NANNY MCPHEE (2006)
Starring Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Raphaël Coleman, Sam Honywood, Holly Gibbs, Hebe Barnes, Zinnia Barnes, Angela Lansbury, Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Berrington, Derek Jacobi, Patrick Barlow, Adam Godley, Claire Downes, Phyllida Law, Freya Fumic and Eleanor McCready.
Screenplay by Emma Thompson.
Directed by Kirk Jones.
Distributed by Universal Pictures. 99 minutes. Rated PG.
Emma Thompson’s second screenwriting effort is certainly a world removed from her first – the adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. That stolid and repressed literary variation does have a basically similar bent to this version of classic kid lit, though. This is also a supremely British tale which is based on a published book and has a sense of propriety and repression.
Of course, in Nanny McPhee we add out-of-control children, magic, and a witch-like caregiver who rules with a firm but sensitive hand. Also like Sense and Sensibility, Thompson portrays her protagonist, a mysterious nanny with a series of over-active warts and a single out-jutting tooth and apparent magical powers.
She appears on the step of a widow who is at wits’ end with his spoiled, angry children. The kids have made it their mission to destroy any nanny they come into contact with. Their plan is thwarted by McPhee who firmly forces them to learn life lessons by essentially torturing them with their own acts. She quickly gains the children’s trust and their love, and with this the nanny blooms on her own, losing the hideous facade that were her face and body.
There are a few too many cheap stunts like food fights and dancing donkeys in Nanny McPhee to recommend it wholeheartedly, but it is a mostly very charming and magical children’s fantasy. (1/06)
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 13, 2006.