Review | Nanny: Psychological Horror with Michelle Monaghan Explores Motherhood, Immigration and the Failure of the American Dream
Film watched during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival
In an America permeated by the most diverse immigrants, nanny arrives as a psychological terror that urges us to confront the famous and long-desired “American dream”. At the directorial debut of Nikyatu JusuAisha (Anna Diop) is an illegal Senegalese woman in the United States who wants stability and financial freedom for herself and her son, who will soon be reunited with her. Amid the internal conflicts of an imperfect motherhood and the need to guarantee the minimum by working as a nanny, she finds herself trapped within the false plastic reality of high society, where neither the luxury of a high-end apartment nor the supposedly perfect family are able to prevent the appearance of deep cracks.
With her son in her home country, under the care of others, Aisha lives the dilemmas of motherhood at a distance as a result of misery. The natural pressures of this split are the driving force behind the horror thriller, which develops from a series of macabre hallucinations that invade the protagonist’s peace, the moment she starts working as a nanny for a wealthy family. And as we absorb the family dynamics between the characters, we gradually realize that the delusions of this working mother have less to do with the fragility of her bosses and more with her own internal conflicts and, of course, with the classic maternal intuition.
And between the terrors that every mother has felt in this life and a rich couple that neglects even the minimal support of their daughter, we contemplate a synesthetic psychological terror, which is delivered in the arms of the audience from the powerful performance of actress Anna diop. With Michelle Monaghan in supporting role, nanny makes a contrast between the ideals of the American family and the genuine reality of an immigrant of African origin, who not only flees hunger, but also flees from the corruption that has torn apart her people. and the filmmaker Nikyatu jusu makes his debut feature something completely full of identity, which is revealed in a brilliant and well-executed montage, which only adds to the tension of the plot.
Playing a game between reddish, greenish lights and shadows, jusu knows how to build a dense and nebulous atmosphere and explores the performance of diop with insight, always taking us to the extreme of tension. Featuring an overwhelming plot twist, nanny consumes the audience as much as it does its characters, laying fertile ground for a genuinely powerful and heartwarming denouement. With only 1h37 of film, the filmmaker makes her story an inexhaustible experience, which leaves us marinating in its unfolding for days on end. Reflective and impactful, nanny it is an intense clash of values, cultures, perceptions and models of motherhood in contemporary times.
‘nanny‘ premieres on Prime Video in December 16thin more than 240 countries and territories.