The Perfect Nanny Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

The tragedy of loneliness in the film The Perfect Nanny (2019): explanation of the ending, meaning of the film.

Country: France

Genre: drama, crime

Year of production: 2019

Directed by: Lucy Borleto

Actors: Karin Viar, Leila Behti, Antoine Reinartz

tagline: “Your life is in her hands…”

Director Lucy Borleto made a picture that raises several themes. This is a story not only about the illusory nature of one’s own safety and the lack of adequate social support for mentally ill people, but also about hopeless loneliness, which can lead to tragedy. The ending of The Perfect Nanny (Chanson douce) is shocking, but it is exactly what it should be.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film “The Ideal Nanny”. Young spouses Paul and Miriam are raising two children. A woman, tired of sitting at home, offers her husband to hire a nanny. After several interviews, they eventually find Louise. A middle-aged, intelligent and calm woman who raised her daughter seems to them an ideal candidate.

Leila Behti, Antoine ReinartzLeila Bekhti as Miriam, Antoine Reinartz as Paul. Frame from the film.

Louise is an excellent cook and maintains order in the house. She became so attached to the children that she willingly lingered when her parents asked her about it. Having found an assistant, Paul and Miriam seem to fall in love with each other all over again. Children, in turn, become attached to the nanny and everything seems to be going well …

But soon the couple begin to notice oddities in Louise’s behavior. She withdraws into herself and sometimes shows aggression. But this, like other oddities, Paul and Miriam explain with some eccentricity of Louise and decide not to part with her.

One day, the couple invite her to go on vacation with them. Having accidentally heard how Paul and Miriam make love, the woman somehow gets hung up on the idea that the couple will have another child, the care of which they will naturally entrust to her. However, the spouses, somewhat tired of parenthood, have completely different plans.

Closer to the finale, the family approves a nursery for the youngest child. Upon learning of this, Louise realizes that soon Paul and Miriam will no longer need her services. Against this background, she loses touch with reality and a dormant mental illness breaks out of control …

The Perfect Nanny Ending explanation

After learning that she will soon have to leave the family to which she has become attached, Louise feels her world crumbling. Apparently, having decided that in any case she could not live without these children, she filled the bath with water, took a knife and called the children.

The explanation for the ending of The Perfect Nanny goes like this: Louise killed both children and then committed suicide. Later, when Miriam returned from work, she saw a bathtub full of blood, stained walls and floors, and Louise dead. A little later, Paul drove up to the house. He noticed an ambulance and, seeing the open window of his apartment, he realized that trouble had come to his house.

In their analysis of the picture, the audience is trying to understand the meaning of Louise’s act. Unfortunately, it is not known whether she was always mentally ill, or became so over time.

Perhaps the key to her behavior lies in the fact that for a long time she was alone: ​​her husband died, and she does not communicate with her daughter. The constant being alone with herself probably drove her crazy. By the way, there is an interpretation that the break with the daughter was the trigger. But what exactly happened – the death of the girl or the usual separation, is unknown.

What interested and fascinated Louise? It seems that she was obsessed with these children. Perhaps she tried to “give” them what she could not give to her own daughter, thereby rehabilitating herself in her own eyes. Parting with them was tantamount to the loss of the meaning of life for her. She was empty inside. Looking into this abyss, Louise could not live with it. The murder of children can probably be explained by the state of passion.

Karin ViarKarin Viar played the role of Louise. Frame from the film.

The meaning of the film The Perfect Nanny

In 2012, a tragedy occurred in New York: a nanny, an elderly woman, killed two of her wards. This led to the fact that for some time the society began to zealously discuss the problem of relationships with employees.

Four years later, the writer Leila Slimani wrote the book The Perfect Nanny. However, in the original the book is called “Sweet Song” – and this is the hidden meaning of the story. In mythology, sirens sang a sweet song, capable of driving you crazy, subordinating to your will, and in the end – leading to death …

At first it seems that the essence of the film lies on the surface. It is about the degree of loneliness and madness that comes from trying to appropriate someone else’s life. But still, “The Ideal Nanny” is not only a thriller, but also a social drama.

There are three problematic lines in the picture. The first of these is the problem of motherhood and working women. It is a slight shock that everything related to the conception, birth and upbringing of children both in the book and in the film is presented in some kind of “animal” sense. The thought that childbirth “thrown Miriam to the side of the world” runs like a red thread.

In the book, the author exacerbates the problem by saying that Miriam (and in her person – all women who gave birth) perceives her body as “a source of pain and secretions, smelling of sour milk and blood.” No less creepy is the attitude towards the child, who seems to “squeeze juices, suck out youth” and is compared with a mushroom that grows after rain. The conclusion is this: children infringe, interfere and limit adults in every possible way.

In principle, initially Paul and Miriam accepted their new roles with great enthusiasm. But very little time passed – and they were disappointed in parenthood. Paul feels at home, as if in a trap, the role of his father seemed to him too difficult and dreary. No, he loves children very much, but at the same time he understands that with their appearance something has left his life forever.

children with a nannyFrame from the film.

Miriam, tired, almost howling with despair, begins to understand that children are a serious obstacle to success and freedom. The thought that professional growth and family are incompatible, she experiences as a tragedy.

Freed from domestic duties, Paul and Miriam become completely different. Miriam returns energy and passion for life. Going headlong into their favorite work, spending time with friends and enjoying communication with each other, they relegate children to the background. They are not adapted to family life and are not ready to bear responsibility and cope with difficulties together.

It seems unbearable to a modern woman that she will have to sit at home for years and deal exclusively with household chores and children. This is not enough for her, she is cramped, she is afraid of losing herself … Here the second problematic line gradually emerges – the selection of domestic staff.

The spouses chose a nanny for a long time. They approached the issue with all responsibility and a clear understanding of who they need. Not being xenophobic, they nevertheless did not want to entrust the care of children to illegal migrants.

Roughly speaking, they were looking for a white, not very old woman without bad habits, ready to be processed if necessary. But can a 30-minute interview clarify what kind of person is in front of you and whether he can be trusted with your children? ..

And here she comes – the ideal nanny with a very rich and problematic inner world. Louise’s attitude is the third problematic line of this picture.

Paul and Miriam are fascinated by Louise almost immediately. She quickly found a common language with the children – she immersed herself in the game, sang, laughed, meowed, walked on all fours and applied war paint to her face with perfectly regular features. The children instantly recognized her as “their person”.

children's picnic with babysitterFrame from the film.

Louise not only looked after the children, but also helped around the house – she cleaned, cooked and held the entire building of the family lifestyle on her fragile shoulders. Thanks to her, Paul and Miriam felt the fullness of life.

However, they soon notice that something is wrong with this beautiful, smiling and friendly woman. The internal discomfort associated with it is growing. She began to take up too much space, filling the whole space with herself. Paul and Miriam began to feel like guests in their own home.

What do we know about Louise? What is hidden behind the mask of the “ideal nanny”? From the book it becomes clear that her childhood was not prosperous. She did not receive a proper education, and all her life she did nothing but serve others. In particular, she looked after the elderly and children whose mothers were in a hurry to go to work. Her husband, a slacker and loser, was furious with her fussing with other people’s babies. Her daughter always felt superfluous. She tried so hard to be invisible that when she left home, no one noticed.

After the death of her husband, Louise was left without a home and with a bunch of debts. From the house of Paul and Miriam she returned each time to her small uncomfortable apartment on the other side of the city. There she was forced to remain alone with her thoughts, problems and loneliness.

Life in the family of Paul and Miriam began to seem to her the only salvation from loneliness. It seemed to her that her happiness depended only on them, that she belonged to them, and they belonged to her. She wanted to enter their world and find her place there. However, very soon her fragile illusion was shattered and it broke her.

A refrain was born in the head of the unfortunate woman: someone must die so that everyone else is happy. What goal did she want to achieve? There is no logic in her act, and there cannot be.

Once she was diagnosed with depression with signs of delirium. This is a mental disorder in which there is a clouding of consciousness with hallucinations and emotional disturbances. That is, she really could not realize what she was doing.

The real “perfect nanny” was sentenced to life in prison. The motive for the murder remained unclear until the end. However, professional burnout, fatigue, envy and anger towards a wealthy family were recorded as “culprits”. Mental illness was not confirmed.

father of the familyFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few more films similar in meaning to The Perfect Nanny:

  • Love Is the Perfect Crime (France, Switzerland, Belgium, 2013). Mark, a charismatic teacher of literature, easily turns women’s heads. One of the students who was carried away by him suddenly disappears and soon the hero meets her stepmother…
  • The Girl With a Bracelet (France, Belgium, 2019). The girl is accused of killing her friend. Against her all the evidence and she has to prove her innocence;
  • Adoration (France, Belgium, 2019). The boy Paul falls in love with his father’s patient. Confident that she is in danger, he persuades her to run away from the clinic.

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