Mary Poppins Returns: A Former Nanny’s Review

"Mary Poppins Returns" Emily Blunt Photo Credit: Jay Maidment - © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

"Mary Poppins Returns"
Emily Blunt
Photo Credit: Jay Maidment - © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What I couldn’t wait to share about Mary Poppins Returns with a spoonful of sugar *wink

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was from The Huffington Post—they referred to me as “the modern day Mary Poppins.” I have been waiting with bated breath to see the gorgeous Emily Blunt reprise Julie Andrews’ role in Mary Poppins Returns. The anticipated premiere made me think deeply about what Mary Poppins represents to children and parents around the world. The modernization of this classic film made me wonder: Is Mary Poppins still relevant today? With over 64% of families in America having a nanny or caregiver, the answer is a resounding YES.

On the day of the world premiere, I ran the two blocks from my apartment to the movie theater prepared to watch my childhood boomerang back to me. What did I discover? Without spoiling anything for you, here’s my quick, no-nonsense assessment of the film. Of course, I’ve added a spoonful of sugar to my take.

Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed unless he can pay back a massive loan. His only hope is to find a missing certificate that shows proof of valuable shares that his father left him years earlier. Just as all seems lost, Michael and his sister, Jane, receive the surprise of a lifetime when Mary Poppins—the beloved nanny from their childhood—arrives to save the day and take the Banks family on a magical, fun-filled adventure.

All the characters had their own charm and hit the mark. However, no one sparkled more than Emily Blunt. She was flawless—no surprise there! There are many similarities between her and Julie Andrews, but some stark differences that I adore. She has a warmer touch about her, her demeanor is calm and the thing that just tickled me about her portrayal is how she was so giddy with her own magic. Whenever she would snap her fingers and summon an adventure, her face lit up, knowing that she brought magic to the children’s lives. I know that may seem small, and most viewers probably didn’t notice it. But, as a former nanny, that made the movie for me. She encapsulated what we all hope to do as childcare providers: put the sparkle in a child's eye.

Some departures from the original movie were not as well received. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there was no su·per·ca·li·fra·gil·is·tic·ex·pi·a·li·do·cious song! And my favorite line: “I will stay until the wind changes,” was replaced with something far less touching. This was probably the biggest let down of the movie for me since the original quote truly captured the sentiment of a nanny’s departure. Other than that, the animation scenes were thrilling, Dick Van Dyke’s cameo was precious, the children were delightful and the set was spot on.

There is an important disclaimer to be made: This movie definitely tugs at the heartstrings, far more than I anticipated it would. Mrs. Banks’ recent passing is a huge part of the storyline, and there are several scenes that are so touching and raw that it was overwhelming! To those suffering the loss of a loved one, know that there are some deeply somber tones in the movie. While most of the film is light and bright, there are moments that you may find challenging.

Overall, Mary Poppins Returns delivers a sweet, clever and lovely reimagined world. Don’t let the original Mary Poppins collect dust, though! A classic never goes out of style and it’s important for children to experience both worlds, which, depending on your taste, could be practically perfect in every way.