Nanny McPhee Returns

 

Universal Studios

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: Rude humor, some language and mild thematic elements.

 

Plot Summary: Magical Nanny McPhee helps a young mother teach her children how to get along and care for others.

 

PopFam Recommends: Nanny McPhee has 5 lessons she teaches the children: 1. Stop fighting, 2. Share nicely, 3. Help each other, 4. Be brave, 5. Have faith. While we, as parents, don't have magic to assist us in teaching these lessons, they are all worthy and excellent lessons to emphasize. Why not use this movie to talk with your kids about these, and what they might look like in your family.

 

Nanny McPhee rides again! She's back, larger than life--moles, snaggle-tooth, and all...and your children will love her.

 

This second Nanny McPhee movie begins in the idyllic setting of the British countryside during "the war," (apparently WWII, but we're never told for sure). Which really is a much more peaceful place than London during that time, what with bombs falling and all.

 

Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her three children Norman (Asa Butterfield), Megsie (Lil Woods), and Vincent (Oscar Steer) are living on a farm...a rather muddy farm, while her husband is away at war. When her niece and nephew come from London to stay awhile, the city cousins, Cyril (Eros Vlahos) and Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson) aren't so happy about the muddy farm, or as Cyril calls it, "the land of poo." Matter of fact, they aren't too happy about much of anything, which leads to much fighting amongst the five children.

 

Enter Nanny McPhee, who stays when you don't want her, and leaves when you do. Sweet, yet frazzled Isabel isn't sure that she needs or wants a nanny, but when Nanny McPhee assures her she's been dispatched by the Army (I've heard of an Army brat, but an Army nanny?), Isabel relents and allows her to stay. Which is lucky for Isabel, as it's not only the children she needs help with.

 

Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Isabel, her husband's brother, Phil (Rhys Ifans), has gambled away the farm and is trying to finagle a way into forcing her to "sell" the farm. Which works perfectly into Nanny McPhee's plan, as Phil's shenanigans give the children plenty of opportunity for squabbling, allowing Nanny McPhee to use her magic stick to produce baby elephants, pigs that swim, and a myriad of other delightful situations.

 

Honestly, though, the storyline of the movie isn't what is so fantastic, nor is it the reason you should see Nanny McPhee Returns. Emma Thompson, who wrote, produced, and starred in the movie, apparently realizes what kids love. Magic. Scary looking nanny's who turn beautiful. Belching birds. Pigs that fly and then perform synchronized swimming. Old ladies sitting in cow patties. But, especially the magic and the belching bird. I mean really, for a kid it doesn't get much better than that. At least not for my six and eight year old boys. They loved this movie, and are still talking about the bird and other crazy elements of the story. Which, as a parent, is what I love; bringing about opportunities to make life lessons from a fun movie.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Would you want Nanny McPhee to come to your house?

 

• Which of the 5 lessons do you need to learn? How might Nanny McPhee help teach it to you in a fun way?

 

• Lesson 5 for the children was "Have Faith;" to believe that things will work out alright in the end. In what do you place your faith, to trust that things will work out alright in the end?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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