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USA: Universal Studios
UK: UIP (UK)
Cast: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jenny Daykin, Raphael Coleman, Samuel Honywood, Holly Gibbs, Hebe Barnes, Zinnia Barnes, Angela Lansbury, Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Berrington, Derek Jacobi, Patrick Barlow, Adam Godley, Claire Downes, Phyllida Law, Freya Fumie
Director: Kirk Jones
USA & UK: 98 mins
USA Rated: PG for mild thematic elements, some rude humor and brief language
UK Certificate: U contains mild language
USA Release Date: 27 January 2006
UK Release Date: 21 October 2005
The seven Brown children - Simon, Tora, Eric, Lily, Christianna, Sebastian and Baby Aggy - may well be the naughtiest children in the history of the world. Their beleaguered father, Mr. Brown, has his hands full taking care of his troublesome offspring by working long days at the local funeral parlour. The children's mother died only a year ago but Mr Brown's imperious Aunt Adelaide, who supplements his inadequate wages, has threatened to cut off her allowance to the family unless Mr. Brown remarries within a month. Debtor's prison awaits him if he doesn't comply, and the fate of the children would be unimaginable.
Mr Brown decides not to tell the children but they find out and assume he doesn't care enough about them to tell them they're about to have a new stepmother. As a result, their behaviour worsens, and their acts of outrageous mischief send yet another nanny screaming from the house. Simon, the oldest boy and the leader of the pack, keeps a chart showing the amount of time it's taken to drive away each of their 17 nannies along with the act of mischief that did the trick.
Mr. Brown keeps hearing that the nanny he needs is someone named Nanny McPhee, but he has no idea who she is or how to find her. "There will be snow in August before this family is straightened out," grouses their weary cook, Mrs. Blatherwick, to their scullery maid, Evangeline, who adores the children in spite of their behaviour. What the Brown family needs is a miracle. What they get is Nanny McPhee.
In the days that follow, the children find that any mischief they make will be used against them by Nanny McPhee who seems to enjoy giving them a taste of their own medicine. Meanwhile, a new complication arises for Mr. Brown when Aunt Adelaide arrives and announces her intention to take one of his daughters away to live with her. Nanny McPhee answers their appeal and distracts Aunt Adelaide but Simon saves the day by asking Evangeline, who longs to be an educated lady, to go with Aunt Adelaide. The switch is made, the girls are safe, and the children begin to re-evaluate this nanny whom they thought was their enemy. They also notice that something very mysterious is happening; as they learn Nanny McPhee's lessons, her looks appear to change. The warts go, the nose gets smaller, the single eyebrow separates into two normal ones. Has she really changed? Or is it just their attitude towards her that has changed?
As Mr Brown's marriage deadline approaches he begrudgingly invites to tea the dreadful Mrs Quickly, a woman so eager for his affections that she flirted with him throughout her third husband's funeral. Simon tries unsuccessfully to tell his father their concerns about a new stepmother so Simon turns to Nanny McPhee for help. Though she refuses to help directly, she agrees not to interfere if the children try to drive Mrs. Quickly away.
On the day of the wedding, it seems that the Browns face an impossible dilemma. Will Mr. Brown really have to marry Mrs. Quickly? Will the children be able to figure out on their own how to save the day? Nanny McPhee's magic, in tandem now with the children's own cleverness, brings about a series of hilarious and emotional surprises, transforming it into a day of glorious happiness for the family and a sad reminder for her that when children want her but no longer need her, she has to go.