Synopsis: When Shirley Lyner (Katherine Waterston) starts babysitting for Gail and Michael Beltran (Cynthia Nixon, John Lequizamo), her life becomes wilder than she could ever imagine. Shirley and Michael begin a dangerous affair and when he pays her a big tip to stay quiet, she takes her babysitting service to a whole other level.
As more of Michael’s married buddies learn of his arrangement Shirley’s calendar is soon filled with student-babysitters and more married fathers than she and her friends can manage. Their lives begin to unravel into a world of sex, money and greed, making getting into college the least of their problems.
The Babysitters 7.5
eyelights: its basic plot. its performances.
eyesores: its predictable development.
“We all lead secret lives, even if it’s only in our heads.”
I’m so glad that I’m not a parent in this day and age. I’d have already been a worry wart without all the trappings of modern society, including unfettered consumerism, über-violent video games, hardcore porn, or a multiplicity of chemical enhancers.
With the internet and personal cell phones, it’s nearly impossible for parents to monitor their kids and guide them through their early lives. I’m not saying that parents should be controlling freaks, just that their role as mentors and guardians is hamstrung.
As a parent, I’d worry even more after watching a movie like ‘The Babysitters’, the 2007 independent film which proposes that a group of teenaged girls decide to sell their sexual services to neighbourhood husbands under the guise of babysitting their kids.
As a parent, knowing full well that I have no idea what my kids are doing when I’m looking the other way, I’d be concerned for the welfare of my daughter, both for her physical self but also for her person, should she choose to commodify her sexuality.
Yeah, I’d worry.
And just hope for the best.
As a non-parent, however, I think that a movie like ‘The Babysitters’ brings up a few excellent questions worth considering and discussing: What should the age of consent be? Should we allow sex to be commodified? Should extramarital sex be acceptable?
And who gets to decide?
Don’t get me wrong: ‘The Babysitters’ isn’t a deep film, in that it doesn’t explicitly pose these questions or discuss these issues. But a story like this one can only exist because we aren’t having frank dialogues about our sexual selves in this society.
A lot of our social mores are still rooted in traditional values, and these are rooted in religion – not necessarily in the teachings themselves but in their interpretations, interpretations that were made by a select group of men many centuries ago.
Hmmm… maybe it’s something we should revisit.
I’m not saying that we should change our values, per se, I’m just saying that we should at least reconsider them, put them in the spotlight and make an informed decision as to what works for us now. If we choose to stay the course then, that’s perfectly okay.
But it shouldn’t be done blindly.
As a parent, I would much prefer that my children had access to unbiased statistics, scientific data and research. I would want them to know why we’ve made the informed choices that we’ve made. I would want them to know and understand, not just submit.
Ironically, it’s because we don’t take the time to consider these matters that Shirley and her friends end up selling their services in ‘The Babysitters’: kids aren’t taught the many impacts of being sexual and couples don’t discuss their own sexual dynamics.
In avoidance grows secrets.
People will always want what they don’t get: In a society that glorifies money and things, where cash provides access, people want more things and wealth. In a body that is designed for and desires nothing more than to procreate, people will want sex.
People will often do everything that it takes to fulfill those desires.
And that’s where ‘The Babysitters’ come in.
Food for thought.
Post scriptum: I guess if there’s anything that bothered me about this picture, it was in the way that men and women were portrayed: once again, the men were adult boys who wanted to play at all costs and the women were uptight, unhappy and unsexual.
And while I admit that this is a reality for some, I think that our gender biases should also be reconsidered. Not every man is the same, not every woman is the same and not every couple is the same. There are different models, different ways of being.
Maybe that’s also something we should revisit.
Date of viewing: May 7, 2017