Away From Her

Starring Scarlet Johansson, Laurel Linney and Paul Giamati. Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rated: Rated M (infrequent moderate coarse language)

The Nanny Diaries is based on a satirical novel of 2002, written by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus who had spent a total of eight years as nannies in about thirty families in affluent upper-Manhattan. The novel had a scathing portrait of the people of the upper-Manhattan area - the film is scathing but less so, a touch more benign despite the horrible behaviour of some of the characters.

The film takes an anthropological point of view, especially in the opening sequences in the museum and the tableaux of various people in New York City. This is a story of a girl from New Jersey, from a poor family, who accidentally becomes a nanny, becomes attached to the child she is looking after, is used as a slave by inconsiderate employers.

Scarlet Johansson is good as the nanny. Laurel Linney gives a superb performance as a selfish and arrogant New York matron. Paul Giamati is very good as the neglectful husband.

The film contrasts the world that Annie came from with the world in which she finds herself, immersing herself, and writing a kind of anthropological essay about this different culture. She does have the opportunity at the end to make a video to voice all her criticisms and target the Laurel Linney character, Mrs. X.

The writer-directors, Shari Springer-Berman and Robert Pulcini were responsible for the excellent film, American Splendor with Paul Giamati.

Village Roadshow Out 27th September

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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