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Widower Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) hires Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) to care for his seven rambunctious children, who have chased away all previous nannies. Taunted by Simon (Thomas Sangster) and his siblings, Nanny McPhee uses mystical powers to instill discipline. And when the children's great-aunt and benefactor, Lady Adelaide Stitch (Angela Lansbury), threatens to separate the kids, the family pulls together under the guidance of Nanny McPhee.

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Nanny McPhee movie full length review - Good, clean fun for the entire family

After this movie, I may have to admit to being a bit of a pervert. (ALL HAIL THE ADORABLENESS THAT IS THOMAS SANGSTER!!!!!11) Then again, Thomas Sangster turns 16 this May, so it's not that big an age gap.

But I digress. I had to note the similarities between Nanny McPhee and The Sound Of Music and Mary Poppins (wow, Julie Andrews certainly has a taste for nanny-roles). Rascally children, several fed up nannies, and then the heroine who swoops in to teach them all a lesson, sometimes with a little bit of magic ? though never too cruelly, or underhandedly (though that, I concede, is debatable). And of course, there is the scene where the nanny leaves once the children are well behaved.

The style of the movie, on the other hand, reminded me very much of A Series Of Unfortunate Events, which I also enjoyed more than I probably should have, Klaus (Liam Aiken) being a major plus point. On top of that, there were plenty of gorgeous shots of scenery or quaint cottages, which was all very nice, if sometimes lacking in depth.

What really drew me in was the exploration of the father-child relationship, though. The bumbling, busy Mr. Brown struggling to keep his family afloat on their measly allowance and his loneliness at bay, distancing between himself from his children in the process, and the adverse effects that that distance had on his children. It was lovely to witness, especially as they reestablished their connection. Certain scenes, like the one where Mr. Brown thinks Aunt Adelaide has taken Christianna away and he chases the horse-drawn carriage all the way into the middle of the woods, just slayed me. As did the scene where Mr. Brown tells Christianna to pick a story for him to read to them, like he used to do.

Acting-wise, the movie wasn't half bad. Aunt Adelaide was a delight to watch, with her largely deformed nose and her failing eyesight that all the pompousness in the world couldn't save; even Mrs. Quickly, horrific a character as she was, pulled it off with such enthusiasm that I couldn't help but smile when she was on screen. Mr. Brown gave a convincing performance as a resigned father in a world where everyone was against him, and Evangeline and the other children (even the baby! The adorable little baby!) did pretty decent jobs of playing their parts. Then, to top it off, both Nanny McPhee and Simon were absolutely stellar. I loved how ugly Nanny McPhee looked in the beginning, and then how, as the children learned their lessons, her blemishes ? like the warts and her huge nose ? began fading, one by one, and then the gorgeous Emma Thompson was allowed to appear in true form. (She is such a beautiful woman, honestly. Also, I was rather impressed by the fact that she wrote the screenplay for this movie.) In fact, what was, I could say impressive, about this film was that they managed to show that class distinction does matter (as shown in Evangeline's self-deprecating remark about herself not being educated and thus not good enough for Mr. Brown). This is a family movie, no doubt, but the implications of social standings and even independence, or a lack thereof ? Mr. Brown's reliance on Aunt Adelaide's money ? was nicely done.

I was a little iffy about the use of magic in the movie, though. It was fun, especially when the children were the ones receiving the brunt of it, like the scene near the start of the film where Nanny McPhee magicks it so they have to continue their mischief in the kitchen against their will, but at the end during the wedding, when Nanny McPhee makes snow start to fall and turns Evangeline's ruined dress into a long, white wedding gown, it just felt like Kirk Jones had taken it a little over the top. Children not questioning Nanny McPhee's power, I can understand, but for all that to happen in front of a crowd of grown men and women? Such an elaborate, and worse, blatant, display of magic just isn't something they would have accepted.

Good, clean fun for the entire family, and a well-needed break from the recent trend of terrorism-based movies, long biographical films, and all round recycled fluff.