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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Viewers will learn a tiny bit about the impact of the Great Depression in the U.K. and how tough economic times can affect folks, as well as a little bit about why Aunt Jane advocates for the labor movement.
Mary uses daily obstacles and circumstances to teach the Banks children lessons about not judging a book by its cover -- whether it's an actual book or a person. Like original, it encourages empathy, gratitude, the value of imaginative play, fun, hard work. Mary Poppins underscores importance of children being children, adults embracing their childlike qualities. The songs' messages all build character -- e.g., embracing your imagination, looking at things from a different perspective, knowing that even in tough times, there's nowhere to go but up. Encourages strong family bonds, believing in your abilities.
Positive Role Models
Mary Poppins is a woman of mystery, magic. She's loving, caring but also firm, with a dry sense of humor. She reaches each kid where that kid is. She's the very picture of an independent woman. She demonstrates compassion, communication skills, integrity. Jack is positive, helpful, resourceful. Banks children are impulsive but want to help their father. Michael is overwhelmed by circumstances of his life but loves his kids, tries hard. Main bad guy is greedy, selfish but does seem to partially see the error of his ways. Diverse supporting cast.
Violence & Scariness
The children's mother is dead; it happened a year before the movie begins, but they (and Michael) talk and sing about missing her. Potentially frightening scene in which young Georgie is taken captive by some ill-meaning animated animals; there's a tense carriage chase through a dark, creepy wood as his siblings try to rescue him. The kids go flying off "the edge of the bowl" and have to be rescued. Suspense when Jack climbs up Big Ben and briefly dangles high above the ground. A greedy man is mean to children, threatens them. Some yelling/harsh words between Michael and his kids. The Banks' neighbor regularly fires a cannon.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of wink-wink double-meaning jokes/lyrics in a Vaudeville-like song-and-dance number ("she only wore a smile -- plus two feathers and a leaf") and a little hip-thrust dance move by Mary. Some clear flirting between Jack and Jane.
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A few insults like "pea brain," "fool," and "buffoon," plus British slang such as "bloody" and "blasted."
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Products & Purchases
Royal Doulton china mentioned. Offscreen, Disney has loads of tie-in merchandise, from apparel, accessories, and housewares to figurines, toys, and jewelry.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A song jokes about an uncle being "on the sauce."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt as everyone's favorite magical nanny and Lin-Manuel Miranda as her Cockney lamplighter pal, is a sequel to Mary Poppins, the Oscar-winning 1964 classic. As she did before, the flying, singing, lesson-imparting Mary arrives to help the Banks children -- this time, the three kids of a now grown-up Michael, whose wife died a year before the movie starts (he and the children speak and sing about missing her) and whose family home is in danger of repossession. The sequel departs from the original by adding a clear villain and a few scenes of peril/suspense (including a mostly animated but still tense chase through a dark wood), though nothing ever gets too scary. But it follows in the original's footsteps with its catchy songs and strong messages about imagination, gratitude, empathy, kindness, looking past the surface, and -- of course -- being close to your family and believing in yourself. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Blunt unquestionably makes Mary Poppins her own while also keeping nostalgic viewers happy with tributes to the original in this whimsical, playful sequel. Director Rob Marshall loves making big-budget Hollywood musicals, and in Mary Poppins Returns, he ambitiously creates a delightful world that families with kids of all ages will be eager to dive into and enjoy. Everything from the amazing production design to the colorful costumes to the catchy, upbeat songs penned by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (a few of which contain references to the Sherman Bros.' original 1964 score) has that Disney glow. The performances are all good, with Blunt leading the way. Miranda's Cockney accent is a little subtler than Dick van Dyke's was (British folks notoriously panned the lovable actor for his over-the-top attempt), and, refreshingly, there isn't a hint of romance between his Jack and Mary. Instead, they're old friends who show the three Banks kids how to be imaginative and helpful. Whishaw and Mortimer are well cast as the grown-up Michael and Jane, and Meryl Streep memorably joins the proceedings as Poppins' eccentric cousin Topsy.
If there's a relatively weak spot in the movie, it's the plot, which is fairly thin and predictable (many moviegoers will figure out exactly where those missing bank documents are), but you don't watch a Disney musical expecting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-style twists. The musical numbers are especially fun, and it's a pleasure to see Blunt and Miranda sing and dance together. Hamilton fans are rewarded with the big, Miranda-led lamplighters' song "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" (a clear successor to the original's "Step in Time"), and his and Blunt's rousing vaudeville duet "A Cover Is Not the Book" is also quite memorable. The lullaby "The Place Where Lost Things Go" is lovely, and "Nowhere to Go But Up" will make audiences remember the joy of "Let's Go Fly a Kite." Will this sequel replace the original in moviegoers' hearts? Probably not. But it's still a sweet spoonful of sugar.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.