Nanny McPhee Returns parents guide

Nanny McPhee Returns Parent Guide

The screenplay comes together with a poignancy and charm that is enhanced by the engaging and colorful sets.

Overall A-

The mysterious and magical Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) returns to her duties, this time to help Mrs. Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) while her husband is away at war. Along with her own three children, the frazzled mother-in-need is responsible for a couple of cousins who do not get on well with each other.

Release date August 20, 2010

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Nanny McPhee Returns rated PG? The MPAA rated Nanny McPhee Returns PG for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements.

Run Time: 109 minutes

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Parent Movie Review

Order in the English countryside is about to be restored thanks to the return of the unflappable and rather frightful looking Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson). Dressed entirely in black, the bulbous-nosed caregiver with warts and an oversized incisor arrives on the darkened doorstep of Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

At first Isabel hesitates to accept help from the unexpected nursemaid that shows up courtesy of the army. But it is soon evident to Nanny that her services (and the five lessons she intends to teach the family) are desperately needed.

While her husband (Ewan McGregor) is off at war, Isabel is trying to manage a farm, a day job, her three active offspring and the arrival of two citified cousins from London. As well, her brother-in-law Phil (Rhys Ifans) constantly hounds her to turn the farm’s deed over to him. Despite the young mother’s best efforts, things have reached a fevered pitch on the picturesque little patch of British soil.

Not one to take no for an answer, Nanny immediately issues a cease and desist order on the children’s fighting. But when her charges are slow to comply with the moratorium, she produces a gnarled walking stick that she bangs on the floor with magical results. Later when Norman (Asa Butterfield), Megsie (Lil Woods) and Vincent (Oscar Steer) refuse to share their beds with their cousins Cyril (Eros Vlahos) and Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson), Nanny once again employs the powers of the enchanted staff.

However squabbling and sharing are only two of the challenges this little family faces. Their farm is sure to be lost unless they can come up with some quick cash. When their prized piglets disappear the morning they are to be sold, it takes some cooperative actions by the kids to round up the skittery swine. Under Nanny’s kind and watchful eye, the children solve other problems as well, by combining their skills and resources with occasional mystical intervention.

Wielding a pen with the same skill as she does the walking stick, Emma Thompson, who authored the script, blends the fantastical world of synchronized swimming pigs and flying motorcycles with the realities of wartime hardships, an impending divorce and overworked parents. She also addresses the consequences of irresponsible gambling when two blond, female enforcers (Sinead Matthews, Katy Brand) come looking for a debt repayment. Yet the screenplay comes together with a poignancy and charm that is enhanced by the engaging and colorful sets. (Even Isabel’s nagging relative is more of an irritant than the excessively evil antagonist often portrayed in children’s movies.)

While younger children may be frightened by the two debt collectors’ taxidermic plans for Phil the brother-in-law and a bomb that lands near the farmhouse, this film contains even less mean-spirited interactions between characters than the original movie. The frequent use of a mild word for barnyard waste also lessens as the plot develops.

With a gentle but firm approach to mentoring, Nanny uses her cane as the initial instrument for change. However, she accomplishes her real magic by encouraging cooperation, compassion, ingenuity and faith among this little brood as they work to establish peace and harmony at home. And with her help, they all come to recognize the real beauty in others.

Directed by Susanna White. Starring Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release August 20, 2010. Updated

Nanny McPhee Returns
Rating & Content Info

Why is Nanny McPhee Returns rated PG? Nanny McPhee Returns is rated PG by the MPAA for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements.

Violence: Two women threaten to remove a man’s kidney or stuff him as the result of unpaid gambling debts. An unexploded bomb lands near a family’s home. Tensions occur during the disarming of it. A man burns his buttocks on a hot stove. Children fight with one another. Characters pull hair, bang their heads on the floor, are thrown to the ground and poke their eyes. A character falls from a ladder.

Sexual Content: A couple kisses on their wedding day.

Language: A mild term for dung is used frequently in the opening scenes of the film.

Alcohol/Drug Use: Though characters drink "ginger beer" there is no indication it is the alcoholic version.

Other: A child vomits. Animals pass gas or belch. A woman sits on a cow patty. Characters fall in mud and dung. A man tumbles into a pond. A character comments about divorce. A man lies and tries to trick another character. A child yells at an adult. A man is handcuffed to a pipe inside a home.

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More parents' guide for Nanny McPhee Returns after the break...

Nanny McPhee Returns Parents' Guide

How can parents (who don’t have access to a magical cane) teach these same important life lessons to their children? How often does Nanny use magic? In what other ways does she encourage cooperation and kindness?

Nanny never raises her voice when addressing the children. Is there power in a soft voice?

What impact does the children’s kindness have on Nanny? Though real people don’t undergo the same physical transformations, can the way we view a person’s beauty change as we grow to know or love them?

How can a group or individual help families who currently have someone serving in the military? What other difficulties could be lessened by offering a supportive hand to those in need?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Nanny McPhee Returns movie is December 14, 2010. Here are some details…

Nanny McPhee Returns release to DVD and Blu-ray on December 14, 2010. Bonus extras include:

- Deleted Scenes

- Feature Commentary with Director Susanna White.

- New Film, New Story: Join Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson, and the cast and crew as they discover that Nanny McPhee Returns has everything they loved from the first film and more!

- Magical Movies: A look at how the magic of Nanny McPhee Returns was created.

- Mr. Edelweiss: Find out more about Nanny McPhee’s relationship with the pesky and mischievous Mr. Edelweiss.

- Emma Thompson becomes Nanny McPhee: Watch Emma Thompson’s amazing transformation into Nanny McPhee through time-lapse photography.

- The Pigs: Working with these cute little characters is as much fun on screen as it is off!

- The Mud: No one can escape the mud! It’s just as challenging for the cast as it is for the crew.

- A Look Inside: Take a journey through the magical world of Nanny McPhee to see why the second film is as enchanting as the first.

Related home video titles:

Being a nanny is hard work and unfortunately most caregivers don’t come with a magical stick like Nanny McPhee or a bottomless carpetbag like the idyllic Mary Poppins. When Annie Braddock moves into an upscale Manhattan apartment to assume responsibility for a pampered boy, she discovers she has bigger problems than just bedtime in The Nanny Diaries. It is hard to know who is taking care of whom when an unskilled but financially strapped socialite becomes a nanny for a germ-phobic eight-year-old in Uptown Girls. Seven school-aged girls organize a childcare service for desperate parents who need a few hours away from their kids in The Babysitters Club.

Nanny McPhee is based on the children’s books penned by Christianna Brand.