The Babysitter Film Details
Overview: Spoiled twelve-year-old Tara’s new best friend from next-door gets hired as a live-in babysitter, but things soon go horribly wrong when Tara’s mom starts hitting the bottle and fighting with her dad.
Tagline: She drove the mother mad. She seduced the father. Now, what’s going to happen to little Tara?
Review: A family thinks they’ve hit gold when they hire the almost perfect Joanna Redwine as The Babysitter. They’ll soon find out that they should have done a background check first. The Benedict family just moved into a beautiful house on the water just outside of Seattle. Tara is a spoiled problem child for her parents Jeff and over protective/worrying mom Liz. One day while outside playing, Tara sees this beautiful 18 year old girl named Joanna. She’s very mysterious and almost mesmerizing in the way she talks and walks around, and she grabs a hold of young Tara’s impressionable innocence. After we see her cause Liz to get into a car accident, Liz decides to hire Joanna as her live in nanny for the summer responsible for cooking/cleaning and taking care of young Tara. All is well at first. Tara and Joanna get along perfectly, Joanna cooks amazing food for the family, and she starts a deep friendship with Liz. The friendship seems caring at first, with Joanna helping Liz with her self confidence as a mother and wife, but quickly turns a bit dark as she starts pushing Liz to drink after a year of sobriety. Eventually she gets Liz out of the way (thanks to her alcoholism) and seduces Jeff into beginning an affair with her. As Joanna’s past starts to come to light thanks to a nosy neighbour, she gets backed into a corner which causes her severe dangerous side to come out. The Babysitter is a fun little early 80’s movie that is really about two different stories melded perfectly into one film. On the one hand, it is about a mysterious and dangerous girl who works hard to break up the Benedict family. On the other hand, the movie plays into the failing marriage between Liz and Jeff. It’s kind of sad to watch them crumble even when Joanna doesn’t try to ruin things for them. The ending is unfortunately kind of lackluster and doesn’t provide that big pay off I was hoping for. We get an idea of how psychotic Joanna is and what she did to families before the Benedict’s, but it only touched on that topic and never dived deep into it. It is a bit of a slower paced made-for-TV thriller, but there is something about the story and the mystery of Joanna that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. Stephanie Zimbalist performance as Joanna is definitely mesmerizing and hypnotizing, not only to the family she’s manipulating, but the audience as well. Patty Duke is a definite standout for me. She does a good job as the alcoholic mother who is desperate to keep her family together while she battles the bottle. William Shatner is his usual self, with a couple of over the top moments in his performance. All in all The Babysitter was an enjoyable movie, especially for Made-for-TV fans like myself. It loses marks with how slow it runs (the middle frame is a bit dull), but the acting by Zimbalist and Duke along with a compelling mystery kept my attention the whole way. 6/10
Duration: 96 min
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Also known as: Una ragazza alla pari,Lapsenvahti,A Babysitter,La sorellina,The Babysitter,Babysitter,Opiekunka,A Enviada do Mal