Writer: Emma Thompson (Screenplay) Christianna Brand (Books)
Starring: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Raphael Coleman
Plot: A governess uses magic to rein in the behavior of seven ne’er-do-well children in her charge.
Tagline – You’ll Learn To Love Her. Warts And All.
Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Fun Family Fantasy
Story: Nanny McPhee starts when widow Mr Brown (Firth) is struggling to keep a nanny to care for his seven children led by the oldest Simon (Brodie-Sangster) who has always planned to push the nanny away with schemes that will leave them in terror. Reaching the end of his potential candidates, Mr Brown is drawn to a mystical Nanny McPhee (Thompson).
Nanny McPhee uses different methods to get the children in order, using her magic, with the warning When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. Can the children be put into order before it is too late.
Thoughts on Nanny McPhee
Characters – Nanny McPhee is a magical nanny that comes when families need her most, she uses the magic to push the children into following her rules, letting them learn from their mistakes unlike any previous nanny. Mr Brown is the widowed father of seven that runs a funeral parlour, he has become distant from his children because of the added pressure of needing to find a new wife as h is clearly stricken with the grief in his life. Evangeline is the help around the house, she is learning from the children in a way that sees her being one of the only adults that can get through to them. Simon is the oldest child that plans what the rest get up to, he needs to learn the biggest lessons as the others will look up to him most.
Performances – Emma Thompson is wonderful choice as Nanny McPhee, she always has your attention on screen no matter what she is teaching. Colin Firth is a great choice in this role, he has the fatherly side down and a man that needs to find love. Kelly Macdonald works well in the maid role in the film bring a calm to the chaos the children usually have. Thomas Brodie-Sangster as the lead of the children stars shows that he was one of Britain’s best at the time.
Story – The story follows a widow that must find a new wife within a month, but is struggle to make sure his children have a nanny after they have chased the rest out of town, a magical nanny comes along to save the day and teach the children a lesson. This story does tackle adult themes like grief and learning to communicate with your family after a tragic loss. We don’t overly focus on the serious side of the film because this is meant to be a kids movie, which is fine, which does pose the question just why would somebody have seven kids and not be able to control them. We do get to through the usual life lessons that the children must learn without being anything special.
Comedy/Fantasy – The comedy in the film usually falls into the slightly more immature level which is more for the children audience, the fantasy comes from just how Nanny McPhee operates.
Settings – The film is set in the house that Mr Brown lives in with his children, it shows that he is in the upper class in the time they are living in.
Special Effects – The effects come from how Nanny McPhee pulls her magic to make the life better for the children.
Final Thoughts – This is a simple enjoyable family fantasy film that can be enjoyed by the whole family, it doesn’t bring anything new, but it doesn’t break anything too.
Overall: Fantasy film 101.