Johanna Parry (Kristen Wiig) is a profoundly shy, unadorned woman who is hired by Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) as a housekeeper and a primary caregiver to his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). Despite her outgoing nature, Sabitha carries wounds from the death of her mother years before, complicated by the circumstances of that death for which her grandfather still blames her father, Ken (Guy Pearce), a hapless recovering drug addict with a certain ragged charm. In an act of mean-spirited rebellion, Sabitha uses technology to foster a pseudo-relationship between Johanna and her father, never dreaming of the potential harm to either party. Sabitha doesn't understand that Johanna is not a demure cut-out, but rather a woman for whom the phrase "still waters run deep" could have been coined. The young girl's interference provokes Johanna to indulge in something long missing from her life: the dream of a future and a home of her own.
Liza Johnson most recently directed the critically acclaimed Return (2011) starring Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon, and John Slattery. The film premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section at Cannes in 2011, and was distributed by Focus World in 2012. Her short films include Karrabing, co-directed with Elizabeth Povinelli (2012), In the Air (2009) and South of Ten (2006). Johnson's work has been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals, including the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art as well as the Cannes, New York, Berlin, and Rotterdam Film Festivals. She has been a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm and the Sundance Institute, and has published a number of articles and interviews about art and film. She holds an MFA in Visual Art from UC San Diego and a BA in Art and English from Williams College, where she is currently Professor of Art. Johnson was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, USA.