Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
(G) Stars Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans
In the latest instalment, Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) appears at the door of a harried young mother, Mrs Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war.
Poor Isabel is also dealing with a meddling brother-in-law, Phil (Rhys Ifans), who is trying to sell the farm out from underneath them to pay a gambling debt.
Adding to this, Mrs Green’s children — Norman, Megsie and Vincent — are fighting a war of their own against two spoiled city cousins — Celia and Cyril — who have just moved in.
The uppity cousins have been sent from the centre of London to the shelter of the countryside during the war and clearly don’t want to be at the Greens’ farm.
On top of this, the local warden, Mr Docherty, keeps warning Isabel that bombs could accidentally fall out of the sky at any moment.
It’s all too much for Mrs Green. She doesn’t know it yet, but the person she needs is Nanny McPhee.
Nanny McPhee has her work cut out for her teaching her charges five new lessons; for she says when they pass these they will no longer need her.
As each lesson is passed, Nanny McPhee is transformed into a beautiful woman.
Her lessons are simple: don’t fight, share, help each other, be brave and, finally, have faith.
The family is transformed as each lesson brings them closer to the time when Nanny McPhee must leave. As each lesson is learned they draw closer to Nanny McPhee, but she remains true to her word that “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go” to help another family.
The characters and circumstances of this new chapter in the beloved franchise prove why the original was so popular.
American actor Gyllenhaal has adopted a flawless British accent and her role as the overworked but loving mum is the centre of the film.
Emma Thompson’s performance as the stern but compassionate Nanny McPhee is yet another delight for viewers.
The idea that Nanny McPhee’s outward appearance is dictated by bad behaviour is an excellent parable about forgiveness and starting afresh. Her transformation with the fifth lesson — having faith and hope that things will work out for the better — is what will resonate with Christian viewers.
This is a gentle and heart-warming story that will appeal to the whole family.
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