Martha and Ethel is a documentary by Jyll Johnstone and Barbara Ettinger profiling the nannies who raised them. Martha fled Nazi Germany and spent 30 years overseeing the upbringing of five Johnstone children. She comes across as a strict disciplinarian who loosens up the older she gets.
Ethel Edwards, an African-American from South Carolina where her relatives were sharecroppers, looked after the Ettinger children with warm affection and love. The filmmakers interview the nannies, the children, and the parents. The result is an interesting look at a profession that is becoming increasingly important as more and more parents are abandoning child raising responsibilities in favor of careers. Most importantly, Martha and Ethel probes how this has played out in the psyches of the children whose parents were distant from them.