Heading into the second half of the alphabet now, we’re going with a little double feature. I figured if Netflix offers us the chance to watch a series of movies, I might as well take advantage of it, especially if there is only two 😉 So here we are with Nanny McPhee and its sequel, Nanny McPhee Returns (otherwise called Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang). I’ve been avoiding this one because it feels like a rip-off of Mary Poppins. For most of you that know me, I’m a huge Disney fanatic and Mary Poppins is among one of my all-time favorites. I can watch it over and over and over again, know all the words of all the songs and maybe even the dialogue. So, Nanny McPhee has quite the competition if its anything like that. Honestly, I don’t know much and they are all assumptions but assuming is not a great thing and I’m trying to not do that.
By the way, its October!! Magical nannies…kind of works, right? I keep thinking Nanny McPhee might be a witch so I guess it works that way 😉
Let’s give this a go! 🙂
Nanny McPhee (2005)
Director: Kirk Jones
Cast: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald, Angela Lansbury, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Imelda Staunton
Cedric Brown has lost his loving wife and now has to make his living and take care of his seven young children. However, his children are so misbehaved that they have already scared away 17 nannies ever since. With his Aunt Adelaide who provides him with a monthly allowance to sustain him and his family’s living, she gives him an ultimatum that he either finds himself a wife by the end of the month or she will cut her support. Its here that Nanny McPhee arrives at his doorstep. Magically, she offers to teach 5 lessons and her rules are simple: she will stay as long as she is needed but not wanted but when she is wanted but not needed, she has to go.
I have to admit that Nanny McPhee is a little odd. Except, it quickly turns into a charming little movie. I guess you can’t call a movie little when it has a ton of talented cast from Emma Thompson playing Nanny McPhee to Colin Firth being Cedric Brown and Imelda Staunton being Cook. Not to mention, Aunt Adelaide being played by Angela Lansbury. All that talent for this movie with kids that are practically unknown. Well, they were unknown back then. Thomas Brodie-Sangster, now 10 years later is rather known especially because of The Maze Runner, Nowhere Boy and before that, it had to be Love Actually. With such a solid cast, Nanny McPhee can’t help but deliver strong performanced across the board. Plus, Emma Thompson is also responsible for the screenplay. I’m sure that gives her a little more attachment as the main character and adds a little spark to what she’s doing.
While Nanny McPhee does have certain features very similar to Mary Poppins plot-wise and at times, feels a little like the cross-over of The Sound of Music with all those children also, it has its own little magic. It is obvious that this movie is meant for children to teenagers perhaps and the lessons it delivers is great in terms of a family comedy. Its a ton of fun and reinforces that a family being together means learning together. Nanny McPhee may seem like she is teaching the children but she is also teaching the father valuable lessons on taking extra care to how he treats his role. It may seem silly the simple things like going to bed and getting up when told in the beginning but its about discipline and respect, listening and being honest and accepting consequences. All very relevant to children and grown-ups alike.
Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)
Director: Susanna White
Cast: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Asa Butterfield, Rhys Ifans, Lil Woods, Eros Vlahos, Rosie Taylor-Ritson, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor
Isabel is a young mother with three children living on a farm and trying to make ends meet while her husband is away at war. Secretly having a massive debt at the casino, her brother in law wants to coax her into selling her half of the farm. Except, she doesn’t want to despite the struggles. When her sister sends over two cousins because of the war situation getting more serious in the big city, she ends up having to take care of two more children, and extremely spoiled rich brats on top of that. It is at this moment that Nanny McPhee shows up and offers to help her with teaching 5 lessons (side note: not the same as last time).
Nanny McPhee Returns is a great addition to this series. The cast still retains to be incredibly strong. Emma Thompson comes back as Nanny McPhee and she just does it so perfectly. Then we have an even younger Asa Butterfield (because he’s still pretty young right now) in the lead boy among the children. Along with that, mom is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal and there’s ever a small role for Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes and Ewan McGregor. Nanny McPhee definitely returns with the same charm but this time, it adds a lot more goof. At times, it felt a little ridiculous but for the most part, I was able to not mind it too much.
The best part, other than the fun characters, is really that learning the 5 lessons the Nanny McPhee has to teach never feels strained. If anything, this time, the lessons were more straightforward and even more relevant than the last time. We in the land of courage, bravery, imagination, taking leaps of faith, and more. Like I said, relevant with what they are dealing with and with a contrast of children from different backgrounds, the learning is even more substantial.
Nanny McPhee Returns is a very fun sequel. With lots of lovable characters and an outstanding cast even to its supporting and cameo characters. Its magical and adventurous even between some of the unnecessary goofiness that they add in this time around.
Its a pity that Nanny McPhee only has two movies in this series. It would be a fun one to keep going. You can always argue that Mary Poppins is better and she is in fact irreplaceable but Nanny McPhee has her own little charm and its just so relevant no matter when you watch it. Its a ton of family fun and very much worth your time. 🙂
Have you seen either of these Nanny McPhee movies? Any thoughts?
Netflix A-Z heads into a week of Horror before stepping aside for the Halloween Marathon.
What O horror takes the spot? Any guesses?