Movie Review Monday: Mary Poppins Returns
With Christmas swiftly coming upon us, Disney has released another family classic in Mary Poppins Returns. Set three decades after the 1964 original film, the film sees Mary Poppins needed once again to save the Banks family. It was directed by Rob Marshall with the screenplay written by David Magee. Emily Blunt stars as the magical nanny with Lin-Manuel Miranda playing her lamplighter friend, Jack. Some of the other supporting cast members include Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson.
The film begins with Jack the lamplighter extinguishing the lights around London. He sings about the loveliness of the London sky despite the economic circumstances at that time. He passes by the Banks’ house on Cherry Tree Lane, where Michael now lives with his housekeeper, Ellen, and his three children. Since the death of his wife, Michael has struggled with the financial responsibilities, and he is now so behind on loan payments that he is required to pay the loan in full. These dire circumstances prompt the return of the magical Mary Poppins, who sets out to help the Banks family once again.
I found Mary Poppins Returns to be a whimsical adventure that is suitable for the whole family. There are some beautiful choreography sequences with the piece involving the lamplighters being one of the best. Any time that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt share the stage is a highlight, and their dance sequence in the music hall is stunning. It is also a visually delightful film between the London scenery and the bright colors of the animated worlds that Mary Poppins brings to life. All of these environments are made all the better by the new original songs. I was pleased to not see them rely on old favorites but instead give hints of the previous score while giving this movie its own sound.
The film has a stunning cast, and truly, Emily Blunt’s performance was practically perfect in every way. She manages to pay homage to the heart of the character that Julie Andrews established, but she also made the magical nanny her own with her snappy replies and iconic expressions. All of the kids gave excellent performances, and I think that Ben Whishaw delivered on the emotions associated with loss in a genuine way. Plus, that Dick Van Dyke cameo is excellently executed, and I loved watching him dance on screen again. These performances enhance the lessons that are included in the film like looking at your circumstances through a different perspective. However, the real highlight is how Mary Poppins helps this family through their loss and how to process their grief.
Overall, I would say that Mary Poppins Returns is a delightful film that everyone can enjoy. The only thing that truly didn’t work for me was the sequence involving Meryl Streep, but it did not deter from my overall enjoyment of the film. This movie is absolutely beautiful with its colorful animation, engaging music, and stunning choreography. It has several callbacks to the original while also leaving room for Mary Poppins to teach the Banks family both old and new lessons. I think that Mary Poppins Returns is the perfect film for the family during the holiday season, and I have to recommend it as a watch in theaters sometime soon.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.