NOTE: This spoiler was written and submitted by L.
During World War II, Mrs. Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is taking care of her three children, Norman, Megsie and Vincent, while her husband is fighting over seas. She works in the local shop with her neighbor Mrs. Doherty (Maggie Smith), who is a little off. Her children are very high maintenance but she convinces them that everything has to be clean because their cousins will be arriving. While at the shop, the kids continue cleaning until their snooty cousins, Cyril and Celia arrive from the city a day early. Cyril and Celia are sent to the country “because of the bombs” and despite being with relatives, they instantly clash with Mrs. Green’s children.
Mrs. Green goes to her shop to tidy up a bit and bring home some things for the cousins when her husband’s brother, Uncle Phil (Rhys Ifan) comes by to convince her to sell the farm. He points out that she is barely making her payments on the tractor she bought and that if they have a bad harvest, she will be forced to sell the farm and her children will be in the poor house. Two hit women named Topsey and Turvey tell Uncle Phil that if he cannot pay his debts to a mob boss, they will kill him to settle the debt and stuff his body. Phil assures them that he can get a farm to settle the debt and runs off.
Back at the house, Cyril finds strawberry jam and wants to eat it but the other children do not want Cyril to touch it because they saved up their sugar stamps for months to be able to make the sugar. Cyril runs around with the jar and destroys it, ruining the jam. Norman and his siblings instantly take to arms, prepared to beat their cousins senseless with various household objects.
Mrs. Green is exasperated with the situation and overwhelmed with Mrs. Doherty’s antics. Seeing that Mrs.Doherty has managed to ruin their shop and knowing that the children are not getting along, Mrs. Green hears a voice telling her to call Nanny McPhee. The voice follows her through the woods to her house, kicking up wind and haunting her until she caves and says that she needs Nanny McPhee. As the storm kicks up Nanny McPhee arrives to help discipline the children.
Nanny McPhee sees the children fighting and demands that they stop immediately and go to bed. When they do not listen, she stomps her cane on the ground and discharges magic through the room, stopping the kids. Cyril asks if he is supposed to be impressed when the children start pulling their own ears, braking things and flipping themselves all over the furniture. Norman deduces that McPhee’s stick is making them do it and all of them beg her to stop. She says she will if they apologize and promise not to fight again. Vincent is dragged towards the fireplace and knows that their dad’s letters from abroad will fall into the fire and the children all apologize. The letters fall as everyone apologizes so Mr. Adlevice, the crow, catches them once Nanny McPhee freezes them in mid-air. The children all stare at her and then go to bed as they are told. They wish Mrs. Green a good night and go to bed. Mrs. Green is surprised. Nanny McPhee tells Vincent to put the letters back and he is surprised to see all the broken objects were fixed. He thanks her and her large wart vanishes. Lesson 1 - Stop Fighting - is complete.
Nanny McPhee goes upstairs to visit them. She makes it clear that if they need her when they don’t want her, she will stay. When they want her but don’t need her, she must go. The kids are doubtful about this. She makes the cousins share beds with Norman and Megsie. Mrs. Green offers Nanny McPhee some tea. While she makes tea, McPhee sends an elephant to share the bed with Vincent. She leaves afterwards, telling Mrs. Green he doesn’t need to worry about payments. She bums into Uncle Phil as Phil arrives to steal the family’s pigs. By stealing the pigs, the Greens will be forced to sell the farm and give him a portion of the money.
Cyril theorizes that McPhee is a secret weapon that gasses children to make them do what they want. Lesson 2 sharing nicely is complete. Nanny McPhee’s hair turns blonde. The cousins are openly sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other, united against McPhee. However, the situation gets tricky when Cecilia steals Mrs. Green’s wedding dress, upsetting Megsie. Norman and Vincent see that the piglets are gone and the children are forced to try and catch them. Cecilia wants to stay behind but Nanny McPhee intimidates her with the cane.
Uncle Phil finds the buyer of the pigs coming to the farm and tells him of the escape. The farmer is glad to learn in advance and offers to give fill a ride as thanks for the heads up. The children chase the pigs, which have started dancing, all over the woods around the farm. They use Mrs. Green’s wedding dress and Cyril’s academy training to lure the pigs into a trap and catch them. The Farmer sees the kids catching the pigs and is surprised but pleased to see them. Vincent tells him that they dance so he gives them a tip. Mrs. Green is happy that they got the tractor money. She’s sad that her wedding dress was ruined but puts it aside since they were so clever. She tells them they will have a picnic. Lesson 3 Help Each Other is complete. Nanny McPhee’s unibrow vanishes.
Cecilia and Cyril’s driver returns and leaves Cecilia’s shoes. Cecilia is disappointed her mother isn’t there to see her. They are still stuck with their cousins. Nanny McPhee is concerned by this but lets the children have their own way. Megsie brings Cecilia her shoes from the kitchen but Cecilia doesn’t want them. She gives Megsie her shoes and is given better clothes in return.
Mrs. Green cleans her wedding veil and remembers getting married to Mr. Green (Ewan McGregor) while scrubbing it. She misses him terribly and wonders where he’s ended up. She takes the children on a picnic after paying off the tractor. Mrs. Doherty sits with them and her husband. McPhee stresses her disdain for Mr. Adlevice, who ate her window putty. They ask about her Medals and she explains how she got them. The festivities are interrupted by Uncle Phil, who arrives carrying a letter from the military Mr. Green was killed in action. Norman doesn’t believe it. He feels it in his bones that his father is still alive.
Cyril and Norman decide to visit Cyril’s father in London to find out what happened, since Cyril’s father is very high up in the war office. Nanny McPhee drives them to London while Cecilia and Megsie are left behind to keep Mrs. Green from selling the farm, having deduced that it was a ruse by Uncle Phil. They get stuck in traffic, so Nanny McPhee flies over it with her motorcycle.
Topsey and Turvey pay Uncle Phil another visit. He tells them that he is on his way to succeeding while he runs off to get the farm. At the war office, the children visit Lord Gray (Ralph Fiennes). Lord Gray insults his son and tells his nephew that there’s nothing that he can do if the only reason they think Mr. Green is alive is a feeling in Norman’s bones. Cyril stands up to his father and tells him that he is aware of his parent’s impending divorce. The children stand their ground and Lord Gray is stricken by the fact he has been a bad father. Nearly in tears, he goes to the head office and asks for information on Mr. Green. He finds out that no letter was sent by the military and that Mr. Green was only missing in action.
At the house, Megsie tries to stall but Uncle Phil wants to sign the farm away as soon as possible. The pens vanish and Phil is unable to sign the document (thanks to an elephant which sucks away all the pens from under the table). Nanny McPhee and the boys arrive in time to stop Mrs. Green from selling the farm, exposing Uncle Phil. Uncle Phil begs to be arrested so that the assassins can’t kill him, while Mr. Doherty is upset by the fact that bombs are on their way from the Nazis. Norman tells his mother that Mr. Green is only missing in action, delighting her.
A bomb lands in the fields and Mr. Doherty explains that if it explodes, the barley will be destroyed. Mrs. Green handcuffs Phil to a pot shelf so he can’t get away. The family runs out to the bomb to deactivate it as the assassins arrive to deal with Phil. Mr. Doherty climbs up but passes out from fear. Megsie climbs up the ladder and the kids read out the instructions. Megsie cuts the right wires but sees that putty is preventing her from cutting the final wire. With seconds to go, Mr. Adlevice flies over and eats the putty, allowing her to cut the final wire, deactivating the bomb. Mr. Adlevice flies around, full of putty and burps, throwing all the barley into neat piles. The explosion knocks Topsie and Turvey far away from Uncle Phil, saving him. Lesson 4 To be brave - is complete. Nanny McPhee’s nose shrinks.
Mrs. Doherty thanks Nanny McPhee for all that she has done for the family. She reveals that she is baby Aggie (from the first film) and asks if McPhee is leaving. McPhee thanks her for asking her over and leaves. Mrs. Green is upset that Nanny McPhee is leaving and runs to catch up with her. Each child sees that they have inherited one of Nanny McPhee’s medals. The children follow her, but she passes out of sight.
As she leaves, she passes Mr. Green, returning from the war. Mrs. Green runs into his arms and the children hug him. He is introduced to his nephew and niece and gives the group a big hug. Lesson 5 to have faith is complete. Nanny McPhee’s snaggle tooth disappears and her voice softens. She leaves the Greens happy with Mr. Adlevice, off to help another poor family.
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