Deadly Illusions (2021 Netflix)
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Kristin Davis, Shanola Hampton
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Synopsis (via Netflix)
A bestselling female novelist suffering from writer’s block hires an innocent young woman to watch over her twin children. As the novelist dangerously indulges in her new best-seller, the line between the life she’s writing and the one she’s living becomes blurred.
The movie begins in a foggy ass town by the water. This town is so mall it still has a bookstore. (Remember those?) Mary Morrison is a town hero writing a popular series of thriller books. She has a handsome husband and two cutie twin kids. (With elaborate handshakes.) Her publishers visit because they are in trouble financially. Darlene threatens Mary’s perfect existence suggesting she will reveal Mary’s smut when she was a struggling author. I don’t know what is happening because then Mary gets an advance letter for two million dollars?
Instead of talking about it with her husband, Tom, they have old people sex. (Where they cover their bodies with blankets and roll around.) Later Tom admits to making bad deals with half of their reserves. They need the money.
Mary showers with her friend Elaine and they talk about taking the advance. Elaine suggests hiring a nanny, so Mary can work on her book full-time. Mary sets up an appointment with the nanny service. They schedule interviews with potential nannies.
Cue an interview montage set to a creepy piano version of “Frère Jacques” . Mary isn’t impressed with anyone until she meets Grace. A bookish blonde woman with incredible posture and manners. Grace and Mary bond over shared favorite authors and book quotes. Mary steps out to take a phone call, and Grace bonds with the kids. Mary is impressed and asks Grace to help out for a week. Once Grace finds out that Mary is a writer of BOOKS, she is overjoyed.
Grace takes the kids on a picnic and plays in the pool with them. Tom meets Grace while she is wearing a “sexy” one piece. Tom is so turned on her, takes Mary, and they have sex in the pantry while Grace puts the kids to bed. Her first day is a success.
The next day, Grace makes Mary writing snacks and helps her when she cuts her foot. Mary is uninspired to write and take Grace shopping for some new bras. There is some awkward sexual tension.
Mary smokes a cigar and watches Grace change. Then she starts fantasizing about Grace during writing meetings. Mary admits her feelings to Elaine, who helps her try to figure it out while they work out. Elaine suggests using the confusing sexual attraction for the book.
Mary inexplicably writes her book in a notepad while topless by the pool. Then she asks Grace to put some suntan lotion on her back, which turns into a massage, and then skinny dipping. They then drink whiskey and sodas and dance around to records. This is so weird.
Sexual situations keep happening. Including some making out on the couch, milk, and rose petal bath with HJs (Can girls her HJs?) Every time Mary awakens confused. Was it a fantasy, or was it real?
Mary channels the frustration into her work and starts writing even more on unlined loose-leaf paper. (She might as well be using a quill!) While she works and smokes more cigars. Tom takes Grace out for some breakfast. Grace makes moves on him too and “innocently” flirty with him.
Three weeks later. Grace and Mary go out bike ride and a picnic with wine! They are celebrating Mary’s first draft of her novel. Mary reads poems to Grace, and Grace caresses her body. Then they makeout.
Elaine starts to suspect Grace is up to no good. She tries to warn Mary that she thinks Tom might be sleeping with Grace. Little does Elaine know, Mary is sleeping with Grace. (Like in the kitchen while her kids and husband are out for a walk.) So are Grace and Tom… except Grace is dominant over Tom. Mary wakes up and goes down to dinner, and freaks out on Grace in front of her family. Mary is having a hard time understanding what reality is anymore. (Me neither, actually.)
It is Tom and Mary’s anniversary. Mary calls the nanny call center about an uncashed check for Grace’s services. The agency has never had a Grace work for them. Mary goes into Nancy Drew mode and is suddenly concerned about who the hell has been taken care of her children, her husband, and her sexual needs for the pase few weeks.
Mary heads to the library, where a speed typing librarian looks up Grace’s recently checked-out books. (Mary doesn’t even know Grace’s last name.) When she visits Elaine at work, Mary is horrified to find her friend dead—stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors. Detectives question Mary because her fingerprints are on the murder weapon. She is the main suspect.
Tom shows up with a lawyer and gets her out of it. He tells her that she might not be remembering what she is doing and suffering from PTSD?
Mary drives two hours to talk to Grace’s aunt. It turns out Grace was abused as a child and sent to live with her aunt, who has a split personality. Grace worked at the gym where Elaine and Mary were talking about hiring a nanny; she overheard the conversation and plots how to get into the family.
Tom takes a shower, and we see some Dermot Mulroney booty. (Thank you, Netflix.) Grace shows up in some S&M wear and a knife. She tells him she is insane and slashes his stomach with her kife. He throws a potted plant at her…
Mary shows up at the house and interrupts Grace’s slasher show. Mary finds Tom in the shower and throws towels on him. She tells Grace to call 911. Grace does, but she also has a split personality named Margaret, who overtakes her. They wrestle in the kitchen, and Mary takes off some of Grace’s scalp with a blender. Mary eventually knocks Grace out with a flower pot. Then she cradles her in her arms as the police arrive.
One year later, Mary and Tom are back to raising their kids in their perfect home. They play soccer in the yard. Mary finishes her book and dedicates it to Elaine. Then Mary visits Grace in her mental institution, where she has reverted to a child… Umm okay? What.
Minority Report: Elaine, Kioki, Darlene, Nanny Interviewees, Greg, Detective,
It should have been a Lifetime Movie!
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