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Monday, February 20, 2006

Nanny McPhee

Emma Thompson's Nanny McPhee is a screen adaptation of Christianna Brand's 1960s Nurse Matilda , with the nurse character substituted by a nanny.

Nanny McPhee
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Compared to other children's fantasies, the picture differs in that the unattractive appearance of Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) departs from the beautiful and charming Julie Andrews in the musicals Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). Nanny McPhee moves closer to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) in its danger and darkness, while being more personal than the Harry Potter series.

In this modern fairy tale, set in Victorian times, Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) is a recently widowed father of seven adorable and energetic, yet extremely unruly children, turning the Brown's household into chaos.

Complicating matters even further is that Mr. Brown's financial assistance from his Aunt Adelaide Stitch (Angela Lansbury) will cease unless Cedric finds a wife within one month.

With the latest nanny screaming and frantically running out of the house, Cedric Brown is faced once more with the difficult task of finding a new nanny.

The nanny agency closes its doors telling him that no more nannies were available as the last one was the seventeenth one assigned to watch the Brown kids.

With no other way to turn, he heads back home. However, someone hears his desperate plea, and at his door soon appears the authoritarian and mystical Nanny McPhee.

Her frightening appearance is marked by an oddly extended front tooth, bulbous nose, and facial warts. But, these inventive children, led by Simon (Thomas Sangster), the oldest and most stubborn child, find that nothing is too scary for them. The children are fiercely determined not to have another nanny by exposing the heights their mischief can reach.

Nanny McPhee
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Nanny McPhee has a mission to fulfill and comes equipped with mysterious special powers to aid her quest. She teaches five lessons including one special one, namely that actions carry consequences. When she taps her walking cane, magic happens.

The picture is cast well and has excellent supporting performances. Emma Thompson's return to the screen is very refreshing in her excellent performance as the nanny character she wrote for herself. As lessons are taught Thompson makes a remarkable transformation in her appearance, displaying her illuminating true beauty.

The handsome and charming Colin Firth, delivers a strong performance as a recently widowed father juggling between work and personal responsibilities, while trying to maintain the cohesiveness of his family.

Several of the picture's funny moments are enhanced by the children's vivid characters, by Mr. Brown's hilarious double assistants, Mr. Wheen (Derek Jacobi) and Mr. Jowls (Patrick Barlow), the graceful maid Evangelina (Kelly Macdonald), and Mrs. Quickly (Celia Imrie), a recently merry widow, who is very interested in Mr. Brown.

Drastically departing from her previous role as Vera Drake (2004), Imelda Staunton excels in her entertaining performance as Mrs. Blatherwick, the wild ex-military cook.

Following an absence from the big screen for over 20 years, Angela Lansbury makes a comeback and captures the audience in her perfectly brilliant performance as Aunt Adelaide, a very amusing and commanding role that demands more of her presence.

Michael Howells' created a very realistic production design using lots of green and bright colors. The costumes designed by Nick Ede complement the beautiful scenes.

Nanny McPhee is sure to entertain the entire family.

*Review by By Ester Molayeme, Special to The Epoch Times

**QUAD - Size: 30" x 40"

Type: Printed on matte or glossy stock. Paper about same thickness as North American One-sheet, unfolded

History: Like a larger version of a half-sheet, has different artwork than the one-sheet for the same American movie.


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