The Nanny Diaries

Released 08/24/2007                              Rated: PG-13

I saw this movie once, probably right after it came out on DVD. All I remember is not being that impressed by it; I was probably expecting more of a comedy. I recently found the book second-hand on sale for a dollar, so I decided, “why not?” Read the book, rewatched the movie, and despite how cute the film had moments vs how anxious I was simply reading the book, I’d still prefer the book.

In the book, Nan is in her last year at NYU, and she’s looking for some extra cash. She has nannied for multiple families over the years, so that’s what she turns to. She starts nannying for the Xes; she already knows all the tricks, she just has to jump through a new set of hoops. Grayer’s mother is very hands-on from a distance, while his father is never around and is actually sneaking around and can’t be bothered with his own son. It’s through the neglect of this little boy and how crazy the Xes make life for Nan that we feel for anyone in this book. She has to take care of Grayer, pass her classes, run errands for Mrs. X, all the while the growing crisis that has been dubbed Miss Chicago, as the other woman tries to gain Nan’s help in getting her time with Mr. X.

The film does things a bit differently, hitting the major beats, but not quite to the same tune. The movie, I believe, only takes place over two-three months for the summer as opposed to twice as long, at least. The movie is narrated by Annie as  a grad school admittance essay. She has just graduated with a business major and an anthropology minor, and has no idea who she is. She takes a live-in nanny gig as a chance to discover herself, thinking it’s not nearly as much work as it turns out to be.

The one thing I really didn’t like was that Annie had no experience with children. I understand the decision to simply throw a character into a brand new and alien situation to deal with, but if they were going to do that, they could have at least done it better. Obviously, she’s a little shaky on her feet and isn’t a hundred percent sure of what she’s doing, but if this is supposed to be completely foreign to her, she could have struggled with it a bit more. I wasn’t sold.

The movie had its moments, but I actually don’t feel like we, the audience, spent a lot of time with Grayer. While everyone else is driving her crazy, it’s her relationship with the boy that should be the focal point here; this is the reason she deals with all the shit she gets put through. I feel they missed the mark.

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