Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang
(G) Universal DVD/BD
The simplicity of the Nanny McPhee films has always been their strong point. McPhee, a sort of turn-of-the-century super nanny, helps a family in need and then when her work is done a physical and emotional transformation is complete.
In the latest instalment, 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), her three children and visiting uppity city cousins.
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 outwardly transformed. Her lessons are simple: don’t fight, share, help each other, be brave and, finally, have faith.
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”, off to help another family.
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.