Nanny McPhee
Nanny mcphee
Theatrical release poster
Film information

Directed by

Kirk Jones

Produced by

Lindsay Doran
Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner

Release Date(s)

January 27, 2006




$25 million

Gross Revenue


Followed by

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

Nanny McPhee is a 2005 British fantasy film directed by Kirk Jones. The film stars Emma Thompson and Colin Firth. Thompson also scripted the film, which is adapted from Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books.


In 19th century England, widowed Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) has seven children: Simon (Thomas Sangster), Tora (Eliza Bennett), Lily (Jennifer Rae Daykin), Eric (Raphaël Coleman), Sebastian (Samuel Honywood), Chrissy (Holly Gibbs) and baby Aggie (Hebe and Zinnia Barnes). He loves his children very much, but spends little time with them, unable to handle raising them all on his own, after their mother died. The children have had a series of seventeen nannies, whom they systematically drive out; it is a point of pride for them to get rid of each nanny as fast as possible. They also terrorize the cook, Mrs. Blatherwick (Imelda Staunton) but are cared for and loved by Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald) the young scullery maid.

Cedric attempts to hire another nanny from the agency that sent the past seventeen nannies, but the agency refuses him, as the children have sent the past nannies away, terrorized. Desperate to find another nanny, Cedric heeds the advice of a mysterious voice from the house, which says, "the person you need is Nanny McPhee." After a series of mysterious events, an unusual and hideous woman named Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives at Brown home, introducing herself as a "government nanny." She finds the children destroying the kitchen, and when they refuse to go to bed, she taps her magic staff, causing the children to uncontrollably demolish the kitchen (almost boiling Aggie in the process). When Simon finally says "please", she magically clears up the mess and sends them up to bed. In similar fashions, with discipline and magic, she transforms the family's lives. In the process, she gradually becomes less hideous. The children, led by Simon, attempt to play their tricks on her, but gradually start to respect her and ask her for advice.

Unbeknownst to the children, the family is financially supported by the late Mrs. Brown's Aunt, the fearsome Lady Adelaide Stitch (Angela Lansbury). Though she believes that she is acting in concern for the well-being of her family, Adelaide is the source of major conflicts in the Browns' lives. In conjunction with her support for the family, Adelaide demands custody over one of the children in order to ensure their continued education and proper upbringing. She initially chooses Chrissy to go with her, but as the children - and Cedric himself - loathe the idea of parting with one of the siblings, Simon offers up Evangeline in Chrissy's place. Adelaide agrees, assuming that she is one of the daughters, and adopts Evangeline as her own. Both Evangeline's desire to be properly educated, as well as Adelaide's latest contractual stipulation, are satisfied by the act of trickery.

Lady Adelaide also demands that Cedric remarry within the month, threatening to cut off the family's allowance if he fails to do so. Desperate to keep his family together and prevent losing his house, Cedric turns to the ghastly and thrice-widowed Selma Quickly (Celia Imrie). Based on the image of stepmothers in fairy tales, the children assume that stepmothers are all cruel, and attempt to sabotage a visit from Mrs. Quickly. Mr. Brown's endeavors to protect Mrs. Quickly from his children result in him throwing himself on top of her, pulling her to the floor and burying his face in her cleavage. Nevertheless, Mrs. Quickly - ignorant of the children's pranks - is happy with all this provided that she gets a proposal. However, when his proposal is ruined by more pranks, she leaves angrily and refuses to see him again. The children are thrilled that Mrs. Quickly is gone, but are horrified when Cedric explains the situation. They beg Nanny McPhee to reverse what happened, but she reminds them that she cannot as it was caused by their own actions and they had promised to face the consequences. Realising the only option, they confess to Mrs. Quickly that they were to blame for the disturbance of her visit, and lure her with promises of Aunt Adelaide's wealth.

On the day of the wedding, the children discover that Mrs. Quickly is as conniving and cruel as they had feared when she breaks Aggie's rattle - a memento of their late mother. When everyone is gathered for the wedding, Simon despairs that there is nothing more they can do to stop this marriage. Nanny McPhee advises Simon the best thing is to do "exactly as you are told." Aggie begins repeating the word "beehive" (Imitating Mrs. Quickly, as earlier she strictly told them to "behave") to Simon, who realizes the baby is telling him what to do. He and the other children disrupt the ceremony by pretending a swarm of bees has been attracted to Quickly's flowered hat. Things rapidly descend into chaos; the priest is deathly allergic to bees and panics, and this soon leads to a riotous food fight. Cedric realizes that both he and his children truly dislike his wife-to-be, and joins in the disruption of the ceremony. Mrs. Quickly asks Cedric point blank if he can actually see any bees, and he says that yes, he can, then swats an imaginary bee from her hat so forcefully that she falls to the ground. Angered, Mrs. Quickly puts an end to the wedding and storms off.

Just as it seems that Adelaide's marriage deadline has passed without result, Simon realizes that his father could still marry Evangeline, to whom he has demonstrated something of an attraction, and vice versa. Although both Cedric and Evangeline attempt to deny it, due to the inevitable breaking of class boundaries such a marriage would cause, they finally admit their love for each other.

Nanny McPhee taps her magic staff one last time, and provides a perfect backdrop for Cedric's marriage to Evangeline by creating a beautiful snowstorm, covering over the ruined mess of the ceremony site, and fulfilling Mrs. Blatherwick's earlier declarations that "it'll be snowing in August before this family is straightened out!" She also magically transforms Evangeline's dress into a glorious, white wedding gown, seemingly woven from the falling snowflakes, and Aggie's rattle is magically restored. Aunt Adelaide's demand is satisfied, and all of the family's problems are solved.

Now that the children have learned all of Nanny McPhee's lessons, she has been transformed from the heavyset hag they first met into a beautiful young woman. As the wedding ceremony commences, Nanny McPhee is seen in the final frames, her silhouette walking into the horizon, with her voiceover reiterating her earlier declaration that "When you need me, but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go."



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