‘Mary Poppins Returns’ hits theaters this Friday, just time for a family holiday movie outing! Prepare to go fly a kite down memory lane with this amazing film!
Mary Poppins returns to Cherry Tree Lane, and in a big way! The long-awaited, sequel to the 1964 Walt Disney film Mary Poppins is every bit as magical as it is timely. A loss in the Banks family brings back the beloved nanny, as she tries to remind Michael Banks and his three, wise-beyond-their years children of the joys of youth and imagination. Filled with perfectly timed songs reminiscent of the original and amazing adventures that only Disney can take you on, Mary Poppins Returns flies high with Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw leading us through the magic of the impossible.
Set about 30 or so years after Poppins’ first visit to Cherry Tree Lane, we’re reintroduced to Michael Banks, who is a grieving widower with three children. The struggling artist is so distraught over the loss of his wife that he has forgotten to pay off the loan he took out on the family home, which now risks repossession by the bank. As Michael and his always-optimistic sister Jane search their home for shares in the bank left by their father, Mary Poppins shows up in the nick time to help Michael’s young kids through their grief and worry for their father. As soon as Mary arrives, in the splitting of the clouds on the string of a kite, of course, the world around her immediately brightens. While her presence is incredibly nostalgic for everyone watching, Blunt’s Poppins is a snappy disciplinarian, yet a mystifying creature that takes pleasure in making children believe in the unbelievable. She is quite different from the spoon full of sugar that was Julie Andrews‘ Poppins, but just as magical and lovable.
However, just as we recall Andrews in character, Blunt is so entrancing, she makes even you believe in the impossible, tapping in to the youthful glee that many of us may have lost touch with in the turmoil of modern times. Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, a leery who worked as an apprentice under Bert (Dick Van Dyke) in the original, tags along with Mary Poppins throughout her adventures with the kids, helping reinforce their belief in the magic. From diving into a bathtub and resurfacing in a vast sea of animals, to taking a trip to a dancehall right on the surface of their mom’s favorite China bowl, the Banks children, at first reluctant to accept the help and love of a nanny, go through a remarkable change before our eyes. As they watch Mary and Jack perform in an updated version of the live-action-meets-drawn-cartoon scene from the original, Georgie, Anabel and John light up in childish wonder, for the first time in a long time letting go of the sadness and concern holding them back from embracing their childhood.
In moments that words are not enough to express the wonder and emotion, the characters do so in song. In one of the early scenes, a stoic Michael sits in the attic and sings to his wife, in one of the first of the many lump-in-throat scenes of the film. In another, Poppins tucks Anabel, Georgie and John in to bed, and lulls them to sleep with a song that tells there is a place where lost things go — a moment that will absolutely bring a fat tear down your cheek. Of course, in between these scenes there are epic dance sequences, like Jack’s “Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” which is a stunning homage to Dick Van Dyke’s ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee,’ yet completely different in its own, delightful way.
The beauty of nostalgia is that you’re wistfully brought back to a place of personal happiness. As much as Mary Poppins returned for Banks children, she also returned for you and me — to remind us ‘nothing’s gone forever, only out of place.’
HollywoodLife.com attended a special screening of Mary Poppins Returns, hosted by the Cinema Society with FIJI Water and Lindt Chocolate.