Monday, March 27, 2006

Review: Nanny McPhee

Emma Thompson is easily one of those actresses who works brilliantly in any film that she's in, regardless of the quality of the film as a whole. She doesn't get much of a chance in Nanny McPhee to show how astounding an actress she is, but she never once slacks or loses the strength of her onscreen presence (despite all that hideous makeup, or perhaps because of it). The film itself is a whimsical, fanciful color-fest, with the occasional dancing donkey lending it the feel of a straight-to-video children's movie. Despite similarities with Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (nowhere more obvious than during the end credits), Nanny McPhee does not soar the way that surprise 2004 gem did. Perhaps it needed a deliciously humorous cameo from Meryl Streep. The short appearance by Angela Lansbury is amusing, Colin Firth is at his charming, bumbling best, and Thomas Sangster still shows signs of great promise as he did in Love Actually. Kelly Macdonald, who did very well in Gosford Park is, in my opinion, unfortunately underutilized. The way the film ends is awkward and somewhat artificial, though I find it difficult to point out exactly why. Still, the film works on an emotional level, if only for a while. Grade: B

Image from IMDb

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