Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 7
Ismail Merchant, the producing half of the Merchant-Ivory team, takes a turn at directing: a mid-Fifties period piece about a dark-skinned, self-deluded Anglo-Indian nurse ("My father was an officer in the British regiment"), who takes over the care of an undernourished Anglo baby, insinuates herself into the household, undermines the native butler, pilfers from the larder, helps herself to madam's wardrobe, and in general forgets her place. The movie has ample production values (an especially fine collection of dresses), atmospheric locales, an interesting protagonist, a capable lead actress (Madhur Jaffrey), and a whole bouquet of social issues, but it just plods and plods, refusing to come to life. With Greta Scacchi, James Wilby, Neena Gupta, Sakina Jaffrey. 2000.