I saw Mary Poppins Returns yesterday with some friends. I loved the original so much with Julie Andrews and have seen it so many times that I was a little bit worried about whether this sequel would be good. But it was beautiful and magical, and so well acted and written. And I loved the appearances by 91-year-old Angela Lansbury as the balloon woman and 91-year-old Dick Van Dyke as the old banker. Emily Blunt was absolutely wonderful as Mary Poppins, with a slightly different take, slightly sterner and brassier but still kind and magical, tender and playful, and it was clear she was enjoying it. Lin-Manuel Miranda was lovely as Jack, a lamplighter who brings light, hope, dance, and song and knows Mary Poppins and the magic is real, and Meryl Streep as Mary Poppins’ cousin Topsy Turvey was so much fun. So were grown up Jane and Michael Banks who did an incredible job, and the three new Banks children were fantastic. Everyone who sang did so beautifully. There were so many positive messages and so much good feeling mixed in with some grief and sadness, and wonder and joy. The movie was a delight.
I was glad to see it was updated with some people of colour including a kind banker, and glad that Jane had a strong-woman role.
I wish Mary Poppins had used a bit more magic and obvious direction – to me she’s the star – but I love that she helped the family rediscover play and joy and being a child. In a time with so much negativity, this movie was uplifting and refreshing.
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