‘Nanny McPhee Returns’, as the title suggests, is the next chapter to 2005’s ‘Nanny McPhee.’ Starring as Nanny McPhee is Emma Thompson who also wrote the marvelous screenplays for both movies, which are based on Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books, which were published in the 1960s and ’70s.
As we learned in the first, when Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives for an assignment as nanny for children with ‘questionable behavior’, she comes with five lessons the children are expected to learn! Although Nanny McPhee’s appearance is a bit foreboding at the on set, her appearance softens as the children in her charge learn and experience each of the five lessons. And yes, Nanny McPhee has magical powers at her disposal as a means to carry out her assignment!
Common during World War II in England, children were sent to the country to stay with relatives to be out of harms way during the bombing of England’s populated cities. Nanny McPhee arrives at a farm to help Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a mother of three and wife to a farmer off fighting in World War II. Isabel’s children are Norman (Asa Butterfield), Megsie (Lil Woods) and Vincent (Oscar Steer), who are a bit mischievous and constantly involved in sibling bickering but underneath are good kids.
And yes, Isabel has her hands full as she copes with her children at home, and, at work as she has to contend with the absent minded elderly candy shopkeeper (Maggie Smith) as well! Adding to Isabel’s harried life, is the arrival of her young nephew, Cyril Gray (Eros Vlahos) and his sister Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson) who have been sent from their wealthy home in London to their aunt’s farm, which is quite appalling to their refined tastes. The two cousins make their feelings known upon their arrival as Cyril promptly declares it the ‘land of poo’!
As if Isabel doesn’t have enough on her plate with five children now, her brother-in-law Phil (Rhys Ifans) has gambled the farm away, even though it’s only half his, and is relentlessly trying to get her to sell the farm that she is barely able to keep up payments, to pay his gambling debt!
The five young actors who portray the children are the real stars of the movie! This second delightful adventure, written by star Emma Thompson, featuring the nanny with the magical powers who uses her magic to teach the children five valuable life-lessons: ‘stop fighting’, ‘share nicely’, ‘help each other’, ‘be brave’, and ‘have faith’, is a treat for both children and parents alike! 4 ½ of 5 stars.
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oscar Steer, Asa Butterfield, Lil Woods, Eros Vlahos, Rosie Taylor-Ritson, Daniel Mays, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Smith, Sinead Matthews, Katy Brand, Ralph Fiennes, and Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee.
Directed by Susanna White; written by Emma Thompson. Universal Pictures release. Rated PG for rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements. Runtime: 109 minutes.
To view the trailers! ~ To find a theater near you! ~ For the ‘Screen Scene’ Movie Newsletter!