Hi, friends. I want to talk to you today about a movie that you’ve probably all seen (if not, we’ll have words later). Mary Poppins is a childhood favorite of mine and many others, a staple in my household, a fun and beautiful film both visually and philosophically (we’re getting deep here). I believe it is a movie created not only to entertain generations, but one that holds a deeper message if you’re willing to hear it.
At the beginning of the film, Mary Poppins comes to the Banks family as if by magic, floating down from the sky with all the grace in the world. Like an answer to a prayer, she is a magical gift with a seriousness and sense of practicality. We sense that she comes knowing exactly why she’s there, and even that she knows more than the Bankses do about themselves. At first she may seem cold, but throughout the film we see that the heart of Mary Poppins has so much depth and that everything she does is out of love for both Jane and Michael and the well-being of their father.
For Jane and Michael, Mary Poppins is the only nanny capable of sticking around by being a match for their strong wills, cleverness, and wit. She brings fun and life back into their home with songs like “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and gives them adventures they will remember forever. She takes them through chalk paintings, over the rooftops of London, and to have a tea party on the ceiling. She does all of these things, though, with an expectation of composure, as if they are the most normal things in the world – and in her world, they certainly are.
My favorite song in the film has to be “Feed the Birds.” I’ve heard that it was Walt Disney’s favorite song from any of his movies, and I am right there with him. It’s a departure in tone from the rest, except for maybe “Stay Awake”, but it’s quiet message and sincere and beautiful story is all its own. The lyrics are telling the story of the old lady who feeds the birds on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and asking for passersby to do the same. Every time someone stops and pays such a small price to feed the birds, they are taking a moment out of their day, acting in kindness, and showing that they care, and “although you can’t see it, you know [the saints and apostles] are smiling.”
I also think it speaks to the fact that treating each person with the kindness and respect we would like to be shown is a valuable action. Mary Poppins’ heart is for the children she looks after, but also for the little old bird woman who calls out, “her words simple and few.” And perhaps it also urges us to not overlook things or people just because they aren’t loud or in our faces.
All around I give this movie the highest marks for having such heart as well as being so fun to watch, and holding up as a true classic. But I also can’t let this post end without praising Julie Andrews for being the brilliant, graceful, charming lady that she is. Someday let’s have tea, Miss Andrews. #DameJulieAndrewsForever Oh, and no matter what you think of Dick Van Dyke’s accent, you cannot deny the sweet gentility he brings to Burt and what he contributes the friendship between him and Mary Poppins.
So. I highly recommend you go and watch Mary Poppins one more time like I’m about to do. And if the heart of it doesn’t absolutely move you, may I encourage some additional homework? I’ll take that silence as a ‘yes.’ Saving Mr. Banks is another wonderful movie, and if it doesn’t have you tearing up at “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” or “A Man Has Dreams” then I just don’t know what to do for you. Please report back your findings and impressions and how many tears were shed. 🙂
Until next time! xx