Review: Mary Poppins Returns | HerCanberra

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Review: Mary Poppins Returns

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Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives. IMDb

I sat with a ghost to watch this film.

Best dress and satin hair ribbon in place, she swung her seven-year-old legs in anticipation before it started. She admired the plush red of the seats and sat up so straight even her grandmother would have approved. We both had Cherry Ripes but mine did not finish up all over my face, with tear streaks through it. Such a long time ago, she had somehow imagined that wonderful nanny speaking to her, making magic for her and when the real world came crashing back in it was a bit much.

I love movies but I am not invested in them – body and soul – as she was then.

Still, we had a great time together. We were both pleased that the same font was used for the titles and I was surprised to enjoy an actual overture of the film’s music along with those credits. Just one of the delightfully old-fashioned touches throughout.

We were both captivated with the songs which, though very familiar to her were refreshing for me. I cannot pick a favourite but as a strong believer in the power of books I have to take my hat off for ‘A Cover is Not The Book’. They were short enough that the accompanying dancing felt exuberant, not repetitive and frequent enough that it felt like a proper musical.

Just beware, grown-ups, that adult Michael Banks’ first song is heartbreaking. Mary’s comment when she arrives is the essence of the story, so watch out for that too.

The whole show is filled with magic and wonder and a genuine love for the books that inspired it (although, yes, it departs from and takes license with them). Every role is a standout – from Meryl Streep to Angela Lansbury. The grown-up Banks children (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) are perfectly cast and Dick Van Dyke astonishingly spry for 93.

Lin-Manuel Miranda does not grab the spotlight (and I suspect he easily could have) but Emily Blunt is undoubtedly, undeniably the star. She glows, she has delicious fun but there is a noticeable thread of steel under her extremely well-fitted suits. Practically perfect, really.

The classic Disney hand-drawn animations are great fun but even more amazing are the costumes for this sequence – cartoon bright and with details that look like they’ve been sketched on by one of the animators. Actually, every costume is excellent. I bow down to costume designer Sandy Powell – she got the look and style perfectly, just as she did with Young Victoria, Cinderella, Hugo and so many other movies with exquisite wardrobes. I want Topsy Turvy’s necklace.

The story has a bittersweet heart, which gives it depth, and a finger-snapping crisp candy shell. The ghost and I approve.

Feature image:

Roslyn saw this film as a guest of Limelight Cinemas Tuggeranong.

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