treebaby

 

“You take your hands off my baby!” The Guardian deals with that thorny subject of the business classes – the protection of their pampered sprog from the constant, grasping hands of the working class. If the Guardian proves anything, it’s that its hard to find good help these days.

The story of a wayward Druid Nanny on an all-baby diet, the whole movie is a parental angst-fest, which will have parents wringing their hands, wondering how they will ever keep their adorable spud safe from the evil clutches of the tree woman and her ilk. Not so much a slow burner and more of a misfire, William Friedkin signposts every move and misdeed, and then, in case we’ve missed anything, recaps it all a few minutes later.

A young couple (Phil and Kate, played by Dwier Brown and Carey Lowell) working in advertising and interior design have recently moved to LA with their newly born child and, on arrival, decide it might be a good idea to get a nanny around the house. Who is this mysterious English woman who applies for the role? What does she want with the baby? Can she be trusted not to run off and eat it? All these questions will already have been answered in the introduction, which leaves one final question to ponder: What is the point of this movie? Presumably it should be trying to evoke suspense at when she will do these things, or creepiness at the fact she wants to do them and is in their house, but if anything the family come off as a little weird and needy, popping in to her room every five minutes to watch her in the bath, or to dress her for her night off. Incidentally, setting up your nanny with your friend the weird architect who keeps popping by is unlikely to be part of her job description.

Miguel Ferrer also appears as Phil’s boss. Normally, from the moment Miguel Ferrer shows up you know he’s going to do something bad – my guess was he was either going to try to fuck the wife, or fuck the babysitter – sadly, after cooing over the baby in a rather overly enthusiastic manner and having a quick chat at an excruciating dinner party scene he disappears, not in some kind of murdered-by-the-tree-lady disappearance, just a literal absence from the rest of
movie.

By the end it all goes a bit cirque de soliol (you’ll see what I mean if you watch the movie) although some good visual effects do make it a vaguely entertaining watch, if one ruined by poor plotting and poor characterisation. Incidentally, the films quite aggressive styling of Druids as nomadic baby-eating tree loving magicians capable of flight, physical transformation and the summoning of face-hungry wolves surely must have led to it being the focus a thousand tree-circle hexes, perhaps explaining the state of William Friedkins career.

In summation, it’s alright, and there’s a tree with baby faces in it near the end. Also, a woman identifies the English nanny (played by Jenny Seagrove) who speaks as if she got elocution lessons from the Queen herself as “She had an accent, I’m not sure, European I think, maybe English”.

That’s about it.

Written by disposable cinema

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