03 July 2017

Nanny McPhee (starring Emma Thompson)


It’s over ten years since I was given the DVD of ‘Nanny McPhee’. It made excellent post-Christmas viewing, and over the past few years it’s been watched a handful of times by some young visiting friends. However I didn’t have any particular desire to see it again myself.

But our three-year-old grandson is staying, and during some very hot weather recently, his parents thought it would be a good idea for him to have some quiet time in the air conditioning, watching a DVD. We don’t have anything intended for children this age, but the cover appealed to him and I couldn’t think of any reason why it might not be suitable. Indeed, I thought he might find it quite amusing since I remembered that it featured some very naughty children…

I ended up watching with my daughter-in-law and grandson. I remembered the storyline - a widowed father (Colin Firth) has seven children who are running riot in his household, scaring away a succession of nannies from the agency. The children are all excellent in this film, working together as a team, with excellent comic timing.

Then the mysterious wart-covered Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson looking most unlike herself) arrives, and takes over….

There’s more than a hint of magic in the story; Nanny McPhee’s staff has some strange properties, which can keep children immobilised, or even reverse damage. The children don’t like her at all at first, and want to get rid of her. But gradually they realise that she’s on their side, and that they’re stressed and lonely. She says she is going to teach them some ‘lessons’ (such as getting out of bed in the mornings when called) but their father also has to learn to relate better to them.

Alongside this main storyline we learn that the family is supported by a strict great-aunt, as the father’s job cannot pay the bills and provide food for so many children. The great-aunt wants the father to remarry….

I was a little anxious at first, since my grandson is quite sensitive, and I’d forgotten just how loud and badly-behaved the children were at the start. I was also concerned that he might find Nanny McPhee rather frightening when she first appears. The fact that the father works as an undertaker seems rather inappropriate for a children’s film, but that went right over my grandson’s head, as did the fact that the children’s mother died after the baby was born.

It took him a while to get into the story, but towards the end he started laughing at a slapstick (and very messy) scene involving cake. He also loved the magical snow-covered Cinderella type ending.

Really more suitable for children of about six or seven upwards. The rating is U in the UK; the US rating of PG is, in my opinion, more appropriate. There are a couple of mild ‘bad’ words, though not noticeable by a three-year-old. There’s also a scene full of innuendoes, though nothing explicit. There’s a fair amount of mock violence too, more than I’d remembered, though mostly intended to be humorous.

But overall this is a very enjoyable film and I’m delighted that I had the opportunity to watch it again!

Review by copyright 2017 Sue's DVD Reviews

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