I am no different than everybody else. Once I heard our beloved nanny was returning, my excitement level skyrocketed. Since then, I have been anxiously awaiting the magical arrival of MARY POPPINS RETURNS. What was once a childhood favorite has now provided a modern sequel and, after having seen an early screening, I can finally tell you the effect this movie had on me!
I received an invite to a complimentary media screening. All opinions in this post are 110% mine and mine alone. This post also contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Goodness ~ there are so many angles I could have taken with this post. I could have compared it to the books by P.L. Travers or compared to the 1964 movie with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. I could have talked about what I liked and didn’t like (there were a few things). Even so, I could have identified three points that really stood out to me or whether I feel this is really kid friendly. To be honest, that’s where everyone is going with it. When I was brainstorming this piece, however, I could not get away from one personal thought. There was something more important that stuck out to me, something that affected me. It was a thought I could not escape.
See, I had the opportunity to see the early screening literally two days after saying goodbye to our first fur baby. So, my heart was already in pieces. I had a strong feeling that watching something to do with the loss of a loved one had the potential to affect me in some way.
And that it did.
I hid it from my friends who were sitting in the same row, but my youngest son heard my sniffles and saw the glistening in my eyes. Of course, he was quite familiar with that pain himself and sniffed a few times, as well.
It’s no secret that the film takes place a short while after the loss of Michael Bank’s wife, the mother of Anabel, John and Georgie. When any kind of a loss like that occurs, the joy within seems to slip away. You can’t wrap your brain around the things that need to be done and it becomes extremely difficult to focus on what may be literally right in front of you.
Cue Mary Poppins’ return!
There is just something magical about that beautiful English nanny! She always knows the right time to “pop in” and that she does. She returns to the Banks home, the very home in which she cared for Jane and Michael when they were young, and immediately gets to work on helping to restore “what was lost.”
Through a series of magical adventures, which is of course how we would expect Mary Poppins to work, the children learn valuable lessons that bind them together even more. By instilling these timeless truths in the hearts of the new generation of Banks children, a grown up Michael also comes out from under his “umbrella” and finds a way to focus on the life in front of him.
The movie reminded my son and me so much of the things for which we had to be grateful. We have a million memories of our cherished pet. We still have another furbaby at home to love and cuddle. Not to mention, our beloved Cody is no longer suffering. The movie put a much needed smile on our face, even though we still had a few tears streaming down it, as well.
The story took us on an adventure and we walked away having learned (or was reminded) to:
- Focus on where we are going and not where I’ve been.
- Nothing is gone forever, only out of place.
- It’s all in the way you look at things (perspective).
- What’s missing may very well be inside of you (us).
A Few More Thoughts About The Movie…
When it comes to the upcoming, very much anticipated sequel, I admit that had to take a step back and do a little research to truly understand a few things. For one, Emily Blunt, whom I adore and believe is a fabulously talented actress, took a slightly different approach to the title character. While Julie Andrews was kind, gentle, prim and proper, Emily took on a more “blunt” approach and appeared a little more cold.
At first, that struck me as “off character” or unappealing. However, I then learned that the current film is more influenced by P.L. Travers’ version of Mary Poppins, in which the nanny did carry a more icy exterior. That made sense and I was able to accept what I saw on the screen by Blunt. So, taking that in mind, Emily Blunt was obviously the superb choice to fill the magical shoes of such an iconic role.
Another fun element from the books has to do with the names of the children. Two of them stem from the written series, in which there are actually five Banks children and not just the two we have come to know and love. I love it when Disney does that ~ rolls pieces of original films or texts into a contemporary, modern project. We’ve seen it in so many other films they have produced and this one is no different.
Regarding other casting choices...
When it comes to other characters in the film, Disney once again did a spectacular job at filling the roles.
Emily Mortimer was a perfect match for what Jane should look like as an adult. Lin-Manuel Miranda “lit up” his role as the lamperlighter and will dance his way into hearts across the world. Meryl Streep was absolutely marvelous in her role as Topsy (seriously, people – she was captivating!!). Not to mention I love how her role seems to parallel the story of Uncle Albert in the 1964 film.
Now, let’s talk about the younger actors! The children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Selah and Joel Dawson) worked seemlessly together. They were so mature, engaged and curious. I actually wish they had been a little more mischievous or naive, like Jane and Michael. However, at the same time, they weren’t Jane and Michael. So, it was nice to see some variety in the character development.
I will say that Ben Wishaw did a great job. However, he didn’t bring back the Michael I remembered from my childhood. He played the part well. I just could not help but want to see the reddish brown hair, icy blue eyes and mischievous smile.
What is there to say about Dick Van Dyke? Well, I’ll leave that one for you to discover and decide. However, I am pretty convinced that you will find yourself filled with joy when his scene comes up in the film.
Would I recommend Mary Poppins returns?
I would, but I do have a few small warnings.
- The film is a little long and may drag a bit for those perhaps under the age of eight. Their attention span not be able to handle some of the lengthier scenes or understand some of the story.
- There are also a few scenes that may slightly elevate anxiety levels. For instance, there is an alley scene like the first film that presents a darker environment and the unknown. The animated sequence also may stir a smidgen of nervousness, as there is a character or two who are up to no good.
- It also has to be remembered that the movie is centered around the loss of a loved one. There are no direct scenes related to her passing. However, it is referenced and is the focus of one particular song (one that made my eyes leak a little, just saying).
However, in spite of these few instances, there is nothing that I saw that should truly be a barrier to watching this as a family. It is a good story and honestly deserves the accolades it has already received.
Do you have your tickets yet?
Mary Poppins Returns arrives in theatres December 19th and tickets are already on pre-sale. What a great stocking stuffer or holiday outing for the whole family! It will appeal to those who loved the original film, those who have read the books and those new to such a magical character and story. Looks like a win-win to me.
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