Saturday movie review: Like Sunday, Like Rain

I've been intrigued with the idea of nannies since long-ago watching Julie Andrews make a magical, musical difference with her charges in MARY POPPINS and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. While parents seemingly blew off their children, a nanny could make a child's world far more enriched and delightful than parents would likely ever manage.

Like Sunday, Like Rain

I longed for such adventures as a child. I still can't help but fall in love with books and movies featuring nannies who—often unexpectedly—become far more beloved, important, and relevant to the children they care for than the kiddos' parents could hope to be.

LIKE SUNDAY, LIKE RAIN is one such movie. And though it ranks nowhere near the aforementioned musicals, I enjoyed the 104 minutes I spent with the unlikely nanny and the young prodigy she cared for.

Written and directed by actor Frank Whaley (PULP FICTION, THE DOORS among the many), LIKE SUNDAY, LIKE RAIN is a tender story of two Manhattanites from seemingly different worlds who, over mere months, forge a life-changing bond.

Leighton Meester plays Eleanor, a 23-year-old woman down on her luck after (wisely) ending her relationship with a boor of a boyfriend (Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day) who then cost Eleanor her waitress job. She follows the advice of a friend and applies for a nanny position despite having no experience. The rich and uninvolved mother (Debra Messing) wastes no time hiring Eleanor to care for her socially awkward 12-year-old prodigy, Reggie (Julian Shatkin in his screen debut). Eleanor and Reggie—both leading lonely lives—become fast friends.


LIKE SUNDAY, LIKE RAIN is unquestionably a character-driven film, with the unfolding of the friendship between Eleanor and Reggie being the focus. No high action here. Which I liked. It's a quiet film with quiet performances. Whaley created unique characters repleat with flaws and fears that the actors brought perfectly, poignantly to life.

The chemistry between Meester and Shatkin makes their connection feel all the more real. There was, thankfully, no hoky baloney spouted by Reggie, who borders on genius. He played smart, strong, determined, and seemingly older and wiser than his years throughout rather than blurting adolescent goofiness as his character might have been written just to get laughs or add a sexual undertone to the relationship.

The intimate feel of the low-key film is strengthened by lovely cinematography. And by haunting music, a prominent theme throughout LIKE SUNDAY, LIKE RAIN. Eleanor's slacker ex is a musician. Reggie is an accomplished cellist and composer. Eleanor has a musical history of her own (which I won't spoil). And, of course, there's the lovely score.

Based on the subtleties, sweetness, and memorable characters of LIKE SUNDAY, LIKE RAIN, I look forward to more from Frank Whaley, as a writer and as a director. He's created a beautiful film, the type I wish there were more of.

LIKE SUNDAY, LIKE RAIN (rated R "for language") opened theatrically—primarily at film festivals—in 2014. It's now available on DVD and digitally. Find out more on the film's official website.