We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Our health-care system rests, to a sizable degree, upon the shoulders of Filipino doctors, nurses, patient-care specialists and caregivers. There is a reason for this. Medical schools in the Philippines produce many graduates who take such jobs in North America, where there is a perennial shortage.
One of the central stories in "Mammoth" involves a Filipino nanny who cares for rich children in Manhattan while her own children at home live in relative poverty and tell her on the phone how much they miss her. The film intends to make us feel guilty that such people care for us and not for their own. I don't buy that. At least in the case of the Filipinos I've known, they worked hard to win jobs over here, are sending much of their income home, are saving to bring over their kids and are urging them to get an education to help them find jobs when they get here. It certainly helps that English is one of the national languages.
In a world of massive inequality, they're at least taking those direct measures available to them to improve their family situations. Only superficial thinking about global reality would lead a Swedish-born director like Lukas Moodysson to offer the sentimental simplifications in "Mammoth," which cuts back and forth between a lucky American kid at a planetarium and her nanny's children telling her they love her in a phone call. This is hard, but it's harder to be unable to feed your children or offer them a future.
These matters don't make this a bad movie. It's very well acted and is about a good deal more than the nanny. As the parents, Leo and Ellen, it stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams (in her first lead since "Wendy and Lucy"). The two other leads are Gloria (Marife Necesito), as the nanny, and Cookie (Run Srinikornchot), as a bar girl whom Leo meets while on a business trip to Thailand.