Emma Thompson stars and writes this fantasy/comedy film about a widowed father looking for a nanny to help raise his seven children. The father, Cedric Brown, played by Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’s Diary) can’t find any one willing to attend to his children until Nanny McPhee appears.
Thompson’s entrance sets a perfect tone for dealing with the conflicts and challenges that overwhelmed 17 previous nannies. Thomas Sangster (Love Actually) plays the oldest child, Simon, who’s confident his previous tactics will drive McPhee away. McPhee makes subtle points with a “Hmm” instead of lengthy, judgmental dialogue (ideal for young viewers) when observing the family’s behavior. Her appearance, caring confidence and five rules create a unique interaction with each family member.
The children’s new nanny patiently teaches them lessons they’ll need to help their father in his most stressful times. Cedric’s wealthy, overbearing Aunt Adelaide, well played by Angela Lansbury (TV’s Murder She Wrote), demands his subordination in exchange for her financial assistance. The arrangement
The film has an unusually high level of acting talent even for the smaller roles, especially Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) as the cook and Sir Derek Jacobi (Gladiator, Dead Again) as Cedric’s co-worker. Evangeline Kelly Macdonald (Gosford Park, Finding Neverland) also plays an important role as one of Cedric’s servants. Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine) directed the film, which contains excellent set designs, costumes and settings.
Thompson wrote the screenplay (based on the “Nurse Matilda” books by Christianna Brand) with a nice mix of silliness and seriousness. This satisfying family comedy is recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated PG for crude humor, language and themes including some mortician scenes.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler