The Manny: Is the Lifetime Movie Based on a True Story?

‘The Manny,’ directed by Doug Campbell, introduces us to celebrity chef Lani, who is on the brink of launching her own cooking show and needs a nanny for her young son, Jaylen. Despite preferring a female candidate, she’s swayed by the charming and handsome Morgan, who quickly bonds with Jaylen and comes with stellar references. Initially, life seems smoother with Morgan around, but Lani soon finds herself isolated from her loved ones as Morgan manipulates situations to make Lani doubt their trustworthiness.

However, suspicions arise when Lani’s personal assistant dies under bizarre circumstances. By the time Lani begins to connect the dots, Morgan has dug his claws deep into Lani’s life and refuses to leave the family he never had. The story of the Lifetime thriller film can raise alarms for many audience members as it depicts the deception of someone whom families trust with their precious children, prompting the question — is it based on an actual incident?

The Manny Puts a Thrilling Spin on the Obsessive Nanny Trope

‘The Manny’ is a fictional movie that taps into one of the deepest fears a parent can have. Yet, its narrative may elicit a feeling of familiarity. This is likely due to a plethora of thriller films that follow the storyline of a manipulating nanny. Additionally, there have also been real-life criminal cases of nannies failing in their duties or abusing their positions. The most similar film to ‘The Manny’ is ‘Manny Dearest,’ another Lifetime production. The 2019 movie follows single mother Karen Clark, who hires a male nanny, Alex, to help her at home with her two sons. While Alex seems very helpful at first, his twisted desires of wanting the family for himself are soon brought to light.

A positive version of the Doug Campbell directorial can be found in Netflix’s ‘The Manny,’ which follows a charming manny as he helps out a soon-to-be divorced mother with her three energetic children. Compared to the majority of killer nanny films, Lifetime’s ‘The Manny’ switches the nanny’s gender, presenting the less common instance of a male nanny being hired to look after children. In fact, a real-life incident of a male nanny being caught for his criminal acts took place in California. Matthew Zakrzewski began working as a nanny through a middle school program. He became interested in the work and eventually started making a career as a manny, accumulating more than six years of experience in childcare.

However, in 2023, 34-year-old Matthew Zakrzewski was convicted of 34 felonies, including 27 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14. Between 2014 and 2019, Zakrzewski molested 16 boys under his care between the ages of 2 and 14. His atrocities first came to light in May 2019 when one of the children’s parents called the police on Zakrzewski for inappropriately touching her 8-year-old son. The following police investigation uncovered eleven more victims across Southern California, with incidents dating back to 2014.

Disturbingly, Zakrzewski took pride in his work, and despite his conviction, did not apologize to the victim’s families. ”I prided myself on bringing smiles to your children and all the good times we shared were 100 percent genuine,” he said to the families in court, in the presence of the judge. For his numerous crimes and his complete lack of remorse, Matthew Zakrzewski was sentenced to 707 years in prison. Though the movie isn’t inspired by this particular case, it does have indirect roots in reality. Thus, we reiterate that ‘The Manny’ is a fictional tale that adds to an array of movies with murderous and obsessive nannies or mannies.

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