The A&E Networks’ Lifetime Cable Channel is a popular American cable channel known for featuring movies and shows that promote female empowerment, with strong female leads at the forefront of their programming. One of their latest additions to their catalog is Nanny Dearest (2023), directed by Doug Campbell.
The movie explores the story of a young ex-con named Taylor, who becomes obsessed with a married couple’s daughter. After tracking down the couple who received one of her eggs ten years prior, Taylor is convinced that their daughter belongs to her, and she will go to any lengths to become a mother again. As the story unfolds, the audience is taken on a thrilling ride of deceit, betrayal, and the dangerous lengths one can go to fulfill their desires.
However, the term “strong” doesn’t quite fit this film. In fact, the movie lacks a convincing storyline and performances from its actors. The events unfold one after the other without providing any depth to the plot. It’s clear that the filmmakers wanted to explore themes like motherhood, guilt, absent parenting, jealousy, and desire, but they haphazardly mixed all these ideas together without any coherent narrative.
Perhaps this subject would have been better suited for a TV show where the story could have been given time to develop, or better editing could have been done to give the characters more discernible motivations. Unfortunately, movies like this don’t offer much beyond attempting to evoke a reaction from the audience. Nevertheless, if anyone is interested, here’s a detailed breakdown of what happens in the film.
Nanny Dearest (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The movie opens with a baby wailing loudly while the father desperately wants to catch some shut-eye, and the mother grows increasingly exasperated with little Abbie’s crying. She raises her voice at the infant, as she is running late, while the father feels that the baby must be hungry. The couple is temporarily residing at the girl’s mother’s home, who believes that the baby requires prompt attention and that the boyfriend should seek employment to support the household.
It is apparent that Mrs. Thompson is dissatisfied with her daughter’s partner as she observes her daughter leaving the house to earn money. In the subsequent scene, Taylor is seen visiting the Palm Vista Fertility Clinic for an appointment with a gynecologist. Taylor, who has a nine-month-old infant, decides to earn fast and effortless cash by visiting the fertility clinic to donate her eggs.
However, before I proceed, I must express my frustration regarding the first two minutes of the movie. The acting appears quite exaggerated, resembling that of inexperienced performers. Nonetheless, I will continue watching the film to discover where the story leads, even though I anticipate that it may head downhill.
When Taylor expresses her interest in donating eggs, the doctor informs her that new mothers are not eligible. However, Taylor reveals that she has never breastfed because she is concerned about the sagging of her breasts. This makes the doctor happy, and she schedules Taylor’s next appointment for donating eggs.
As Taylor leaves the hospital, a nervous couple named Melissa and Caleb arrives for their appointment with the same doctor. They express their desire to become parents, and after consultation, the doctor confirms them for the procedure. As Taylor leaves the hospital after her egg donation appointment, she spots Melissa heading toward the same procedure. The scene is slow and dramatic, and it is evident that Taylor recognizes Melissa from before.
During their next appointment, Taylor and Melissa undergo the egg donation procedure. Taylor receives $8,000 for her contribution, while Melissa is advised to take two weeks of bed rest until her pregnancy test.
Later, Taylor is seen returning from somewhere with her mother in the car, and she proudly shows her the cheque she received. However, instead of being happy for her daughter, her mother asks her to keep it safe and not show it to her boyfriend, who should have been paying the rent instead of her daughter.
Taylor’s boyfriend is in a terrible state when they arrive home, and when Taylor inquires about what happened to him, he confesses that he accidentally suffocated their daughter Abbie while sleeping. He has buried Abbie’s body in the backyard.
Upon hearing this news, Taylor is consumed by rage and runs outside to the backyard, where she begins to cry hysterically and fight with her boyfriend. In the heat of the moment, they slap each other. Taylor then rushes inside the house, grabs a knife, and when her boyfriend follows her, she stabs him.
Tragically, Taylor’s boyfriend dies as a result of her stabbing him. Taylor is convicted of his murder and sentenced to jail. Ten years later, as she recalls the events to her friend Veronica (that led to her imprisonment), she reflects on how she had completely lost herself in the moment and became a different person altogether. Taylor is set to be released from jail the upcoming weekend.
Meanwhile, ten years have passed, and Melissa and Caleb share a happy life with their daughter, but Caleb is still trying to secure a position as a writer in different production houses, but he’s been unsuccessful so far. Meanwhile, Melissa is about to hit the road as she might soon be appointed as the new regional manager at a hotel, where she would have to take on a lot of responsibility. Caleb is both happy and nervous at the same time.
Meanwhile, Taylor has returned to her mom’s place, and while having breakfast, her mother asks about her plan of action. Taylor tells her that she wants to become a mother again. Later, we see Taylor somehow managing to break into the hospital where she donated her eggs. She steals the CPU of a monitor that might have her data file, which could lead her to find the couple to whom her eggs were donated.
Taylor successfully finds the couple, Melissa and Caleb, through the information she retrieved from the hospital. She gets the address from Veronica and decides to visit the couple’s home through the backdoor, hoping to catch a glimpse of their daughter, Ruby. While outside their home, Taylor overhears Melissa talking to Ruby’s mother about their plans to go to a park over the weekend.
Why do Melissa and Caleb hire Taylor as their daughter’s nanny?
After returning home, Taylor goes on a nanny hiring website and creates a fake profile using someone else’s name and information. She decides to use the profile of a woman named Kimberly to apply for the nanny position with Melissa and Caleb.
As the mother-and-daughter duo plays at the park, Taylor keeps a close eye on them. When they get tired of playing, they head back to their place to freshen up. Taylor gets up and goes to the nearby litterbin and puts in some trash and flammable liquid. She sets it on fire to get their attention. While Melissa and Ruby call for the park rangers to extinguish the fire and call 911, Taylor goes to their spot and mixes sleeping pills into Melissa’s water.
Later, as Melissa falls asleep, Taylor walks up to Ruby and manages to convince her to go for a trail hike nearby. When Melissa wakes up, it’s late evening, and she doesn’t find her daughter anywhere. She gets scared and calls Caleb at home. She tells him what happened at the park and starts panicking. But then suddenly, Ruby returns home with Taylor, who tells Caleb that since it’s a big park, their daughter has gotten lost.
Melissa arrived home and became angry with ‘Kimberley’ for having unfamiliar children in her car. However, Caleb tries to calm his wife by informing her that she is actually a nanny. After her initial outburst, Melissa quickly apologized to Kimberley, explaining that, as a mother, she was on edge and had experienced her worst nightmare. As they spoke, Melissa took a closer look at Kimberley and asked if they had met before, and they reintroduced themselves.
As Kimberley was leaving, Caleb accompanied her, and she gave him her card in case they ever needed a nanny. Later on, Melissa approached Ruby and asked if Kimberley had been inappropriate with her or if they had discussed anything concerning her.
Melissa and Caleb are facing a dilemma as their busy professional lives are leaving them with little time for their daughter. In an attempt to solve this problem, Caleb proposes that they hire a nanny, specifically Kimberly, who Ruby seems to enjoy spending time with. After conducting a thorough background check, they ultimately decide to hire Kimberly, also known as Taylor.
Meanwhile, Kimberly confides in her mother about her new job, but her mother is disappointed with her daughter’s actions, as this is not the first time she has made a questionable decision.
Caleb is surprised when he learns that Melissa will be traveling across the country with her swanky boss, who seems more interested in attending after-parties than the actual meetings. As Melissa departs for her tour, Kimberly takes charge of the household and establishes a routine for Ruby. During a day spent at the park, Kimberly asks Ruby to keep a secret and reveals that she is her second mother.
How do things change at the household after Melissa goes back to working full-time?
The situation takes a turn when Kimberly realizes that Caleb is envious of Melissa’s boss. She plants a false idea in Caleb’s mind that Melissa is having an affair with her boss. At the same time, she uses a prepaid phone to send a text message to Jamal, inviting him to a hotel rendezvous. Caleb follows Jamal to the hotel and assumes that his wife is cheating on him, leading him to hit Jamal and warn him to stay away from Melissa.
This causes a rift between Caleb and Melissa, and when she confides in Jamal, he offers to visit their house and give Caleb Lakers game tickets as a peace offering. But when Jamal arrives at their house, Kimberly intercepts him and tears up the tickets, refusing to let him see Caleb. This raises Jamal’s suspicions, and he follows Kimberly to her home when she leaves to pack her belongings to stay at Ruby’s house while Melissa is away.
While Kimberly is gone, Jamal searches her home and finds out that she is actually Taylor, the person who donated eggs to Melissa and Caleb. He discovers this information on her computer, and just as he is about to call Melissa and reveal the truth, Kimberly returns and confronts him. A fight ensues, and Kimberly ends up killing Jamal before Melissa can reach the airport.
Why does Taylor kill her mother?
Georgina, Taylor’s mother, returns home to a putrid smell and discovers Jamal’s dead body. When Taylor arrives, Georgina immediately accuses her of being deranged without giving her a chance to explain. As the story unfolds, we learn the disturbing truth about Taylor’s past.
A decade ago, when little Abbie wouldn’t stop crying, Taylor smothered the baby, causing her death. When Derek, Taylor’s boyfriend, found out, he became angry and threatened to go to the police. In response, Taylor killed him too. The mother and daughter duo then fabricated a story that Derek had killed Abbie and that Taylor acted in self-defense.
Taylor had repeated this lie for so long that she began to believe it herself, but Georgina knew the truth. When Taylor’s mother pushes her to confront her actions, Taylor becomes frustrated and strangles her mother in a fit of rage, leading to Georgina’s death.
Nanny Dearest (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
Does Taylor kill Melissa and Ruby in the end?
The ending of Nanny Dearest finds Melissa becoming increasingly suspicious of Kimberly as she discovers the truth about her identity by finding Taylor’s file in their storeroom. She shares this information with Caleb, and together they warn Ruby to stay away from Kimberly. However, Ruby is conflicted and unsure whom to trust.
When Taylor learns that Melissa and Caleb have discovered her true identity, she flees. However, she manages to convince Ruby to meet her for a final goodbye. Taylor has ulterior motives and takes Ruby to her actual home, where she shows her a video about the surrogacy process. Meanwhile, Melissa sees her daughter being abducted by the nanny and quickly drives to Taylor’s home to save her.
She calls Caleb, who attempts to contact 911, but they are unable to dispatch a car due to understaffing and lack of justification. The situation becomes increasingly complex, but the couple remains determined to save their daughter.
After arriving at Taylor’s house, Melissa searches for her daughter and confronts Taylor. In a fight between the two, Melissa manages to tie Taylor up, but Taylor manages to lock Melissa outside. Ruby, who was wearing headphones, was unaware of the commotion. Taylor tries to manipulate Ruby against her mother, but eventually, the little girl opens the door for her mother. Meanwhile, Taylor manages to untie herself and smothers Ruby, just as she did with her daughter Abbie years ago. Believing she has killed Ruby, Taylor confesses to Caleb that she killed both his daughter and wife. In a fit of rage, Caleb hits Taylor with an iron rod, causing her to fall to the ground.
Inside the house, Melissa regains consciousness and runs to Ruby, who appears to be lifeless. As Melissa cries over the apparent death of her daughter, Ruby wakes up, having pretended to be dead. Meanwhile, feeling guilty about killing her own daughter and Ruby, Taylor takes the iron rod and stabs herself to death. The movie ends with a scene of Taylor reuniting with her daughter Abbie in the afterlife.