Film & Video
1 min

The nanny

Protagonist Margarita provides the under-appreciated glue of life

Nicola Correia Damude plays an endearing 20-something who can fix everyone’s problems but her own. Credit: Coutesy of Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Margarita is an endearing, 20-something Latina lesbian who is a fantastic nanny, an amazing cook, electrician, roofer and all-around handywoman. In fact, she appears to be capable of fixing almost everyone’s problems — except her own.

Margarita (played by the compelling Nicola Correia Damude) didn’t so much move to Canada as move away from Mexico, leaving home after the death of her parents and grandparents.

Her six years living illegally in Toronto have been both fruitful and complex. In her work as a live-in nanny, she brings buoyancy to an otherwise emotionally flatlined family and is the only adult deeply involved in raising the home’s 14-year-old resident, Mali (whose power-couple parents, Gail and Ben, remain too wrapped up in their own lives to care).

In her non-work life, Margarita has a passionate but flawed relationship with her lover, Jane, an Annette Bening-esque law student who — though clearly desirous of her — keeps Margarita at bay. Six months into their affair, she has still not introduced Margarita to her family or friends, or even invited her home.

For a while, all parties coast along, but things quickly unravel when Gail and Ben’s “perfect” marriage comes apart at the seams. Their expensive home and lifestyle are at risk when it becomes clear that they have been living well beyond their means financially.

As Gail and Ben struggle to afford to keep their nanny, they realize just how much work Margarita does to keep their house in order and, more importantly, how much their daughter has flourished under Margarita’s care.

Similarly, Jane, who has refused all conversations related to commitment, sees Margarita’s wonderful qualities only once their relationship is in jeopardy.

As Margarita tries to grab the reins of her own life, an accident causes everyone to realize how much value Margarita brings to so many people in her world.

Although its screenplay is not particularly compelling, the well-acted Margarita has won several awards since its release last year, including the Audience Award at France’s 2012 Women’s International Film Festival and the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature at Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival in 2012.