Thursday, April 10, 2008

Money Isn’t Everything In The Nanny Diaries

Annie Braddock, played terrifically by Scarlett Johansson, is fresh out of college and low on funds. She attempts to begin her career with an interview to a typical Fortune 500 company. But when asked to describe herself to the interviewer she chokes and bolts.

Enter Mrs. X.

She’s everything Annie has heard you should aspire to be, rich, fashionably dressed, and too busy for anyone, except chasing after Mr. X.

Lured by the thought of money and an Upper Eastside address, Annie sells out for the nanny gig.

It isn’t long before the job Annie took, is revealed to be completely different, from the job she thought she took.

Grayer, played wonderfully by Nicholas Art, is Mrs. X’s anti-Christ son. He’s rude, violent, and acts out whenever he’s not getting his way. Yet, his wall comes down and pain soothes as he and Annie bond over Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Annie’s life is on-call 24/7 to the X’s, but she still manages to hang out with best friend Lynette, played naturally by Alicia Keys.

Lynette offers both ethnicity and sound advice since Annie keeps her nanny job a secret from her mother, a nurse.

However, lies have a way of bursting in your face, especially when the child you’re watching has a 104 fever.

I expected a showdown between Judy (Annie’s mother) and Mrs. X, after the I-don’t-give-a-crap-reaction of Mrs. X, to the news her son is seriously ill, but justice arrives later.

The next move of this Upper Eastside Addams Family is to escape to the Hamptons.

Surprisingly Mr. X, crisply played by Paul Giamatti, joins them on their journey.

His company is not welcome as he fulfills his slime-ball role and tries to grab a handful of Annie.

We all know how this turns out, even if you haven’t seen the film, but rest assured Annie gets the last laugh.

Why do I love this film?

Back in December of 2004 I entered the real world with a college degree and a mother battling breast cancer.

My whole life I had written and thought I would go on to be a professional writer. Unfortunately, life and duty came first. So instead of applying to Grad School, I opted for the first job I could get, substitute teaching.

Teaching can be one of the scariest jobs on the planet, especially when you’re doing it in a school district with a bad reputation. Although, I grew to like the school I worked for, I realized subbing wasn’t for me.

My next job was for a family center that dealt with kids with mental and behavioral disabilities.

Each day I tried my best to be the stability in a storm of chaos. My co-workers constantly complained. My boss was a cross between Cruella DeVil and a gypsy. Not to mention the kids all wanted one thing, your attention.

We weren’t encouraged to pick up and hold the kids, but who’s going to walk away from a neglected or abused 3 year-old who wants a hug?

Eventually the kids seemed more excited to see me than their parents, who were also trying to get help.

While I enjoyed my job initially, the repetition of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of pre-schoolers was not my idea of a good career move. So I eventually transferred to a different department.

But my time at the center taught me that life doesn’t always follow a straight line. Sometimes you have to walk a curve before reaching your destination.

In the case of Annie the Nanny, her journey into the world of the elite let her know that the Devil does wear Prada.