On a farm in Britain during World War II, Mrs. Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is driven to her wits end by her hectic life. Between trying to keep the family farm up and her job in the village shop, aided by the elderly and slightly mad Mrs. Doherty (Maggie Smith), she also has three boisterous children to look after, Norman (Asa Butterfield), Megsie (Lil Woods) and Vincent (Oscar Steer). All of this she has to do while her husband is away at war. So when her children’s two spoiled cousins, Cyril (Eros Vlahos) and Celia (Rosie Taylor-Ritson) are sent to live on their farm and another war is being fought between the two sets of children, she is in need of a little magic.
At first, it takes a big bang of Nanny McPhee’s stick to make the children realise that they cannot go on fighting and they eventually learn to tolerate each other. Meanwhile, Mrs. Green’s brother in law, Uncle Phil (Rhys Ifans), has gambled away the farm and is being chased down by two hit women. He desperately attempts to make Mrs. Green sell her half of the farm, using many mean and spiteful schemes. One day, Mrs Green takes all the children on a picnic, at the end of which Uncle Phil delivers a telegram saying that Mr. Green has been ‘killed in action’ in the war. Mrs Green believes the telegram, along with everybody else. But Norman says that he can “feel it in his bones” that his father is not dead. Soon, the children, with Nanny at their head, are off to the war office in London to get to the bottom of things.
I won’t tell you any more – that should be enough to whet your appetitie if you’re a Nanny McPhee fan, as am I. The film has already been released in Britain and is scheduled for release here on August 20th. In the meantime, you can visit the film’s official site here. The Telegraph sums up their review of the film by saying “This is a shrewd, heartfelt piece of work.”