Nanny McPhee

2006-07-10 18:12

Nanny McPhee is Emma Thompson’s tale, adapted from the “Nurse Matilda” books by Christianna Brand, about a family and their magical nanny. It tells the story of Cedric Brown and his seven unruly children who have triumphantly driven away 17 nannies employed to care for them since the death of their own mother. Their overtly wealthy Great Aunt Adelaide, who provides enough money for the family to scrape by on, has given Cedric an ultimatum: re-marry within a month or the money will stop. Cue the timely arrival of the hideously ugly Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson).


Emma Thompon’s first screenplay since her Oscar in 1995 for Sense and Sensibility, is a riveting and magical tale for young audiences the world over.

With a cast of some of the British film industry’s heavyweights, you may be a little disappointed by the saccharine sweetness of this formulaic fable. After all, Nanny McPhee is written for a bunch of little girls who haven’t yet discovered Bratz.

But the niche doesn’t mean you’ll be bored to tears when accompanying the kids for a school holiday movie outing. With hints of Lemony Snickett, this film has an extraordinary and enchanting visual appeal. The acid bright colours, fantastical costumes and over the top characters will not fail to enthrall, no matter what your age.

Nanny McPhee herself is possibly the reason the film has been given a PG rating. With no violence, bad language or rampant sex of any sort, the rating can only be attributed to the sheer abhorrence of her well made-up face. The gargantuan warts sprouting tufts of hair, a snaggletooth which resembles a stubby, yellowing stick of gum and a nose as large as a cream donut, are the result of excellent makeup which is expertly applied throughout the movie.

Colin Firth (Mr. Brown) once again plays a character who requires very little backbone, and his droopy eyes and withering smile (on the odd occasion) lend themselves very well to his portrayal of a gloomy widower. Still, it’s hard to resist the urge to reach into the screen and slap him, just to elicit a smattering of true emotion.

Imelda Staunton does a stellar job as the Browns’ red-faced, hyperventilating cook, Thomas Sangster brings to the table his powdery face and blue eyes which sparkle with mischief, and Angela Lansbury is so brilliantly cast as Aunt Adelaide you’ll be terrified of the old goat.

Nanny McPhee is a perfect movie to take the kids to this holiday, but if you feel you just can’t stomach it, send them off with the au pair. They’ll love it, she’ll get to learn a trick or two, and you’ll all live happily ever after.

- Kate Paré
Emma Thompson stars as a governess who uses magic to rein in the behavior of seven fiendishly naughty children in her charge.

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