Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nanny McPhee


In 19th century England, widower and undertaker 41-year-old Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) has seven children: 11-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 Agatha (Hebe and Zinnia Barnes). He loves his children very much, but spends little time with them, unable to handle raising them all on his own, after their mother died.
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". By using magic to force the children to destroy the kitchen (almost boiling Aggie in the process), she teaches them to go to bed when they're told. In similar fashions, 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 family is financially supported by the late Mrs. Brown's Aunt, Lady Adelaide Stitch (Angela Lansbury). Though she is acting in concern for the well-being of her family, Lady Adelaide is the source of major conflicts in the Browns' lives. In conjunction with her support for the family, Lady Adelaide demands custody over one of the children in order to ensure their continued education and proper upbringing in society. She initially chooses Christianna to go with her, but as the children - and Cedric himself - loathe the idea of parting with one of the siblings, Simon offers up Evangeline in Chrissy's place. Adelaide agrees, assuming that she is one of the daughters, and adopts Evangeline as her own. Both Evangeline's desire to be properly educated, as well as Adelaide's latest contractual stipulation, are satisfied by the act of trickery.

Lady Adelaide also demands that Cedric remarry within the month, threatening to cut off the family's allowance if he fails to do so. Desperate to keep his family together and prevent losing his house, Cedric turns to the vulgar Mrs. Selma Quickly (Celia Imrie), local widow of three husbands with garish taste in clothing. Based on the image of stepmothers in fairy tales, the children assume that stepmothers are all cruel (case in point: Lady Tremaine from Cinderella), and attempt to sabotage a visit from Mrs. Quickly. However, their tricks backfire and Mrs. Quickly initially assumes that Mr. Brown is keener on her than he actually is.
During the tea party, Mr. Brown's endeavors to protect Mrs. Quickly from his children result in him throwing himself on top of her, pulling her to the floor and burying his face in her cleavage. Nevertheless, Mrs. Quickly - ignorant of the children's pranks - is happy with all this provided that she gets a proposal. However, when his proposal is ruined by more pranks, she leaves angrily and refuses to see him again. After the truth of their father's situation is explained to the children, they agree to the marriage, and appease Mrs. Quickly by confessing they were to blame for the disturbance of her visit, and lure her with promises of Aunt Adelaide's wealth.
On the day of the wedding, the children discover that Mrs. Quickly is as conniving and cruel as they had feared, when she breaks Aggie's rattle - the last thing they had to remind them of their mother. When everyone is gathered for the wedding, the children disturb the ceremony by pretending a swarm of bees has been attracted to Quickly's flowered hat. Things quickly get out of hand, as the priest is allergic to bees, resulting in a food fight. Cedric realizes that both he and his children truly dislike his wife-to-be, and joins in the disruption of the ceremony. Angered, Mrs. Quickly puts an end to the wedding and storms off.
Just as it seems that Adelaide's marriage deadline has passed without result, Simon realizes that his father could still marry Evangeline, to whom he has demonstrated something of an attraction, and vice versa. Although both Cedric and Evangeline attempt to deny it, due to the inevitable breaking of class boundaries such a marriage would cause, they finally admit their love for each other.
Nanny McPhee taps her magic staff one last time, and provides a perfect backdrop for Cedric's marriage to Evangeline by creating a beautiful snowstorm, transforming Evangeline's dress and fulfilling Mrs. Blatherwick's declarations that "it'll be snowing in August before this family is straightened out!" Aunt Adelaide's demand is satisfied, and all of the family's problems are solved. Aggie's rattle is fixed.

Nanny McPhee's five lessons

In addition to emphasizing discipline, manners and accepting the consequences of one's actions, Nanny McPhee has five very important base lessons to teach — each of which correspond to her various unattractive physical attributes: gray hair, two large moles, a unibrow, and a snaggle-tooth protruding over her bottom lip, all of which give her the appearance of a stereotypical witch. Nanny McPhee is as ugly as the children are naughty, so whenever a lesson is learned, one of her disfigurements vanishes. When all five lessons are learned, Nanny McPhee transforms from ugly and old to young and beautiful. According to one of the special bonus features, her weight gradually goes away, with it completely vanishing once they learn their sixth lesson.

  • First lesson - To go to bed when they are told (and stop fighting) - Hair goes from gray to brown
  • Second lesson - To get up when they are told - Upper wart disappears
  • Third lesson - To get dressed when they are told - Lower wart disappears
  • Fourth lesson - To listen (and say thank you and please) - Uni-brow disappears
  • Fifth lesson - To do as they are told - Snaggle tooth disappears

Nanny McPhee's Motto

Nanny McPhee operates according to the children's behaviour. When she is introduced she mentions this statement to the children, "when you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go". (copied & edited from Wikipedia)

I like this movie very much. Although my hubby said that this is a children's movie, I feel that it is more likely a family movie. ^^ Well, I prefer to watch movies that can cheer me up, not 'haunted' me for days & nights like 'Orphan' (a movie which I will review later).

I love the kids in this movie. They are so lovely and cute. If you have such naughty kids at home, you should feel relief as they are smart & creative. Hahaha!

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