Nanny McPheeOnce upon a time there were seven children, although you only need to remember the names of two, maybe three of them at most, who were very naughty. Naughty enough that it was plausible that they would eat a baby. Like, for real, they faked eating a baby and instead of assuming it was a hoax the strictest nanny in all of England (Home of the Super Nanny) believed they had eaten it. That's kind of messed up. Apparently, despite what Jonathan Swift would have you believe, eating babies isn't kosher in England and now the nanny agency won't be attending to the children anymore
The father, being the beacon of good parenting sends his children to bed with no supper. That may seem a bit relaxed, considering they just drove away their nanny by faking eating a baby but there is seven of them all sharing a room, which must be pretty miserable.
obvious love interest house worker of no specific interest calms down the children. Despite financial woes being the motivation for everything the father does he has two servants. They both appear to be Irish, to the point of offensiveness in the case of the cook, so they must not cost much to keep around. As this is the one adult the children actually like they are willing to listen to her while also voicing their concerns that their father is going to remarry and the step mother will be evil as is tradition for fairy tales.
You see, their mother is dead, an event as it turns out, which has driven their father completely insane as he spends most of the movie talking to an empty chair that he thinks his wife is sitting in. Sort of like Rescue Me with less alcohol fueled rape.
Driven by hunger and a disproportional sense of justice the children have invaded the kitchen, attacked the cook. The ruckus they are causing includes putting socks in the mashed potatoes, using a crude catapult to throw items into boiling water and making a bomb (wait, what?)
Meanwhile Nanny McPhee has shown up at the door. She explains she does not belong to any agency and is in fact a government nanny. I guess that means Great Britain is literally a nanny state.
That joke is the only reason I chose to review this movie. Feel free to stop reading if you want.
Nanny McPhee enters the kitchen and the children pretend they do not know she is there by proclaiming that they don't know she is there. Too bad these kids don't know the first rule of Nanny McPhee, Nanny McPhee doesn't fuck around.
Nanny McPhee uses her powers to make the children do what they were doing before but in fast motion. The spell won't end until Simon, the ringleader, says please to Nanny McPhee. While Simon struggles with the moral dilemma presented by being forced to be polite Chrissy has forced to put the baby on the catapult. The catapult that shoots things into a pot of boiling water. Luckily Simon complies and says please because otherwise Nanny McPhee would have MURDERED A BABY! Damn.
Infanticide barely averted the children head to bed.
Simon convinces his siblings that witchcraft is no reason to submit to reasonable demands. To fight back the children introduce themselves to Nanny McPhee using names that include dirty words such as fart, bosom, and pussy muffin. Nanny McPhee counters this attack by knowing the children's actual names. Frankly I would expect even non-supernatural nannies to have this power.
The next morning Nanny McPhee tells the children they have half an hour to get out of bed and washed. When I was a child I never washed. I also had no friend. Simon thinks Nanny McPhee is a hypnotist which is how she made them almost cook a their sibling and by not looking into her eyes she will not have power over them. Then they fake having Solanum.
Nanny McPhee uses her dark arts to make the children feel the symptoms of the disease and also be stuck physically to their beds. it's a good thing they didn't fame something that gives you diarrhea.
Meanwhile we learn that father works with people who may be more insane then he is. Probably all the lead they use to preserve bodies in the 1800s. Not good for the undertakers.
Father, it seems, needs to remarry in the next month or his aunt will stop supporting him. I'm not sure why he needs financial aid if he has a job and several servants but like I said, it's the 1800s. You need cooks. Microwaves don't exist. Somebody has to make food and let you know you are more successful then people with fewer servants.
Outside the love interest is trying to learn how to read. Silly Irish, thinking they can learn.
Nanny McPhee then gets the cook who looks like a caricature from an 1800s anti Irish political cartoon to cook rotten potato broth for the children. She mentions she use to cook this when she was in the army. IRA I assume. Nanny McPhee convinces her that this staple of Irish eating will make the kids healthy again. Of course anybody who grew up in an environment where food existed will find it inedible.
With their wills broken from illness and malnutrition the children begin saying please to Nanny McPhee so she lifts her curse. What seems like a grand evening however crashes down when instead of reading to his children Father instead chooses to go to his room and continue being insane.
The next morning telegraph arrives that Aunt Adeleigh is coming for tea. The children think Aunt Adeleigh is vile vicious and mean, which is true. In her defense she appears to also be old, blind, and possible senile. She also pays the rent, even though father is employed and being an undertaker is a skilled profession that should pay well.
Aunt Adeleigh shows up in a horse drawn carriage with three attendants, one of whom appears to be Chinese. See him back there? She must be rich if she was able to get one shipped to Britain Aunt Adeleigh thinks that the reason father can't find a new wife is because he has too many children. He kind of does have too many children. Aunt Adeleigh thinks the solution is to take one to raise herself.
Chrissy overhears Aunt Adeleigh's idea and mistakes her father protesting for not protesting. The other children meanwhile realized that while they were told to put on their best clothes no stipulation on was made on what they should put their best clothes on so they have put them on the farm animals. Father thinking quickly licks Aunt Adeleigh's glasses which makes her not realize the farm animals aren't children for some reason.
Aunt Adeleigh eventually does find Chrissy and decides to bring her home. Luckily Nanny McPhee arrives just in time to make a donkey start flirting with Aunt Adeleigh, which makes her decide to the donkey is a child she wants. This is only a delaying tactic however. The children must decide which girl will be going while father and aunt drink sherry.
Father finally finds his spine and tells Aunt Adeligh to suck his dick because she ain't taking none of his kids. Aunt Adeleigh however tells him to suck her saggy tits cuz she is out the door. Nanny McPhee tells father the children decided amongst themselves who would be going promptly him to chase the carriage while yelling. Its about time he did something, I think this is the first scene where he didn't get to sit down within 30 seconds.
In a complete twist none of the children went with Aunt Adeligh. Instead they sent the Irish servant who is a love interest. That's actually a pretty sweet deal for her.
Due to a stipulation father must marry or the elderly gravy train will end. Mrs. Quickly, a horny old woman whose husband has died is his top choice for some reason. Simon tries to ask about whom she is and raise concerns that about how he and the other children are worried about having an evil stepmother, but instead of addressing these questions father has a mental breakdown.
Simon tries to recruit Nanny McPhee to
murder get rid of Mrs. Quickly. Nanny McPhee however does not take sides, like Sweden. She does agree to allow the children to do what they see as necessary to get rid of her on the condition that they are willing to take the consequences, like Sweden.
First step in getting rid of Mrs. Quickly is trying to stab her with an arrow. That is likely more evil then anything she would do as a stepmother. The kids then put a spider in Mrs. Quickly's hair, worms in her sandwich, and try to electrocute her. Every attempt to prank Mrs. Quickly is foiled by father noticing the prank first and then humping her. I bet the kids weren't expecting that. Mrs. Quickly leaves because she thinks he is being a cad.
That night father comes clean. He is unable to support his children and has only been able to survive because Aunt Adeleigh gives him money, but will stop as he is unable to remarry. Apparently not having to pay that one servant isn't enough to save him from financial ruin. With the money gone the house is going to be reposed and children put to work in the acid mines I'm betting Chrissy is wishing she would have moved in with her aunt right about now.
To make think right the children show up at Mrs. Quickly's house to explain that their father wasn't trying to be rude to her, but was protecting her from all the naughty things they were trying to do to her.
Get out of here Gary Glitter, you big pedo!
Anyways the kids get Mrs. Quickly and their dad back together and on track to marriage.
It's the day of the wedding. And it's a shaped themed wedding. I like sheep so I approve.
You're thinking of goats Gary Glitter. Baby sheep are called lambs.
Mrs. Quickly establishes herself as evil by breaking the rattle the baby always has which was given to her by their dead mother. Good idea, anger the incredibly intelligent troublemaking children before the wedding ceremony. I am sure nothing will go wrong.
Aunt Adeleigh shows up with Irish servant who is looking quite proper and ladylike. Obviously father ends up marrying her, but I wonder how they get past the fact that she is posing as his daughter. If this took place in Missouri that wouldn't be an issue but it doesn't.
During the outdoor wedding the children pretend there are bees pestering them
which in turn makes their father punch Mrs. Quickly. Okay.
Then there is a cake fight because….?
Mrs. Quickly takes off and Aunt Adeleigh is upset at father's poor choice in woman and also mad at her adopted Irish who fell back to her old ways during the cake fight by participating rather then ordering a servant to throw cake on her behalf.
The kids make the suggestion that the Irish woman marry their father so they can keep receiving money as well as have a stepmother who probably isn't evil
“Incest?” Aunt Adeleigh cried out in surprise. Ha, they said incest in a children's move.
The two agree to marry and Aunt Adeleigh faints when she finds out that father is marring an Irish servant which is odd because she didn't faint when he was going to marry his daughter. Nanny McPhee makes it snow and everything is clean and white now because that is symbolic I think.
So the two get married, Nanny McPhee uses magic to return the rattle, and even says good bye to the mother's chair, so maybe father wasn't insane and was just talking to a ghost. No longer needed Nanny McPhee walks off into the sunset content that she was able to help the children using her magical nanny powers in a way that didn't violate any copyrights owned by Disney.
So How Effective is Nanny McPhee?
Very effective. She got those kids from undisciplined hellions always up to no good to disciplined hellions fighting against evil in less then a week. Those nanny shows on TV take a full seven days but Nanny McPhee got business taken care of in an easy five. If her power could have been harnessed in WWII we'd have Hitler building nuclear rockets for us right now.
What Can the Average Parent Take from Nanny McPhee
Unfortunately few of Nanny McPhee's lessons can be applied to the average household. Sure it is easy for somebody to tell you to just “Bang your stick” when your child won't listen but then you try it and end up in jail.
In addition to her magic powers Nanny McPhee's vast history raising other people's children means she is able to quickly assess a child's personality and read a situation. She was able to quickly gauge Simon's true nature and knew he would not allow harm to come to one of his siblings. If you try a similar trick be careful, some children think boiling babies is funny.
Do I Recommend Nanny McPhee?
As a parenting guide I simply cannot recommend Nanny McPhee. The situation in question is simply too specified to be used as a general reference for parents or child care providers.
As a children's movie I suppose it gets the job done. The story is simple and teaches good lessons and there are enough incidences of animals doing things and food being thrown to keep those with short attention spans amused. Be aware some confused girls may think it is okay to marry their father afterwards. Personally when I am charged with caring for young ones my go to movie has, and will remain, Big Trouble in Little China.