Nanny McPhee Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
To say the Brown children misbehave is an understatement of magnificent proportions. These seven motherless children are down right naughty.
Sneaking down to the kitchen, they whack the cook (Imelda Staunton) over the head with a frying pan before tying her up and ransacking the larder. They drive their seventeenth nanny screaming from the house after pretending to eat the baby, and one brother routinely decapitates dolls and teddy bears with his guillotine. The situation is so bad the local employment agency refuses to answer Mr. Brown’s (Colin Firth) inquiries for more help.
Fortunately, Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) doesn’t work for the agency. Arriving unbidden on the family’s doorstep, the bulbous-nosed woman with the warty chin and black attire immediately takes measures to restore peace.
Given the challenge of a new victim, Simon (Thomas Sangster) and his siblings assume they can run off this hired help as easily as the others. They introduce themselves with bogus names (body parts and bathroom terminology), intending to rattle her. But Nanny McPhee, unruffled by their rude humor, insists on proper manners and uses her magical touch to enforce them. With firm but tender composure, she ensures the rowdy offspring experience the consequences of their choices
Knowing she can only stay as long as she is needed, Nanny McPhee promptly goes about establishing calm in the chaotic household by helping the children deal with the loss of their mother and their father’s lack of attention. When their stuffy and bossy Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lansbury) arrives for tea, she also helps the brood use their heads to solve a familial dilemma.
However, even she can’t interfere with matters of the heart. So when Mr. Brown—a mortician who talks to his deceased clients—presents Mrs. Quickly (Celia Imrie) as a possible stepmother, the children are left to their own devices to scare her off. Unfortunately, in an attempt to shield the bawdy widow from his children’s nasty pranks, the father’s actions are misconstrued as overt sexual advances.
In addition to playing the robust nursemaid, Emma Thompson penned the screenplay based on the Nurse Matilda series. Over and above the rambunctious progeny, her characters include two comical funeral assistants and Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald), a self-conscious scullery maid. While the outcome is predictable, the colorful sets and inevitable food fight will likely entertain older children.
Whether or not Nanny McPhee sparks another reading frenzy like Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia, her insistence on civility and her corresponding kindness demonstrates it’s not necessarily bad to carry a big stick as long as you have an equally big heart.Directed by Kirk Jones. Starring Emma Thompson, Colin Firth. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release January 26, 2006. Updated April 24, 2020
Watch the trailer for Nanny McPhee
Rating & Content Info
Why is Nanny McPhee rated PG? Nanny McPhee is rated PG by the MPAA for mild thematic elements, some rude humor and brief language.
After his children pretend to eat the baby, Mr. Brown discovers his youngest child covered with gravy and vegetables in a roasting pan. Later the children replace Mrs. Quickly’s lunch items with wormy sandwiches and frog egg tea. They destroy the house by painting the piano keys and trashing the kitchen. In addition to their destructive behavior, they are also disobedient and rude. At the funeral home, Mr. Brown address dead bodies, which are shown lying on a table. While attempting to thwart his children’s pranks, Mr. Brown inadvertently falls on top of Mrs. Quickly and places his head on her bosom, which actions are mistaken as seeking for sexual favors.
Page last updated April 24, 2020
Nanny McPhee Parents' Guide
What deadline is Mr. Brown facing? How does that impact the way he interacts with his children? What changes when he lets his children in on his problem?
How does Nanny McPhee physically change during the movie? Can our perception of others’ beauty be affected by our feelings for them?
What sacrifices does Evangeline make for the family? What good things result from her decision?
Loved this movie? Try these books…Nanny McPhee was adapted from the "Nurse Matilda" books by Christianna Brand, which tell the story of the horiffically ugly Nurse Matilda, who comes to work for Mr. and Mrs. Brown as a nursemaid.
"Mary Poppins" by P.L. Travers is the book which inspired Disney's film of the same name, and features a recognizable cast of characters. There are eight books in the series, each featuring the magical nanny and the adventures she has with her charges.
Roald Dahl's "Matilda" is a similar story in reverse- a wonderful and intelligent child who has to manage the naughty and terrible adults around her.
The most recent home video release of Nanny McPhee movie is August 17, 2010. Here are some details…
DVD Release Date: 12 May 2006
The caregiver who carries a big stick comes to DVD with more bonus features than Nanny McPhee has warts! They include audio commentaries with Director Kirk Jones and Children as well as Actor Emma Thompson and Producer Lindsay Doran, information about casting the children and village life, a Nanny McPhee makeover, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a lesson on How Nanny McPhee Came to Be. Audio Tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English, Spanish, French.
Blu-ray Notes: Nanny McPhee
Blu-ray Release Date: 17 August 2010
Nanny McPhee releases on Blu-ray with the following bonus extras:
- Feature commentary
- How Nanny McPhee Came to Be
- Casting the Children
- Village Life
- Nanny McPhee Makeover
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
Related home video titles:
This film is available for streaming. After two British children scare away yet another nanny, Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep to set matter right in the Banks household. In The Sound of Music, a young woman from the convent is sent to care for seven rowdy children of Captain von Trapp after they get rid of their governess. Evil stepmothers are a common theme in fairytales including Cinderella and Snow White. This movie is followed up in 2010 by Nanny McPhee Returns.