I had no idea what this film was about. I hadn’t even seen a poster. I assume a lot of you will be in the same boat so here goes: it’s about a couple who have just welcomed their third child (one of whom has an unmentioned disorder similar to autism, for drama) into the world and the mother is knackered, so they hire a night nanny so she can get some sleep. The night nanny is a young, confident go-getter who speaks slightly pretentiously (think Juno, and not just because Diablo Cody wrote both) and teaches the mother the real meaning of……sleep? I don’t know. I get it, a lot of people are going to like this film, personally, I didn’t. It’s not that it wasn’t a good film, it’s just such a personal story, but not one that engaged me personally. As such the things I would otherwise not mind, suddenly became huge problems for me. The adults who were speaking like pretentious movie teenagers just seemed really annoying and unrealistic. The one-scene characters who were just there to create conflict just made me think it was a waste of time. Actually, there’s a lot of waste in here. Infinity War was long, but it made those minutes count, almost every scene was needed. I can’t think of many scenes from that film where if you didn’t take them out, it wouldn’t make the film slightly less incoherent either in terms of story or character building. This is the opposite, it’s a lot shorter, but there’s more waste. In fact, I’d say there’s more waste than content. There are so many scenes here where if you cut them, it wouldn’t affect the movie at all, they’re that inconsequential, which, for a film that’s only just over 90 minutes long, is a terrible indicator. It’s the sign of screenwriting fluff (and trust me, if there’s anybody who knows about screenwriting fluff, it’s me, it’s my bread and butter, and black pudding, and sausages, and beans, and *checks word count* bacon, and eggs, and tomatoes and now I’m hungry).
Also the ending. It’s not quite as bad as Truth Or Dare, but it’s the kind of ending which you’ll either love or hate, I was not a fan. Mainly because I don’t think it earned it. It tries to be clever with a twist, but it just feels kind of cheap and doesn’t even provide a pleasing “aha!” scene. THAT’S what makes a great twist ending, that specific moment where a character in the film, and thereby the audience pieces it all together. Think of that scene in The Usual Suspects where you finally find out who it is, or the “where do you think we are?” scene from Scrubs. The entire ending could be summed up in that one moment, that’s the “wham” scene, where you marvel at the brilliance of it all. This doesn’t really do that, it just provides lots of little things in quick succession, so it means we don’t have that glorious memorable moment, to the point where I’m not entirely sure everybody in the screen I was in got what happened. Actually, I know they didn’t, as I overheard people’s discussions as they were leaving.
There’s no way to discuss this without actually saying what the ending is so here goes (spoiler warning): the night nanny she hired doesn’t exist and is a figment of the main character’s imagination, she’s imagining a younger version of her. It’s narratively unsatisfying and asks more questions than it answers. Specifically; what happened to the actual nanny then? It wasn’t ordered by her, her brother said he’ll pay for it and get it organised etc. It’s mentioned to him that they now have a night nanny, and he doesn’t respond “Well let me know the costs and I’ll cover it”, or “so when you order one it’s fine yet you refuse mine? What the fuck?” Or even “Where from?”. It’s just kind of frustrating. Which is a shame as there are some things to like in this, Charlize Theron is outstanding as always, she just throws herself into every character and it’s superb to see. Some of the dialogue will definitely cause a chuckle (although there are moments where the dialogue is written in a way that you’re reminded it’s a movie because it seems so fake), and the soundtrack is pretty damn cool as well. It’s just a shame it never really clicked for me. I think that’s the main flaw, I didn’t personally click with it, and I felt I should have. Which meant its flaws annoyed me more than it should, and the good things didn’t hit as much as they should.