Nanny McPhee Review

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Numerous governesses have fled widower Mr. Brown’s (Firth) house after being terrorised by his seven children. They’re even more mischievous than usual when they discover Dad is going to remarry — unaware his rich aunt will stop helping the family if he d


For her first screenplay since 1995’s Oscar-winning Sense And Sensibility, Emma Thompson has adapted a little-known children’s book and, with the help of Waking Ned director Kirk Jones, delivers a wickedly fun family adventure.

Based on the Nurse Matilda series of books printed in the 1960s, Nanny McPhee has an old-fashioned feel mixed with some 21st century trickery as the warty, severe, black-gowned nanny slowly reveals that there may be more to her child-rearing skills than meets the eye (Thompson is clearly having a ball as the magical old maid).

The rest of the cast — kitted out in vibrantly coloured semi-Victorian garb (it’s not set in a specific time or place but most closely resembles a bizarro panto-land) — keep the tone fun, from Imelda Staunton’s bonkers cook to Colin Firth’s befuddled dad and Celia Imrie’s hideous Mrs. Quickly, while the kids (led by Love Actually’s Thomas Sangster) are cute without being sickly. Of course, it’s Thompson’s show throughout, thanks to her superb interpretation of McPhee as Mary Poppins meets TV’s Supernanny with a bit of Anne Robinson mixed in.

Frothy and fun yet deliciously dark, this may be eclipsed by next month’s Harry Potter but should be sought out for its own, equally entertaining, magical charm