If you’re casting around for things to do on a wet Bank Holiday, then look no further than the movie Nanny McPhee. This is the lovely film premier I was invited to a couple of weeks ago, then embargoed from talking about. An embargo at my dangerous mid-40s age is a dicey thing – there is a huge chance that I will simply forget all about whatever has been embargoed. This might well have happened with Nanny McPhee, if it hadn’t been such a great film. And the fact that every London bus is covered with ginormous posters has probably helped, too.
The premier was huge fun in itself – the inside of the cinema, the Vue in Leicester Square, was converted into an old-fashioned fair ground, with face-painting, a duck hooking game, entertainers and, best of all, four live piggy-wigs in a pen in the centre. The piglets, Gloucester Old Spots and thus a cut above your bog-standard Germolene pink piggy (though probably I shouldn’t mention the word ‘cut’ in their presence), were doing their level best to snooze as a throng of children ringed their pen and cooed at them. Possibly the pigs were worn out by their part in the film – they become infected by the McPhee magic and learn to climb trees, fly and perform other wonders.
Emma Thompson, who wrote the screenplay, based on the charming original Nanny McPhee books, is of course fantastic in the film. I actually found her rather scary in the early stages, though Child One and Two were withering about this later. ‘You find everything scary, Mum. You were even scared in Twilight!’ Well, yes, I was. It’s about vampires, you know.
The film is immensely charming. We can all sympathise with the mother, scattily trying her best to support and cope with her children while her husband is at war. She works in the local shop, owned by a dotty Maggie Smith whose idea of stocktaking is to ladle treacle into cupboard drawers. The mother’s distrait state of mind is represented by the way she wears all her (lovely) cardigans and jackets inside out, over her (lovely) floral tea dresses. Meanwhile, her (lovely) farmhouse is in a state of Cath Kidston-esque disarray and that stringy man who paraded around in his underpants in Notting Hill plays the evil brother-in-law, trying to get Mumsie to sell the farm.
When we talked about the film afterwards, we all had different favourite bits. Child One liked the way Nanny McPhee was transformed by the children, even as she was transforming them. Child Two was very taken with the pigs’ synchronised swimming (who wouldn’t be?). I , of course, was utterly in love with the picnicking scenes, when the whole family was seen yomping through golden fields of wheat and eating their five-a-day with a big smile on their faces. If only!
Go and see it – you’ll love it!
Photo Credit: Liam Daniel. – © Copyright:2010 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.