Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

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Nanny Mcphee and the Big Bang
Nanny mcphee and the big bang ver2.jpg
UK theatrical release poster
Directed by Susanna White
Produced by Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Lindsay Doran
Screenplay by Emma Thompson
Based on Nurse Matilda 
by Christianna Brand
Starring Emma Thompson
Rhys Ifans
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Asa Butterfield
Ewan McGregor
Maggie Smith
Bill Bailey
Katy Brand
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Mike Eley
Edited by Sim Evan-Jones
Relativity Media
Working Title Films
Three Strange Angels
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • 26 March 2010 (2010-03-26) (Europe)
  • 20 August 2011 (2011-08-20) (North America)
Running time 109 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $35 million[2]
Box office $93,251,121[3]

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (released in the United States and Canada as Nanny McPhee Returns) is a 2010 family film. It is a sequel to the 2005 film Nanny McPhee. It was adapted by Emma Thompson from Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books.[4] Thompson reprises her role as Nanny McPhee, and the film also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Ewan McGregor, Maggie Smith, Asa Butterfield,[4] Bill Bailey and Katy Brand.


During World War II, Isabel Green is trying to keep the family farm, up working in the general shop, aided by the elderly and partly blind Mrs. Docherty, and looking after three dutiful yet boisterous children: Norman, Megsie and Vincent. All of this she has to do while her husband is away at war. By the time her children's two haughty and spoiled cousins, Cyril and Celia Gray, are sent to live on their farm, she is at her wit's end. She hears a mysterious voice telling her that she needs Nanny McPhee and, to her astonishment, Nanny McPhee appears on her doorstep one stormy night.

At first, the five children refuse to obey Nanny PcPhee and carry on fighting, but she magically causes them to start hurting themselves, and Vincent to break things with his cricket bat. Eventually, they apologize and the two groups promise to tolerate each other. Nanny McPhee then teaches them another lesson, to share, by forcing the older boys to share their bed with a goat, the girls with the family cow, and Vincent with a baby elephant, making them realize sharing with one another wasn't so bad. Meanwhile, Isabel's brother-in-law Phil has gambled away the farm and is being chased down by two hit women. He desperately attempts to make Isabel sell her half of the farm, using an array of schemes. These include digging a hole so that the family piglets can escape, but the children manage to round them up in time, completing the third lesson, to work together.

To celebrate catching the piglets, Mrs. Green takes all the children on a picnic, during which Mr. Docherty warns them all about bombs and how he imagines a pilot might accidentally release his bomb in the remote area in which the family lives. At the end of the picnic Uncle Phil delivers a telegram saying that Rory Green has been "killed in action" in the war. Isabel, along with everybody else, believes the telegram. Norman, however, does not and says that he has a feeling "in his bones" that his father is not dead. Cyril agrees to help Norman determine the truth by meeting with his father, Lord Gray, a high-ranking figure in the War Office. The boys manage to get Nanny McPhee to take them to London on her motorcycle.

Upon arrival in London, Nanny McPhee uses her status in the army to get the boys access to the War Office. At first, Lord Gray scoffs at Norman when he tells him about his disbelief of his father's death, but after Cyril angrily informs his father that he knows that his parents are getting a divorce, he gives in and goes to check on Rory's status. While he is gone, Cyril tells Norman that he and Celia have been sent away because their parents will be splitting up, and not because of bombings, and he is unsure where he and Celia will have to live. Norman tells Cyril that he and Celia are welcome to live on the farm with the Greens, to his delight. Lord Gray returns and informs them that Rory is not listed as killed in action, as the telegram had stated, but rather missing in action, and that there is no record of a telegram ever having been sent to Isabel.

Norman works out that the telegram brought to his mother by Uncle Phil was in fact a fraud to get Isabel to sell the farm. While the boys rush home, Megsie, Celia and Vincent are trying to stop Isabel from signing the papers and selling the farm. When their own efforts fail, Megsie calls to Nanny McPhee for help, who hears her plea and summons a baby elephant to stall for time. Just as Isabel is about to sign the papers, an enemy plane flies overhead. The pilot sneezes twice, and on the third sneeze, a huge bomb is dropped, but does not explode and is left sticking out of the barley field. When Nanny McPhee returns with Norman and Cyril, the five children go out to watch Mr. Docherty dismantle the bomb, but he falls from the ladder and faints, forcing Megsie to take over. She succeeds with the help of the other children and Nanny McPhee's putty-eating bird, Mr. Edelweiss. Nanny McPhee then helps to magically harvest the barley and save Phil from the hit women.

As Nanny McPhee walks away from the now happy family, true to her statement "When you need me, but do not want me, I must stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go", the children and Isabel chase after her, determined to prove they still need her. However, they discover that they in fact do not, as they round a bend to see Rory Green (Ewan McGregor), in army uniform and with an injured arm, runs to the arms of his children and wife and rejoices in the discovery that after leaving three children to go to war, he has returned to find five. As Nanny McPhee (now a beautiful woman) watches the reunion, she forgives Mr. Edelweiss and allows him to perch on her shoulder as they leave into the distance.

Nanny McPhee's five lessons[edit]

In addition to emphasising discipline, manners and accepting the consequences of one's actions, Nanny McPhee has five very important base lessons to teach – each of which correspond to her various unattractive physical attributes: grey hair, two large moles, a unibrow, and a snaggle-tooth protruding over her bottom lip, all of which give her the appearance of a stereotypical witch. Nanny is as ugly as the children are naughty, so whenever a lesson is learned, one of her disfigurements vanishes. When all five lessons are learned, Nanny McPhee transforms from an ugly witch to beautiful woman.


  • Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee, the magical nanny who changes the lives of the Green and Gray children.
  • Rhys Ifans as Phil Green, Norman, Megsie, and Vincent's uncle who tries to sell the farm because he gambled it away at a casino.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Isabel Green (née Carrington) the frazzled mother of Norman, Megsie, and Vincent.
  • Asa Butterfield as Norman Green, the eldest of the Green children.
  • Lil Woods as Megsie Green, the middle and only girl of the Green children.
  • Oscar Steer as Vincent Green, the youngest of the Green children.
  • Ewan McGregor as Rory Green, the father of the Greens, away fighting in World War II.
  • Eros Vlahos as Cyril Gray, the spoiled cousin of Norman, Megsie, and Vincent. He becomes kinder throughout the film and makes friends with Norman.
  • Rosie Taylor-Ritson as Celia Gray, the other spoiled cousin of Norman, Megsie, and Vincent.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Lord Gray, Cyril and Celia's father, who is very high up in the War Office.
  • Maggie Smith as Agatha Docherty (née Brown), the owner of the shop at which Mrs. Green works. She is baby Aggie from the first film grown up.
  • Sam Kelly as Mr. Algernon Docherty, Mrs. Docherty's husband, who is an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Warden.
  • Sinead Matthews as Miss Topsey, a henchwoman of Mrs. Biggles, the woman who owns the casino that Phil gambled the farm away at.
  • Katy Brand as Miss Turvey, the colleague of Miss Topsey.
  • Bill Bailey as Farmer MacReadie, the farmer who buys the piglets from the Greens.
  • Nonso Anozie as Sergeant Ralph Jeffreys, the guard at the War Office, and a former charge of Nanny McPhee.
  • Daniel Mays as Blenkinsop, Cyril and Celia's chaffeur.
  • Ed Stoppard as Lieutenant Addis, a coworker of Lord Gray.
  • Toby Sedgwick as an enemy plane pilot.


Critical response for the film was positive with most reviews giving 4 out of 5 stars, receiving a 76% approval rating based on 113 reviews from Rotten Tomatoes,[5] with the consenus "Emma Thompson's second labor of love with the Nanny McPhee character actually improves on the first, delivering charming family fare with an excellent cast."

News of the World gave it 4/5 stars, stating the film was "smart, witty and beautifully crafted – exactly what you want from a family film" and excited about the next film said "Roll on Nanny McThree".[6] The Independent gave a very favourable review, stating "the film is an ingenious entertainment machine fuelled by a profound understanding of what children enjoy, whether it's cowpats, talking welly boots or piglets doing synchronised swimming. Thompson has written a properly funny script, which is performed superbly by Ifans, Maggie Smith, Bill Bailey, Ralph Fiennes and some estimable child actors."[7] Eros Vlahos was nominated for Best Leading Young Actor at the Young Artist Awards 2011 against Noah Ringer for The Last Airbender, Zachary Gordon for Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Jaden Smith (winner) for The Karate Kid.

Box office[edit]

In the UK, the film opened at number one, with £2,586,760[8] outperforming fellow new release The Blind Side, grossing a total of £16,211,057. In the United States and Canada, it debuted in seventh position with a $8.4 million.[9] Gross exceeded $27M+.[10]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 19 June 2010. Nanny McPhee Returns (as the film was renamed for the North American market) was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 6 May 2011.

Relation to Nurse Matilda[edit]

The film is one of a wave of adaptations of the book trilogy by children's author Christianna Brand, Nurse Matilda. The books have almost no connection to the film, but most scenes in the film are adapted from the books.[contradiction] Emma Thompson started to write the script based on Brand's books in the spring of 2007.

Film locations[edit]

The village in the film is Hambleden in Buckinghamshire, the farm set and scenes were filmed in Hascombe, near Godalming in Surrey and the War Office scenes, both interior and exterior, were filmed at the University of London, and the motorbike scenes on various London roads. Senate House.[11]


  1. ^ "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Fritz, Ben (19 August 2010). "Movie projector: Five new movies open, but 'Expendables' may kick butt again". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Nanny McPhee Returns". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Ali Jaafar (14 April 2009). "Maggie Gyllenhaal boards 'Nanny'". Variety. Retrieved 10 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "Nanny McPhee Returns". Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Barber, Nicholas (28 March 2010). "The Blind Side, John Lee Hancock, 128 mins, (12A) Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang, Susanna White, 117 mins, (U) Nightwatching, Peter Greenaway, 134 mins, (18)". The Independent (London). 
  8. ^ "Box-Office for the film (Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang)". Screenrush. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)". Box Office Mojo. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links[edit]

sequel A third film is being planned as Emma Thompson stated previously in an interview on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Presently, rumors have circulated that the plot for the third installment may be set in modern-day England. Emma Thompson, star and writer, has hinted that this may be a possibility.