Nanny McPhee is back with the whole works—unibrow, buck tooth and hair-sprouting moles, cementing her status as one of Hollywood’s most memorable nannies alongside Mary Poppins and Mrs. Doubtfire with this highly entertaining sequel to 2005’s first installment, Nanny McPhee.
The graceful Emma Thompson (who also wrote the screenplay) reprises her role as the initially unwelcome Nanny McPhee, who comes to the aid of a frazzled young mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal) just in the nick of time. Her three children will not stop fighting with each other and trampling on the furniture, the house is in a mess, she is being harassed into selling off the family farm by her brother-in-law, and her husband is away at war. Add to that the arrival of a niece and nephew, who harbor a strong dislike for her children at first sight—and the feeling is mutual. With the aid of some magic and a tough love mentality, McPhee goes about doing what she does best—whipping unruly children into shape by appealing to the good that resides in them.
With backdrops of the idyllic English countryside, the film is gorgeous to look at, but the winning factor is the wholesomeness of the message at the core, delivered in the form of “five lessons of Nanny McPhee”; to stop fighting with one another, to share, to help one another, to be brave and to have faith.
Firmly anchored in traditional but timeless morals and values, Nanny McPhee is family fun at its best—heart-warming, funny and occasionally silly, with just enough gag relief to keep the kids tickled even as they watch it over and over again.