon under your pillow, Joey!
4:53 You crazy old lady! You don't even know you're crazy, do you? Crazy people never do.
5:32 Did you really think this would go without a hitch?
5:50 BITE HER NOW, JOEY!
6:22 After all that . . . she found she loved him too much. =( But now he will never love her. How sad is that?
7:21 And maybe none of the children she ever cared for loved her back. Remember that in the great tradition of governess literature, these women are often more sinned against than sinning.
7:47 I hardly recognise this woman. Is she the same mother who didn't want her son home?
8:38 One last question: if this is a happy ending, why is the music in a freaky minor key?
I started this live blog prepared to point out why nannies make great Gothic villains. Step-mothers are too "folk literature;" nannies are the anti-mothers of readers who fancy themselves too sophisticated for fairy tales.
But there is more to nannies than the resentment they earn for being there when one's real mothers are absent--or as in this case, for being mothers absent from their own children's lives. And there are no judges, juries and executioners better than children when it comes to making sure no good deed goes unpunished.
I'd write more, but it's really late and I'm getting sleepy!
Thank you for watching with me. I'd love to hear your own thoughts on the movie in the combox--especially whose side you were on at the beginning, and whether anything changed. I obviously sided with Joey all the way, but I seem to be in the minority on the Internet. And that's odd, considering that I'm more like Nanny in real life. Scary eyes and all. ;-)