March 07, 2006

"What you need is Nanny McPhee"

I almost forgot to mention that we celebrated Oscar night by enjoying a night at the movies with Nanny McPhee, which some of us found surprising -- the enjoyment of it all, that is -- because some of us (those under the age of 40 who weren't especially keen to see either Emma Thompson or Colin Firth) were actually quite unwilling to see the movie, based on commercials and a preview that showed a singularly unattractive, almost frightening, character and very dark atmosphere. But by the end, the kids all tumbled out the theater laughing and asking if we could see it again.

I can't say I blame the kids for their reluctance. Between Emma Thompson looking very ugly (and not all the charming young woman they remembered from the French lesson scene in Henry V), shouts of "They've eaten the baby!", the attempt to cook the baby, scenes set in Mr. Brown's mortuary with his clients stretched out before him, not to mention tarantulas and earthworm sandwiches and other Dahl-ish touches, this isn't the usual kiddie fare. It's also not entirely aimed at kids, with just as much borrowed from My Fair Lady as from Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, and definitely a cautionary tale for permissive parenting types. Not to mention a very nice, fairly subtle -- for the the younger set anyway -- reinforcement about some everyday lessons popular here at Farm School. As Nanny McPhee says, "I have five lessons to teach. What they learn is entirely up to them."

An admission -- I read one of the Nurse Matilda books years ago, though past childhood, and can't remember too much about it, so I can't say how the book compares to the movie, usually a big deal for me. If we don't get back to the movie theater by Thursday night, when Nanny McPhee moves on, I just may have to treat the kids to one or two volumes via interlibrary loan.

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