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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2005), PG [PG*] (1hr 31min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
January 26, 2006
74 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG [PG*] -- ... not a "Mary Potter" or "Harry Poppins" film ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Universal Pictures, Working Title Films, Three Strange Angels, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Studio Canal
Distribution (US): Universal Pictures
Director(s): Kirk Jones
Producer(s): Tim Bevan, David Brown, Liza Chasin, Noel Donnellon, Lindsay Doran, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Glynis Murray, David Z. Obadiah
Written by: Christianna Brand
Screenplay: Emma Thompson
Cinematography/Camera: Henry Braham
Music: Patrick Doyle
Film Editing: Justin Krish, Nick Moore
Casting: Michelle Guish
Production Design: Michael Howells
Art Direction: Lynne Huitson, Ray Chan
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Nineteenth century English recent widower Cedric Brown, mortician and father of seven kids, must remarry within a month to continue getting the financial support of Great Aunt Lady Adelaide (Angela Lansbury) who demands the kids have a mother. The only prospect Cedric can come up with is the crusty and opportunistic Selma Quickly (Celia Imrie) who cares nothing for the children. Indeed, she rather promised to be the stereotypical nasty stepmother portrayed in so many such films.

However, unbeknownst to Cedric, Evangeline (Kelly MacDonald), Cedric's scullery maid who dearly loves the children secretly loves him. Evangeline is still uneducated and cannot yet read. She thinks Cedric would see her as stupid. So she avoids making her feelings known to Cedric and tries to deal with both the plight of the children and her unrequited love for the father.

Since the death of their mother, the children have gone through 17 nannies. Cedric is flabbergasted since the local nanny agency won't even let him in because of his unruly children. But a voice comes through the mail slot in the nanny shop door telling Cedric he needs Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson). Then the mail slot flap slams shut before any information about how to contact Nanny McPhee comes through.

Suddenly one evening while reading his newspaper, Cedric sees an ad for Nanny McPhee. Just below the fold above the bottom half of the page is the contact information for Nanny McPhee. But as soon as Cedric unfolds the page to read the contact information, the information is missing because of paper dolls having been cut out of the page.

After a few more setbacks, a woman's shadow appears silhouetted from outside against the frost-etched glass pane of Cedric's front door, casting an image which threatens to replace the image of the woman floating from an umbrella. It is a large ugly woman with facial warts, a single eyebrow all the way across, a single buck tooth that protrudes below her lower lip and a cauliflower nose who announces herself as Nanny McPhee, not an agency nanny but a government nanny. She carries no carpetbag but carries a large wooden stick for a "cane" and wears a silly hat which animates in the breeze.

Since this report is being prepared on the opening day of the film, I will discuss the story no more in order to prevent undue spoiling of the film. If you watch the film, note the changes in Nanny McPhee as she performs five lessons.

Above I alluded to the Mary Poppins film and character for a specific reason. Nanny McPhee performs "magic", too. Using her cane, she thumps the floor to send out sparks and shock waves of "magic." But as with Mary Poppins, none of the "magic" is used to do evil or harm to anyone. Like Mary Poppins there is nothing sinister about Nanny McPhee.

To address the likely issue, Nanny McPhee is not a "Mary Potter" or "Harry Poppins" film from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Sorcery. The film does not hail Nanny as a witch as did each of the Harry Potter films [Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; the Goblet of Fire; the Prisoner of Azkaban; the Sorcerer's Stone]. Her "magic" was not used for evil purposes. The use or the user of the "magic" does not determine its holiness or unholiness. The source of it does. As the Mary Poppins character could have been an angel, so could Nanny McPhee have been an angel. If all "magic" were evil, Jesus would have sinned as He used His "magic" (holy power) to heal the sick, raise the dead and make the lame walk and the blind see.

Above I said there is nothing sinister about Nanny McPhee. Well, there is nothing sinister unless it is the eldest son, Simon (Thomas Sangster). Simon is exceptionally bitter and vicious about ousting yet one more nanny. Simon has been the mastermind of diabolical schemes to rid the family of each of the previous 17 nannies, the last of which ran off screaming. He is plotting to do the same with Nanny McPhee -- sometimes brutally. But Simon has met his match.

Here is where the film suffered the most point loss. Due to multiple instances of adolescent mischief including defacing and destruction of property and endangering the life of a baby, the film lost 99 of its starting 100 points in the Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area. Some of the instances of mischief were rather violent such as cutting off the heads of dolls with a guillotine and striking the back of cook's (Imelda Staunton) head with a skillet. [Prov. 22:15; Prov. 6:16, 18; Ps. 7:16; Job 15:35] The instances of mischief which were of the violent nature were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area, causing the loss of about one third of the starting 100 points in that area.

Each of the four other investigation areas (S, D, O, M) clearly revealed programming equivalent to G-rated films in the comparative baseline database. The only reason Sexual Immorality (S) lost any points was due to the excessive cleavage shown by Celia Imrie [1 John 2:16] and the implication of sexual aggression between Imrie and Firth. The one instance of drinking with drunkenness, portrayed also by Imrie, was the only reason the film lost any points in Drugs/Alcohol (D). [Eph. 5:18]

Since there was not one use of God's name in vain nor any issue of occultism, Satanism or other supernaturally unholy matters, the film lost no points and kept the full 100 points with which it started in the Offense to God (O) investigation area. Likewise for the Murder/Suicide (M) content. No instances of such behavior were noted.

There were a number of "messages" that might be drawn from Nanny McPhee. One is embedded within Nanny herself. The story includes an ugly hag turning into a beautiful woman who is beautiful inside from the start: that as she performs many good deeds, her beauty becomes obvious to all who come to know her; that beauty is not beautiful to some unless they either get something or find out for themselves. Oh, how harsh is the world in which beauty must be proven. [John 7:24]

Nanny McPhee should be a soft and warm film for most folks. It is a clever film with innovative uses of story-telling devices. On the surface it might seem to be just another of the mega-family films that have hit the big screen lately, but by closer inspection it becomes more than that. All I ask is that you as mom/dad read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you determine for what age stratum this film is appropriate, if any.


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  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
  • Prov. 6:16, 18 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: ... An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
  • Ps. 7:16 The trouble he causes [mischief] recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.
  • Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.
  • 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. This issue is do not get intoxicated. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why would there be and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.]
  • John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. I suspect "offend" includes sexually abusing the little ones. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
    Commentary section.

    Nanny McPhee (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • child cutting off the head of dolls with a guillotine
  • adolescent defacing/destruction of property, repeatedly
  • child striking an adult in the head with a skillet
  • child mischief endangering a baby
  • dead body, twice

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • adolescent mischief, repeatedly
  • child insolence
  • child speaking and spelling an offensive word
  • flatulence
  • intentionally hateful comment by an adolescent
  • adolescent defiance of fair authority
  • son yelling at father
  • father yelling at son
  • hanging effigies by the neck by children
  • emotional brutality
  • one use of the three/four letter word vocabulary

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • excessive breast exposure, repeatedly
  • portrayal of implied sexual aggression

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking/drunkenness, once

    Offense to God (O)
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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