Nikyatu Jusu’s NANNY Shreds The American Dream To Pieces
Written & Directed By Nikyatu Jusu
Produced By Nikkia Moulterie and Daniela Taplin Lundberg
Executive Produced By Maria Zuckerman, Ryan Heller, Michael Bloom, Jason Blum, Rebecca Cammarata, Bill Benenson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Laurie Benenson, Grace Lay, Sumalee Montano, Nikyatu Jusu, Chris McCumber, Jeremy Gold
Starring Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls, Morgan Spector, Rose Decker and Leslie Uggams
98 minutes | Rated R
In this psychological horror fable of displacement, Aisha (Anna Diop), a woman who recently emigrated from Senegal, is hired to care for the daughter of an affluent couple (Michelle Monaghan and Morgan Spector) living in New York City. Haunted by the absence of the young son she left behind, Aisha hopes her new job will afford her the chance to bring him to the U.S. but becomes increasingly unsettled by the family’s volatile home life. As his arrival approaches, a violent presence begins to invade both her dreams and her reality, threatening the American dream she is painstakingly piecing together.
By: Chris Hammond
A Psychological drama at heart NANNY does have themes of horror to it. When Aisha (Anna Diop) a recent African immigrant takes a job as a nanny for a complicated white couple. This job entails making a set of foods for the family’s daughter Rose (Rose Decker).
Director Nikyatu Jusu takes their time setting the groundwork for these characters. Their progression is slow and sometimes drawn out, but the viewers gain a great sense of who they are. They’re flawed and each one has issues that come into play. Aisha has to navigate her everyday life from the pitfalls that threaten to crush her dreams. This job is a means to an end. She is using the money from it to bring her son Lamine (Jahleel Kamara) over from Africa.
The pacing of the film can be slow at times, but outstanding visuals and great acting help to overlook that. Amy (Michelle Monaghan) is the mother of Rose. At first, she comes off as considerate, but a tad controlling. Her Strained marriage with Adam (Morgan Spector) adds fuel to the fire. Aisha and Rose both take the brunt of her anger. She even goes as far as not paying Aisha for her time.
The visual nightmares which take place are a site to behold. They include elements of water and African Folklore. Cinematographer Rina Yang captures Jusu’s story in an outstanding way.
Actress Anna Diop propels the drama of her character Aisha to new dramatic levels. The anguish that she shows in many situations is relatable. The sheer fear of losing site of Rose in the park heightens the intensity and stress levels to 11.
This isn’t to say everything is depressing and foreboding doom. There is a subplot of a blossoming love story with the doorman where she works. Malik (Sinqua Walls) helps befriend Aisha and they strike up a romantic relationship. The problem is the American dream sometimes can turn into a hellish nightmare.
NANNY is a drama film with elements of the supernatural. The stars of the films are all more than game to tell this story. Director Nikyatu Jusu debut feature film is full of promise and many times hits the mark. The only thing off is sometimes scenes can overstay their welcome.
Nanny Opens in Theaters on November 23
and Globally on Prime Video Starting December 16
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