Watch The Babysitters
- 1 hr 30 min
In 2007, writer-director David Ross brought audiences The Babysitters, a tense, emotionally-charged drama that follows a teenage girl named Shirley Lyner (played by Lauren Birkell) who becomes a high-end call girl to make extra cash. The film explores a variety of themes, from peer pressure to adolescent sexual awakening, and features a talented cast of young actors.
Set in suburban New Jersey, The Babysitters centers on Shirley, a smart but directionless high schooler who stumbles into a lucrative job opportunity when a married man asks her to watch his children. When he offers her more money to have sex with him, Shirley is initially disgusted but ultimately decides to go through with it. Soon, she's recruiting other babysitters to join her enterprise, and before long, the girls are running their own escort service for affluent men in the community.
As Shirley and her troupe of babysitters navigate the murky waters of sex work, they find themselves at odds with their peers, their parents, and their own moral codes. Things come to a head when one of their clients turns up murdered, and the girls are forced to confront the consequences of their actions.
The Babysitters was praised for its nuanced performances, particularly Birkell's turn as Shirley. The actress brings a vulnerability to the role that makes viewers sympathize with her, even as she participates in activities that are morally ambiguous at best. The relationship between Shirley and her best friend, Melissa (played by Chira Cassel), is also a highlight of the film. Melissa begins as the voice of reason in the pair, cautioning Shirley against getting involved in the sex trade. However, as the two girls grow closer, Melissa's own desires and insecurities come to light, leading to a rift in their friendship.
Paul Borghese, who plays Shirley's main client, is also noteworthy. He imbues his character with a sense of menace that makes it clear he's not to be trusted, even as he lures Shirley further into his web. The rest of the cast, which includes John Leguizamo, Katherine Waterston, and Cynthia Nixon, is strong as well.
Despite its heavy subject matter, The Babysitters is shot in a way that is almost dreamlike. The colors are muted, the lighting is soft, and the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful. This stylistic choice serves to heighten the film's emotional impact, making the viewer feel powerless as they watch Shirley and her friends spiral out of control.
One of the film's major themes is the blurred line between childhood and adulthood. The babysitters may be shrewd enough to run a successful prostitution ring, but they're also still grappling with adolescent angst and identity crises. As they struggle to reconcile their desires with society's expectations of them, they make mistakes that have lasting consequences.
The Babysitters didn't receive wide distribution upon its release, but it did earn positive reviews from critics who praised its unflinching portrayal of teenage sexuality and its exploration of the complicated power dynamics at play in the world of sex work. Ross's direction is deft and assured, and he never shies away from the dark places the story takes him.
Overall, The Babysitters is a challenging but rewarding film that delves into complex subject matter with grace and sensitivity. Its talented cast and striking visuals make it a memorable viewing experience, one that sticks with you long after the credits roll.
The Babysitters is a 2007 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.6 and a MetaScore of 35.