In Family Movie Night
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This week’s Family Movie Night Review is the Mary Poppins movie, a musical starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Mary Poppins was filmed in London in 1964.

Dick Van Dyke plays two roles: a man who is a chimney sweep and artist. He knows all about Mary Poppins. His other role is the head of the bank. his character is a very old man who eventually passes away, just before the movie ends. He did such a good job playing both roles that the child actors (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) didn’t even know that he was also the banker.

Mrs. Banks is played by Glynis Johns, you may know her from While You Were Sleeping. David Tomlinson plays Mr. Banks. He was in The Love Bug as well as Bed Knobs and Broomsticks.


What is Mary Poppins About?

The story starts off with Katie Nanna quitting her job as nanny at Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane because Jane and Michael Banks are missing again.

Mrs. Winifred Banks is involved in the Women’s Rights Movement. Mr. Banks, Esquire, works at a bank. Both are very involved in their own pursuits. When the time comes to submit an advertisement, the kids and their father come up with a completely different list of requirements for the new nanny. Mr. Banks tears up the kids’ version and throws it into the fire place. His version is submitted to the local paper.

Here is when the enchanting and enjoyable scenes begin- the ripped up advertisement floats up the chimney. The next morning, just before 8 AM, all of the nannies responding to Mr. Bank’s advertisement blow away. My kids were laughing really hard when the nannies blew away.

In comes Mary Poppins. She practically runs the interview partially due to her personality, and partly due to Mr. Bank’s confusion. He’s confused because she is holding the kids’ advertisement and references it the entire time. Before you know it, everything is settled and she is hired. She gave Mr. Banks 1 week to decide if the arrangement will work.

The Impossible Happenings

There are a lot of things that can’t be explained in this movie. One of the first examples is when Mary Poppins removes her things out of her bag. She pulls out full sized lamps, mirrors, and other objects that won’t fit into the bag in the real world. Another time, Mary Poppins, Bert and the kids jump into a side walk drawing Bert made. They spend the day there.

After spending the day in the drawing, the weather changes from sunny to pouring rain. Mary Poppins says that they have to take their medicine. Each time she pours the kids’ and her own medicine, it comes out in different colors and flavors.

The last example I’ll share with you is when they visit Uncle Albert’s house. Whenever Uncle Albert starts laughing, he can’t stop. He ends up floating into the air. When he hears bad news, he floats down to the floor like the rest of us.

The Lessons

Focus on what is important. Mr. and Mrs. Banks think they are focused on what is important: career and women’s rights. They do so in the name of helping their kids have a better future, but that leaves very little time for them to spend with each other as well as the kids. In connection with this problem, Mr. Banks is so focused on controlling the life of his family. He tries to control and mold everyone he is connected with, except his superiors at work, without considering their talents, hopes and dreams.

Enjoy the good times. There are many good things that happen. It is so easy to focus on what you’re supposed to do that many opportunities to enjoy life. If you’re too serious, you won’t enjoy the jokes- and there are many in this movie that require some thought. One example:

Person 1: “I once knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith.”

Person 2: “What was the name of his other leg?”

The characters learn these lessons by movies’ end, but they have to go through a lot of experiences (carefully crafted by Mary Poppins). One experience is when Banks arranges to meet with his wife and Mary Poppins. His plan is to “sack” Mary Poppins. Instead, he realizes that he committed himself to take the kids to the bank to learn about his orderly life.

Before the kids go to sleep the night before the outing, she sings to the kids about the bird lady who sells bird food for tuppins. The kids are more interested in feeding the birds than depositing money into the bank. The outing is a disaster. They kids run away and find Bert. Meanwhile, as a result of the outing, there is a run on the bank because other clients think that people aren’t getting their money back. In reality, Michael wanted his money to feed the birds. Mr. Banks is fired.

I will leave the rest of the story for you to discover.

The Music


Since Mary Poppins is a musical, there are plenty of songs. My kids, ages 8 months to 11 years, enjoyed the lyrics. Those who were old enough to sing either sang right with the songs as the movie played or after the movie. When you have actors like Dick Van Dyke and actresses like Julie Andrews, the music is usually phenomenal. Such is the case with this musical.


One of the concerns that many parents have about movies that are decades old is that their kids won’t think the movies are modern enough to enjoy. Mary Poppins may have been filmed in the 1960s, but the graphics are still attractive to my kids, ranging from infant through 11 1/2. years old. The music is great, too.

The lessons are timeless. The best part is, the kids are so busy laughing and listening to the music that they aren’t aware that they are learning lessons. They told the story without swearing, inappropriate clothing, or intimate scenes. The only reference to drugs and alcohol that I recall seeing was when Mr. Banks was holding his pipe.

Mary Poppins is a musical that runs 139 minutes. For young kids, this may be a bit long. My 2 year old daughter did leave the room. However, the other kids stayed in the room, except to get more snacks.

Speaking of snacks, we had peanut butter popcorn, buttered popcorn, and Parmesan popcorn. We also enjoyed apples. Following the movie, my husband and kids planned to roast marshmallows.

If you have experiences that are similar or radically different from mine, please share in the comments section below. I can’t wait to read how your kids enjoyed watching Mary Poppins with you.

Did you watch this movie as kid or with your own? Please share your experiences, we’d love to know if this movie was a hit at your house!

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