Best Films About Child Care, Ranked

Children can sometimes be a handful, as anyone that’s spent considerable time with them can attest, but children also represent vulnerability. To be put in the unenviable position of being in charge of said children is a role of huge responsibility and one that has been explored frequently throughout the history of cinema.

Those without children of their own often underestimate the patience required in dealing with kids on a daily basis, which is why so often babysitters find themselves underprepared and ill-equipped for the task at hand. This ‘ill-prepared’ babysitter trope has been played for laughs in countless comedies over the years such as Hulk Hogan’s questionable attempt at child care in Mr. Nanny or, similarly, Jackie Chan’s movie The Spy Next Dooror Vin Diesel’s performance in The Pacifier.

But this role of responsibility isn’t always played for laughs, as there’s also been numerous times when the trope has been included in horror movies like Halloweenwhere the babysitter too often finds themselves the target of mass murder slasher villains, or psychological thrillers like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, in which the nanny themselves could potentially be the villain. With this in mind, the below list takes a look at the all-time greatest movies in which the role of child care plays an integral part to the plot.

Related: Netflix’s The Lost Daughter & 5 Other Movies That Portray the Darker Side of Parenthood

7 Nanny McPhee

Based on the Nurse Matilda character created by Christianna Brand, the snaggle-toothed Nanny McPhee won the hearts, not just of the Brown children left in her care after the passing of their mother, but of millions of viewers worldwide. Nanny McPhee went on to become a huge hit, grossing over $ 100 million and spawning a sequel Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang. By no means instantly appealing and with a hard outer shell, Nanny McPhee, played with true conviction by Emma Thompson, brought a stern but fair influence on the Brown family with a slight hint of magic, reminiscent of a certain Ms. Mary Poppins.

6 Adventures in Babysitting

In the late 80s, a young unknown director took on the task of directing his first feature film. The director was Chris Columbus, and the movie was Adventures in Babysitting. And while its undeniable that Columbus went on to bigger and better things, including some of the most successful and beloved movies of all time like the first two Home Alone movies and the first two Harry Potter installments, the early signs of his potential greatness were definitely emerging. This fantastically over-the-top family comedy romp follows the exploits of a teen babysitter and the children she’s so desperately trying to keep out of trouble.

5 The Babysitter

Featuring a stellar cast of some of Hollywood’s finest fresh-faced superstars of the future including Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell, and Bella Thorne, The Babysitter, was somewhat of a surprise hit for Netflix. The plot begins with a 12-year-old boy discovering that his crush (and babysitter) is part of a satanic cult, and it ends with blood, guts, murder, and mayhem. The movie finds a nice balance between genuine horror and plenty of self-referential, tongue-in-cheek humor. Clearly influenced by classic horrors of the 80s, most of which is played for laughs, there is some genuine heart to be found, acting as the perfect homage to a classic era for horror.

4 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Taking a slightly darker turn with a genuinely terrifying thriller that keeps the viewers’ hearts in their throats throughout. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle follows the story of a pregnant woman whose husband kills himself after he is accused of sexual misconduct by his patients. Following a nasty miscarriage as a result of the shock, she poses as a nanny for one of her husband’s accusers, and slowly begins to infiltrate the family, as she begins to lose grasp of her own mental sanity. A dark but enjoyable thrill ride that was a huge hit at the box office grossing around $ 140 million on a budget of just under $ 12 million.

Related: Best Family Movies on Netflix to Watch With Your Kids

3 Mrs. Doubtfire

The second entry on the list from director Chris Columbus, Mrs. Doubtfire is an all-time classic and a favorite of anyone who grew up in the 90s. The child carer here is the wonderful, elderly British nanny Mrs. Doubtfire. Obviously, it’s not giving too much away by revealing that she is, in fact, actually the children’s father, disguising himself as a woman in order to spend more time with his family and navigate a way around the visitation rights that are imposed on him. A wildly original concept is bolstered by Robin Williams’ dual performance as both the nanny and the father. Full of hilarious quips, improv, and sight gags, Mrs. Doubtfire also features a fair bit of heart and emotion.

2 Uncle Buck

Released in 1989, Uncle Buck is a hilarious comedy written and directed by the legendary John Hughes, and starring the late, great John Candy, with Amy Madigan, Jean Louisa Kelly, Macaulay Culkin, Gaby Hoffmann, Garrett M. Brown, and Elaine Bromka in supporting roles. It tells the story of a slobbish, boorish, bachelor who is called in to babysit his brother’s difficult kids while the parents go away. It marked the fourth time Hughes had worked with Candy and like National Lampoon’s Vacation, Planes, Trains and Automobilesand The Great Outdoors before it, and Home Alone after, it’s pure comedy magic, like only they could produce.

1 Mary Poppins

Nominated for 13 Academy Awards and winning five, including Best Visual Effects and Best Actress for Julie Andrews as the titular character (her first ever major role), it’s not surprising Mary Poppins wash selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film follows ‘magical’ nanny Mary Poppins, who visits a dysfunctional family in London and employs her unique brand of lifestyle to improve the family’s dynamic. The fantastic inclusion of animation in this live-action feature sees Mary Poppins flying above rooftops with her umbrella and Dick Van Dyke dancing with penguins.

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