Nanny McPhee

  • Directors: Kirk Jones
  • Producers: Lindsay Doran, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Screenplay, Emma Thompson, Books, Christianna Brand
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Holly Gibbs

Taking place in 19th century England, widower and undertaker 41-year-old Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) has seven children: 12-year-old Simon (Thomas Sangster), 10-year-old Tora (Eliza Bennett), 9-year-old Lily (Jennifer Rae Daykin), 8-year-old Eric (Raphaël Coleman), 7-year-old Sebastian (Samuel Honywood ), 5-year-old Christianna (Holly Gibbs) and 1-year-old Aggie (Hebe Barnes and Zinnia Barnes). He loves his children very much, but spends little time with them, unable to handle raising them all on his own. The children have had a series of seventeen nannies, whom they systematically drive out; it is a point of pride for them to get rid of each nanny as fast as possible. They also terrorize the cook, Mrs. Blatherwick (Imelda Staunton) but are cared for and loved by Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald), the young scullery maid.

Cedric attempts to hire another nanny from the agency that sent the past seventeen nannies, but the agency refuses him, as the children have sent the past nannies away, terrorized. Desperate to find another nanny, Cedric heeds the advice of a mysterious voice from the house, which says, “the person you need is Nanny McPhee.” After a series of mysterious events, an unusual and hideous woman named Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives at Brown home, introducing herself as a “government nanny”. With discipline and magic, she transforms the family’s lives. In the process, she herself transforms from ugly to beautiful. The children, led by Simon, attempt to play their tricks on her, but gradually start to respect her and ask her for advice. They change into responsible people, helping their hapless father in solving the family problems, and making Nanny McPhee less and less needed. (The storyline is, at this point, very similar to Mary Poppins).

Interestingly, not all of the lessons are for the children. In addition, the last one can vary depending on interpretation.

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

  • Directors: Susanna White
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lindsay Doran
  • Writers: Emma Thompson, Christianna Brand
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, and Maggie Smith

In England during the Second World War, teenager Norman (Asa Butterfield), a younger boy and a girl live at a farm with their mother, while the father is away as a soldier. Two spoiled cousins, a boy and a girl, are evacuated from the city and join them. At first the two groups quarrel.

Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives, telling the mother that she has been assigned to this family, and that the mother does not have to pay her a dime. With discipline and magic, she transforms the family’s lives. In the process, she herself transforms from ugly to beautiful, just like in the first film.

The farm is owned half by the mother, half by her mean brother-in-law. The brother wants to buy the mother’s share, and uses mean tricks to force her to do so. First he releases her pigs, which would be a serious financial loss, but Nanny McPhee and the children find and return them. Then he gives them a forged Killed in action notice regarding the father. Norman feels in his bones that his father is still alive, and after going to London with Nanny McPhee and one of the cousins it turns out that the father is “only” missing in action. Meanwhile the other children manage to delay the mother signing the contract.

The father returns safely. Nanny McPhee leaves, as she is no longer needed.