Several times during the creepy psychological, paediatrical, thriller Joshua, stressed parents Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga are told to “just get a nanny”. If only they had, they may have got Scarlett Johansson and Joshua would have become a romantic comedy with a bit of soft social commentary. Instead, they plough on parenting proudly, heedless of the damage being done by troubled elder-son Joshua (Jacob Kogan), until it is too late.
Rockwell and Farmiga are a wealthy Manhattan couple. He investment banks for bully Chester Fields (Michael McKean from Spinal Tap) while she unravels at home. When new baby Lily arrives 9 year old Joshua, a strangely self-possessed preppy child with that inability to blink that in Hollywood usually signals significant psychological disorder or demonic possession, starts systematically destroying the family – including pets and grandmothers – in order to preserve it.