Release Date: January 27th, 2006 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Celia Imrie, Derek Jacobi, Patrick Barlow, Imelda Staunton, Thomas Sangster, Angela Lansbury.
Directed by Kirk Jones.
BASIC PREMISE: Nanny McPhee uses her magical powers to discipline Mr.Brown’s (Firth) seven misbehaved children.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: From beginning to end, there’s a lot to enjoy in Nanny McPhee . What could have easily been a silly, unfunny mess of a movie turns out to be a fun, magical ride thanks to an almost unrecognizable Emma Thompson. She gives a winning performance as the ugly Nanny McPhee, who flies from up above right onto the doorstep of the Brown family. The seven young Brown children have always found obnoxious ways to force their nannies to quit—until they meet Nanny McPhee. With her magical powers, she forces them to stay in bed. Mr.Brown, who is widowed, must find a wife or else Aunt Adelaide will take one of his children away from him. Angela Lansbury plays mean Aunt Adelaide with amazing conviction; she chews every one of her lines as well as her scenes. In a somewhat funny bit, she confuses a donkey as one of the children. Fortunately, Nanny McPhee feels warm and with likeable characters, unlike in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events . Nanny McPhee turns out to be more kind than you expect her to be and quite funny, too. Each time she pops up out of nowhere beside someone, she playfully says “I did knock!” Not surprisingly, Emma Thompson wrote this brilliantly detailed screenplay which shows how much she loves to make every scene and character count. Besides one unnecessary fart joke, most of the humor works, even when the children use disgusting pranks to stop their father from marrying Selma Quickly (Imrie). The predictable ending manages to be a lot of fun because all of the actors seem to be having a lot fun as well. On top of that, the special effects, make-up, costumes, and set designs all look impressive with vibrant colors which are just as magical as the film itself.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Ultimately, Nanny McPhee feels heartwarming, inspirational, and just plain uplifting. Nanny McPhee is not just any old Nanny. Her ission is to teach the Brown children lessons about life—not just about manners. She wisely says them, “When you don’t want me, but need me, then I must stay; but when you want me, but don’t need me, then I must go.” All-in-all, she’s like a blessing in disguise—literally.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: Magical, delightful, and heartwarming with a winning performance by Emma Thompson!
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "N" Menu