Mr. Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) has just lost his wife and is now left with his seven children who misbehave so much that all the nannies have run away. Now he is told by a mysterious voice that he should get Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) who is a magical woman with special powers.
Seven children of a widower are out of control and unruly until Nanny McPhee arrives. She tells the children that as long as she is needed, and not wanted, she will stay. When she is wanted, and no longer needed, she will leave. She taps her magical cane when she needs it and she brings order to the household. The children wonder whether she is a witch or not, with some defending her and some questioning her. She does do the children good and their lives begin to change. This film does pass Dove’s approval with a warning that the kids are unruly in the beginning but they change dramatically for the better as the film progresses. There may be some question about the use of all the magic, but it mainly seems to be done in a fairy-tale type way, with good resulting. I saw this film with a wide range of children, from infants to teens and none of them seemed frightened, and they laughed at the comedic spots. They clapped at the end and their enjoyment of “Nanny McPhee” was obvious.