Nanny McPhee is one of the best loved children’s characters in recent years. There are two films both with the brilliant Emma Thompson in the starring role. Supporting Emma are some well known actors such as Colin Firth, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton and Ralph Fiennes.
Both films are generally well received by audiences. The first film in particular because of its completely new theme. Some have compared the idea of Nanny McPhee to Mary Poppins, in that the families have to work out for themselves how to get out of their terrible situations.
It's kept interesting and entertaining by the constant flurry of gags for the adults and good use of slapstick for the kids.
The theme of the character and her adventures is based on Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books. Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay for the first film and then she wrote the entire script for the second film.
The plot of both films is fairly similar; a parent living on their own struggles to cope with a number of "high spirited" children. A magical Nanny appears uninvited to teach the children a few lessons about socially acceptable behaviour, considerably improving her physical appearance as each lesson is learned.