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:: Nanny McPhee

When a traumatised nanny is convinced that the children she is looking after have eaten their baby sister, widow Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) is again forced to look for a new help for his seven wild children who have succeeded in terrorising the last seventeen nannies.

Enter Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson), a mysterious woman resembling a witch who uses magic and a set of five rules to tame the children led by the oldest child Simon (Thomas Sangster), who are adamant she too will be driven away by their tempestuous behaviour. McPhee’s constant uttering of “When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but do not need me, then I have to go” at first means nothing to the children, but they soon begin to ask for her help when their ridiculously wealthy Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lamsbury) tries to make their father remarry the hideous Selma Quickly (Celia Imrie) and tries to force one of the children to live with her.

Humour is a focal point of the film and a food fight at the intended wedding of Mr Brown and Ms Quickly is a highlight as is the children’s ploy to embarrass their father into forcing himself upon the pretentious Ms Quickly prior to their engagement.

Thompson is brilliant as McPhee, who doesn't often speak but conveys a thousand words through her facial expressions. Equally impressive is Firth as the soft hearted yet absent minded Cedric who tries to balance his private life between his relationship with his children.

Nanny McPhee is lighthearted and unpredictable, a far cry from some of the big budget children’s movie which try to cash in on special effects and not much else. The fact that Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay also has its appeal.