Nanny: drama with a horror chaser

Anna Diop in Nanny

Nanny stars Anna Diop as the nanny to a New York City family. The nanny, Aisha, is an immigrant from Senegal who wants to make enough money to bring her young son to the United States with her.

Anna Diop is Senegalese-American, like her character. So is the writer and director of the film, Nikyatu Jusu. The best parts of the film are the moments of drama around the classism, racism, and injustices of the immigrant experience. When the horror mounts its dreadful head, the film is less effective.

Rose Decker and Michelle Monaghan in Nanny

Aisha takes care of Rose (Rose Decker). The parents, Amy (Michelle Monaghan) and Adam (Morgan Spector), don’t pay Aisha what she’s owed and take advantage of her in various ways.

Aisha calls her son Lamine (Jahleel Kamara) every day. She sends money home from every paycheck to bring him to her.

Anna Diop in Nanny

As time passes, Aisha begins to have dreams about spiders and drowning. She hallucinates things about drowning and water. Are they omens? Warnings? They grow worse.

Aisha starts dating a very nice man named Malik (Sinqua Walls). Malik introduces Aisha to his grandmother (Leslie Uggams). She tells Aisha stories about the trickster Anansi the Spider and about Mama Wata, a mermaid water goddess. These are two mythical East African entities that seem to be haunting or taunting Aisha, especially when she’s in the apartment where she works.

The early parts of the film were stronger than the end, I thought. The horror elements weren’t as well done as the straight drama. The ending was tragic and terrible with about 6 seconds of hope tacked on at the end like an afterthought.

I was impressed by the director Nikyatu Jusu. The film was beautiful in so many ways. The color palette, the shots involving water, the lighting used to illuminate Black skin. This was her first major film and I definitely want to see more or her work in the future.

I also thought Anna Diop did a great job in the lead. She was in every frame of the film and carried it well.

You can see Nanny on Prime Video.

2 thoughts on “Nanny: drama with a horror chaser”

  1. Loved it.
    This is what I think
    Great review! Anna Diop’s portrayal of Aisha brings to light the struggles and injustices faced by many immigrants in the US. The film’s director, Nikyatu Jusu, showcases her skills in creating a visually stunning movie that tackles important social issues.

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