The Nanny Diaries

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Nanny Diaries Movie Poster Image
Where's Mary Poppins when you need her?
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 105 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Family members lie to one another, and class differences lead to tension and judgment. The Xs aren't exactly involved, emotionally connected parents.

Violence

A little boy kicks his new nanny in the shins; some other pratfall-type moments.

Sex

The movie's opening fantasy includes a museum diorama of a pole dancer, Annie's thong is visible when Grayer pulls down her pants, and her cleavage is highly visible when she wears a Betsy Ross costume for the Fourth of July. Mrs. X shows Annie a sexy slip. Rowdy college boys say that dating a nanny is "so porno!" Some kissing in a hallway, followed by a crashing sound from behind a closed door -- insinuating a passionate embrace. Mr. X is seen by his son in mid-fondle with his coworker; the older man later makes a grab at Annie's bottom.

Language

At least one use of "f--k," plus several instances each of "hell," "s--t," and "damn," as well as one "dumb ass" and one "bastard."

Consumerism

Frequent mentions or shots of brand names and corporations, including Goldman Sachs, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Bergdorff's, Chanel, Manolo Blahnik, Tiffany, SpongeBob SquarePants, Converse All-Stars, Lay's potato chips, Cheerios, Ralph Lauren polo shirt.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An anonymous nanny smokes a cigarette; some social drinking of wine, champagne, and beer. In one scene Annie deliberately gets drunk (on wine).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although teens might love Scarlett Johansson, this movie is about nannies and employee/employer relations -- hardly a big topic of interest for the average 13 year old. Many parents are presented as overprivileged, immature prima donnas. The strain between the central "bad" parent (an upper-class New Yorker) and her less-upper-crust nanny leads to some sad, tense scenes featuring a young boy, as well as some frank discussion of parenting goals and strategies. The film also includes mild sexual imagery (cleavage, kissing, a couple of uncomfortable groping scenes) and drinking (mostly social, though at one point Annie deliberately gets drunk). Language includes one use of "f--k" in anger, plus "s--t," "hell," and the other usual suspects.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDexterSmith April 9, 2008

Sweet dramedy may be too much for youngest children

Sexual Content (Pause): Grayer pulls down Annie's pants, revealing her thong, then says he's going to take his clothes off (with Harvard Hottie respon... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 year old Written byTeacupmama April 9, 2008

Depressing

I left the theater depressed and sorry that I brought my daughter age 10 and her 12 year old friend.
Kid, 12 years old August 28, 2010

a good movie for those kids who dream or will have a Au Pair or Nanny!

The movie was wonderful. I believe the connection between Annie and mrs. X's son was highly touching, which i hope to find in a Nanny-Child relationship. H... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykrazypanda45 May 23, 2009
good for some. do not take sensitive children

What's the story?

Recent college grad Annie (Scarlett Johansson) wants to change the world. An aspiring anthropologist, she reads Margaret Mead and studies the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History. Soon she's studying "bizarre social patterns" of an alien culture less than an hour away from her New Jersey home, as nanny to the X family: Upper East Side denizen Mrs. X (Laura Linney), Mr. X (Paul Giamatti), and 6-year-old charge Grayer (Nicholas Art).

Is it any good?

THE NANNY DIARIES has very little new to say. Instead, it provides Annie with a shaky moral high ground: She'll have to learn some lessons and also find true love with the Harvard Hottie (Chris Evans), who just happens to live upstairs from the Xs. Worse, as she observes little Grayer's efforts to make sense of his disgruntled parents, Annie writes a "field diary," a too-cute way for the film to take her point of view, even when she misreads situations.

Linney's smart performance helps smooth over the film's frequent overstatements, but, for the most part, it's a very slightly dialed down version of The Devil Wears Prada, a book Annie happens to read on the beach -- so you're aware that the film is aware of its own borrowings. Perhaps most frustrating is the movie's focus on beleaguered women, which doesn't lead to any sense of "freedom" (despite the fact that George Michael's song by that name shows up on the soundtrack a couple of times). "I don't think that having money makes it any easier," Annie opines at last.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's main conflict: Why does Annie think Mrs. X is a bad parent? Do you agree with her? Why or why not? What makes someone a "good" or "bad" mom or dad? Is it different in real life than it is in movies and on TV shows? How? Do you think Mrs. X thinks she's a good mom? What is Annie's role in the X family? How does she see herself compared to how the Xs see her?

Movie details

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