Nanny Culture (2016) – documentary movie review

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Nanny CultureMovie Review by EDF

Stars: Julie Mcilvenny, Al Hammadi family
Director: Paul James Driscoll

It seems to be normal these days for documentaries to be well produced with high production values, depending on what the subject matter is. This is not the case with Nanny Culture as the actions that are caught on camera tell a lot of the story. In most documentaries, there is usually a voiceover to guide the viewer and thankfully we do not get that here. This means that we can make up our own mind of what we see in this light hearted documentary.

At the start of the documentary, Paul James Driscoll is filming the documentary at a nanny agency when the call comes in that a family from the Emirates is looking for a nanny who will look after their six children. Julie is called in to consider this offer and makes an off the cuff remark that maybe the documentary crew should follow her to Abu Dhabi. Sensing an opportunity, Driscoll asks the agency to enquire if the family would not mind if they accompany Julie to shoot the documentary. The family agree to being included in the documentary.

What enfolds is a series of humorous incidents and culture clashes. When a seemingly noisy neighbour calls in, wondering who Julie is, the neighbour tells Mr Al Hammadi that Julie should learn their culture. You get the impression that that is not a priority for Mr Al Hammadi. He is more concerned with one of his sons who seems to be on his gaming console whenever he can be and is not partaking with regular family events. Julie tries various ways in getting a positive result from this.

While this is not an earth shattering, scandal filled documentary, it is an interesting look at how kids are raised and behave in a country we do not see much of. It should not be shocking to learn that children in that part of the world act the same as they do in the West. What is interesting is Julie’s technique in getting the children to play games together and making sure that they eat healthier. Even though this is not a long documentary, you get a slight feeling that by the end of it, this feels more like a recruitment video for nanny services abroad. I am sure that was not Driscoll’s original intention for the documentary but nevertheless it does what it says on the tin.

3 out of 6 stars