Ah, babysitters. Without them, parents would forever be stuck at home watching their own kids, and most of them probably would have had nervous breakdowns by now because of it. Also, an entire genre of fascinating and often illicit fantasy never would have come to be.
Apparently, there’s just something about the (mostly) young women (and sometimes men) who look after children that makes them irresistible. They show their nurturing sides by taking care of kids, and they’re more accessible than a lot of other people. They don’t harbor the resentment that often builds up when two people try to juggle a family and a relationship. And they’re often not very wise in the ways of the world.
So, here it is, in all its glory – the love of babysitters (and nannies) laid on the line – sometimes intriguing, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes sketchy, and always just on the other side of what we consider to be entirely proper.
1. Mystic Pizza
If that’s not the poster child for betrayed trust, we don’t know who is!
The movie that brought Julia Robert’s first big film performance, surprisingly enough as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks wooed by a rich suitor with a heart of gold (coincidence? We think not!), is not without a juicy side storyline that fits into the lusting after babysitters trope.
Julia Roberts’ character, Daisy, has a sister named Kat who is a bit of a goody-two-shoes foil to Daisy’s wild child. Kat plans to attend Yale and saves up money in order to do so by working at Mystic Pizza and, you guessed it, babysitting.
You might be able to see where this is going. Kat’s not very world-wise and soon ends up making googly eyes at the father of the girl she watches while his wife is away for the summer. One thing leads to another, and they end up kissing and possibly doing other things after the camera pans away. Kat is smitten, but when they return to the man’s house his wife pops up in a surprise appearance and he doesn’t say a word. The young girl is left crushed and world-wary.
2. The Sound of Music
The hills are alive and they’re going to eat you!
This movie is a double-whammy of forbidden romance. Captain Von Trapp falls in love with the nanny, who is also technically a nun at the time! True, it ends up turning out best for everyone involved, but we still say it’s a bit on the naughty side. Not only that, but the noble Captain is actually engaged to another woman! It’s a wonder that this relationship ever worked out with everything it had going against it, and perhaps an even greater wonder that Maria doesn’t end up as the bad guy.
We guess that sometimes, love of the nanny really does trump all. We suppose it does help that the couple managed to survive some pretty trying times together, such as, oh, running for their lives from the Nazis. That’s the kind of thing that makes little past indiscretions kind of melt away, we suppose.
3. Corrina, Corrina
Love, thy name is funky Hawaiian shirt!
Here’s another movie that explores dual taboos (at least during the time period the movie was set in): falling in love with the person taking care of your child, and interracial relationships.
This is a movie where we actually end up cheering for the father-nanny relationship to succeed. For one thing, there isn’t an inappropriate age difference between the two; both are mature adults. We’re happy, not creeped out, when they end up (spoiler alert!) living happily ever after, just as little Molly is. We’re not even upset when the dad brushes off a witch of a woman who is trying to sink her claws into him in favor of putting the oh-so-classy moves on the babysitter.
We don’t think that this is exactly the thing that people had in mind when they first started fantasizing about dads and babysitters, but it’s a sweet movie, and we approve.
4. The Babysitters
He just wants someone to… talk… to… you know, about stuff.
This movie takes all the question of “love” out of the equation. This is no simple, innocent business of two people brought together by circumstance; instead, a ruthless teenage babysitter basically becomes a madame, renting out her friends to the dads of the young children she once babysat. The web of deceit and lies slowly closes in as she tries to maneuver in the dangerous game she’s created.
Despite the fact that the babysitter, Shirley, has quite an excellent knack for business, this movie is all kinds of wrong that illustrates why the thought of babysitters and children’s fathers is at the same time titillating and terrifying. We’d like to think that adults, in general, make good decisions, and act like adults, taking care of themselves, their relationships, and their children in a straightforward manner. This movie just goes to show that passions can sometimes overcome better sense.
With the specters of sex with minors, infidelity, drugs, possible sexual coercion, and even Shirley’s dad getting in on the (ahem) action, it’s kind of surprising to see that it all just kind of goes away in the end. But we’re the ones interested in movies about relationships with babysitters; who are we to judge?
5. Weekend with the Babysitter
It’s hard to tell from this angle whether those are bedroom eyes – or she’s furious.
This movie was made in 1971, and it makes about as much sense as you’d expect from a movie of that era. The story completely dispenses with everything related to babysitting, or children for that matter. It ends up basically being a vehicle for George E. Carey to get it on with a hot young thing. Which we guess is the whole point of the babysitter/father figure relationship movie.
The funniest part is that he actually tries to justify himself. Hey, my wife is a crack-addled criminal, how could I not end up sleeping with the babysitter? You brought this on yourself, woman!
Interestingly, some of the same people got together to make a movie called The Babysitter just a couple of years before this movie. Someone has a thing for babysitters – although in these cases, it’s the babysitters themselves who act as the predators.
6. The Rebound
That’s so sweet! Wait, he’s the babysitter? Uh-oh, judgment time!
It wouldn’t be a proper list if there wasn’t something that threw your preconceived notions of babysitter-parent relationships on their head. In this movie, Catherine Zeta-Jones hires a much younger man to watch her son, and they end up getting romantically entangled. To make matters even more complicated, Catherine’s character Sandy has just gone through a divorce after finding out that her husband was cheating on her. The babysitter Aram’s relationship has just ended as well.
At first, it seems like the magical chemistry spark of having him look after her kids will make their relationship work (although, of course, there is the worry for each that the other person is just a rebound). Then, the issue of their age difference becomes much bigger than they expected, with Sandy making a big deal about it when her fertility comes into question.
At the end of the movie, after a reunion, it looks like the two of them might really get together; however, that’s kind of beside the point. We love exploring the potential scandal that comes when someone gets involved with a person hired to look after his or her children; we’re not as interested in the details of whether they make it work or not!