Sundance 2022: The Babysitter Review

The Babysitter just won’t shut the hell up. Actress Monia Chokri offers an ambitious sophomore feature as a director with this #MeToo satire. Chokri displays a promising visual skill and a willingness to push the envelope. However, The Babysitter dials it up to 11 and never slows down. This is a manic and exhausting battle of the sexes farce.

The hijinks begin with a risqué look at a middle-aged architect, Cédric (Patrick Hivron), who finds himself in trouble after kissing a reporter on air. It’s a gross extension of his everyday sexism and misogyny. He can’t order a coffee without sneaking a look at a waitress’s chest—even when seeking advice on misconduct. Cédric finds himself suspended from his job and in search of atonement. It doesn’t help matters, though, that he’s stuck at home with his girlfriend, Nadine (Chokri), and their wailing baby. He tries to improve his situation by co-authoring a book with his brother, Jean-Michel (Steve Laplante), but the effort simply lets them revisit old scores. Boys will be boys will be boys.

Where Hivron is a manic tornado of boisterous machismo, Chokri is drolly subdued. Cédric’s recent actions have opened Nadine’s eyes to what an idiot her partner is. She wants out. To help the predicament, Nadine hires a babysitter, Amy (Nadia Tereszkiewicz), but the plan backfires spectacularly.

Lolita the Babysitter

Amy, see, is a perky and bubbly young blonde. She’s just Cédric’s type. She’s also an airhead and very comfortable with her sexuality. Keen to seem professional, she buys a maid outfit, which Nadine, Cédric, and Jean-Michel immediately recognize as a fetish costume. However, Amy’s presence finally arouses Cédric’s interest in domestic life. Jean-Michel’s too.


As the inevitable lusting ensues, the screenplay by Catherine Léger, adapting her own play, skewers political correctness. Very few of the jokes land, however, because they come with such non-stop fury. Men and women both come off terribly here, and the surreal mania of The Babysitter doesn’t offer much in the way of social commentary, aside from having a good laugh and encouraging audiences to accept the reality that sex is sex. Everyone will always have it on the brain, especially dumb horny men.

The repartee is witty and relentless, and it just doesn’t give anyone—the actors or the audience—a moment to breathe. Going all in is admirable, but gonzo comedy often needs those pauses—breaths, emotional beats—to hit the laughs home. Nadine looks exhausted in every frame of The Babysitter. So too will any viewer who catches his or her reflection in the screen.

The Babysitter premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.