The Nanny Diaries is a 2007 American comedy-drama film, based on the novel of the same name by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. Written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, it stars Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and Laura Linney; and was produced by Richard N. Gladstein.
21-year-old Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johansson), has just graduated from Montclair State University. She has no idea what or who she wants to be. One day, while sitting in the park, Annie sees a young boy about to be hit by a vehicle. Annie saves him and meets the boy's mother, who we meet as Mrs. X (Laura Linney). When she introduces herself as "Annie", Mrs. X mistakes her words for "Nanny" and hires her to look after Grayer (Nicholas Art), the boy she saved (Mrs. X also continues to call her "Nanny" instead of "Annie" throughout the film). Annie lies to her mother about taking a job at a bank and, in reality, moves in with the X's to be the nanny for Grayer.
Life with the incredibly privileged X's is not what she thought it would be, and her life is complicated further when she falls for "Harvard Hottie" (Chris Evans), who lives in the building. Interspersed with her life as the X's nanny are her interactions with "Harvard Hottie" as well as her longtime friend Lynette (Alicia Keys). She also continues to keep her mother in the dark about her real job, giving her regular but false progress reports about her job. Further complications arise when her Mom decides to visit her, forcing Annie to pretend Lynette and her roommate are a couple and that their apartment is Annie's apartment. Her mother finds out the truth when Annie desperately calls her for help during a scary moment when Grayer becomes severely ill.
After a rough start, Annie eventually bonds with Grayer and discovers that he is actually a sweet and loving child who is neglected by both his parents. Parallel to this, Annie begins to also notice that Grayer is not the only one being neglected: Mrs. X is as well, with Mr. X (Paul Giamatti) constantly being cruel to her and committing subtly obvious adultery. Mrs. X makes numerous attempts to make her husband love her, including telling him she is pregnant with their second child. Annie soon realizes that Mrs. X's own cruel treatment of her is due to Mrs. X's growing frustrations from her dysfunctional marriage.
Things take a turn for the worse during a family trip with the X's to Nantucket. She overhears Mrs. X telling a friend during a party that she has installed a 'nanny cam' at their home in the city and plans to fire Annie after viewing footage showing Annie lovingly tending to Grayer (with Mrs. X grossly exaggerating her findings from the 'nanny cam'), Mr. X attempts to seduce Annie by inappropriately grabbing her just as Mrs. X enters the kitchen, resulting in Annie getting fired and sent back to the city with her final payment ... of just $40 (along with a puppy Mr. X had given Grayer when they arrived in the Hamptons but foisted off on her as she was leaving). Flying into a rage, she looks for and finds the 'nanny cam' in the X's house and records her feelings toward the X's. Mrs. X brings the tape to the school meeting for the Upper East Side mothers. Thinking that the tape will show Annie feeding Grayer peanut butter and jelly, she requests the coordinator to play it for everyone to see. All other parents in the room hear as Annie reveals the real relationship between the X's, in the process making Mrs. X come to terms with her own reality and false happiness.
Annie continues to date "Harvard Hottie", whose real name is revealed to be Hayden. She is temporarily living with Lynette and her roommate, and pursuing her growing interest in anthropology, much of which she learned through her time as the X's nanny.
A few months later, Hayden hands her a letter from Mrs. X. Written in the letter is an apology and news about how Mrs. X left Mr. X (and that her second pregnancy was a false one that Mrs. X invented to keep Mr. X interested in her), is raising Grayer alone and making stronger attempts to bond with him (and successfully doing so), and Grayer's overall improvement. She expresses her gratitude to Annie for waking her up and changing her life. Also in the letter, Mrs. X addresses Annie for the first time by her real name (instead of Nanny), and signs the letter with her own first name, Alexandra (instead of Mrs. X).
Scarlett Johansson as Annie 'Nanny' Braddock Chris Evans as Hayden "Harvard Hottie" Laura Linney as Mrs. Alexandra X Paul Giamatti as Mr. Stan X Nicholas Art as Grayer Addison X Donna Murphy as Judy Braddock Alicia Keys as Lynette Nina Garbiras as Miss Chicago Brande Roderick as Tanya Heather Simms as Murnel Julie White as Jane Gould Judith Roberts as Milicent