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19 August 2006

Nanny McPhee (2005)

Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee), Colin Firth (Mr. Brown), Kelly Macdonald (Evangeline), Thomas Sangster (Simon)

Directed by Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine)

From IMDB: "Mr. Cedric Brown has just lost his wife and is now left with his seven children who misbehave so much that all the nannies have run away. Now he is told by a mysterious voice that he should get Nanny McPhee, a magical woman with special powers."

My ovaries about exploded with an overload of estrogen at the sight of Colin Firth covered in seven adorable English children. And the assorted nods to Mr. Darcy could not have been accidental: the white shirt at the wedding, the various lines he uses to describe Evangeline. Slapstick aside, which was primarily for the under-12 set, he played a very sweet, bumbling, understated sort of inept dad. And he smiled - a big, bright beaming smile of joy! How often does that happen?

Emma Thompson has been a favorite actress of mine since seeing the fantastic Dead Again in high school, in which she starred with then-hubby Kenneth Branagh. Despite her inauspicious Page Three Girl origins, she has developed a career playing strong, intelligent, humorous women, all without becoming too overdone and showy. Here, she portrayed Nanny McPhee as a bizarre combination of intimidating and comic, all of which suited the movie's light-hearted, vaguely Gothic-lite tone. Her scenes with Colin Firth were especially amusing (I did knock).

As with Sense and Sensibility, Thompson adapted the screenplay for this venture and brought with her a number of supporting cast members from previous projects: Firth and Sangster from Love Actually, and Imelda Staunton from S & S. I have not read the books, but she and Jones did a fine job of keeping the story focused and tight. The DVD featured a number of deleted scenes, all of which belonged in the Extras section - not in the film itself. The resulting picture is one of fast pacing and fun.

Angela Lansbury was particularly amusing as Aunt Adelaide, and the gag real on the DVD extras proved that even actors with decades of experience can still make mistakes: the little kids forgot their lines, and so did Lansbury. Nanny McPhee proves that movies intended for children do not have to bore their parents senseless, and occasionally, they can make the hormones of unsuspecting, sappy moms like me jump just a little - if only by providing something tastier to contemplate than animated cars and fish.

Blogger Diva Kitty's Mom said...

Sigh.... Mr. Darcy

Blogger carrie_lofty said...

He obscures all else, doesn't he?

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