The Babysitter // notable media

First and foremost the baby sister would be classed as psychological thriller but could also be placed under the many other category’s such as romance, indie and teen. However its a little messed up so its most suit category would be a psychological thriller. A basic synopsis of the film if I were to put it into a sentence would be a look into how the male mind works when a female is placed into the centre; in other words its about three men who all fantasize  about the babysitter, pretty bog standard right?

Wrong, the film questions so many social norms and talks about things that are classed as socially unacceptable and also illegal concepts. The film also has gender representations that are very strong in its stereotypes of how males and females act. But I suppose the film would also be pretty normal as it follow general editing conventions expected to see in a psychological thriller.

Although I’d love to just ramble on about the film I need to but it into context and relate it to what my own work, so to do this I’m going to talk about the opening scene and some of its general conventions. one of the very first things you notice are the stark titles bang in the centre of the screen, in a typical 90’s style of white writing with a shadow behind. However what I find intriguing is the font, the style of the writing is in serif but the film is predominately about males could this just be carelessness? or could have an underlying message (probably not but I’m gonna say yes anyway). If we were to look at it having an underlying message I would say that because the titles are in the middle in a feminine font in a very masculine scene it shows how femininity is stuck in the middle of a ‘mans world’.  Apart from the font there isn’t really anything that exciting to talk about in terms of camera but there is some interesting composition and mis-en-scene choices…

when we first get introduced to Mark ( or the antagonist in media terms) he is portrayed as the typical bad boy of the 90’s, sleek back hair, leather jacket and a cigarette firmly tucked into his lips but never the less a harmless lad or so it seems. We also get introduced to Jack (the male protagonist) who is sat in an empty diner reading his book and eating a disgusting sandwich, but the most interesting thing about jack is that his style is not something that can be defined or placed in a box he seems to be a combination of different stereotypes; he wears round circular glasses commonly worn on nerds or geeks, but then his clothing speaks otherwise with a baseball jacket suggesting he is interested in sport by adding different features to the character we not only see a more modern representation it creates a more realistic relatable character.

Janine ( the female protagonist) is a character subjected to many feminine  ideology’s but if we look at it from her perspective we see that the way she views herself is very different. From the men’s perspective Janine dresses provocatively with big lips and exposed legs but then when we see Janine’s perspective  she thinks of herself in a completely different way, she is wearing a t-shirt to cover herself up underneath her dress and tries to keep herself to herself ( much to the dismay of the men)

The more I think about this film the more I realise how quite disturbing it actually is, how little power Janine had over what the men thought of her and how easy it was for her to end up in a line of abuse through her only going to a house to babysit. for the next bit to make sense I need to introduce you to some more characters; we have Jimmy who is young boy who Janine is babysitting, we have Barry the dad of the child she’s baby sitting and of course you’ve already met Mark and jack. Every single one of these people have there own thoughts about Janine and there own situations.

Although Jimmy isn’t a very established character his mise-en-scene reveals quite an insight into his life. For starters the inside of his room is very boyish with soft plush toys action men a typical boys room, I mean like he went to bed with a dinosaur teddy! but then he brings out a rude magazine which as a viewer watching this can be quite disturbing to see a little boy looking and thinking about things he shouldn’t be. To me it speaks about our sex driven society that from a young age we drill into young boys that the ultimate goal is to have a girl, or that the objectification of women is okay as long as its for the pleasure of men. Are we starting to see how disturbing this film is?

If Jimmy wasn’t  enough for you then how about we look at Barry who looks to be in his 50’s, who is married and also has three children. Now Barry to me is on a different level to Jimmy as what Barry displays is paedophilia although he doesn’t act on his actions his thoughts are twisted and sickening to watch. Barry from the start looked like a typical man of the house who does as he pleases but also relies on his wife to do his bidding its not until later on in the film  we start to see what Barry is really thinking. Although his thoughts are of a creepy nature, there is some interesting techniques in there; in Barry’s ideal world he is slimmer, dresses better and has slick back hair ( just like Mark). I think by doing this it shows how from other peoples perspective we view ourselves and others very differently to what things really are and as a viewer we begin to see what these characters are really like.

I’m not really to sure what to make of this film, its strange and twisted but it tells a real life scenario of what some men think of young girls and how normal they perceive it to be, from my perspective its wrong and from Janine’s but from the men’s perspective they perceive it to be okay until someone ends up dead (spoiler) and damage is actually done.

Watch at your own risk…


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