Mary Poppins Returns to theaters this week. Will the sequel to the classic family favorite be something your family needs to see? Short answer: YES! Here’s what you need to know before you take the kiddos: Is Mary Poppins Returns kid-friendly? My Mary Poppins Returns Parent Movie Review.
We attended a media preview screening last night for Mary Poppins Returns.
Mary Poppins Returns Parent Movie Review
If you’re planning on seeing Mary Poppins Returns this weekend or over the holiday break, you’ve probably assumed that it’s completely kid-friendly and appropriate for children. I mean, it IS Mary Poppins and Disney, after all.
I’d say, for the most part, you are right!
There are a few things you might want to know about in case your children are sensitive, but overall I felt this movie was just what our favorite Nanny ordered. A spoonful of sugar, a lot of singing and dancing, and some wonderful cameos make Mary Poppins Returns a delightful sequel.
About Mary Poppins Returns
In Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss.
Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.
We meet the next generation of the Banks family as things are in a bit of a crisis.
Michael, all grown up with 3 adorable children of his own, is living in the family home at 17 Cherry Tree Lane. His wife has passed away and he’s struggling in all manners of life.
Big sister Jane and Ellen the housekeeper (played by British actress Julie Walters, aka Mrs. Weasley!) are helping as best they can, and it’s wonderful to see the whole family pull together during this time.
As a parent, you can’t help but have some pangs of sadness for the two older children who are taking on much more mature roles in the house than their age should require. And this is one of the major themes of the story.
Enter Mary Poppins: she flies in on the string of a kite as only Mary can, and takes note that both generations of Banks kids need her assistance. The older, as well as the younger Bankses, need a reminder of what it means to be children.
Is Mary Poppins Returns Scary?
For the most part, no. I’d say most of the movie is bright and cheery with the whimsy we want from a Mary Poppins film.
My kids loved the animation portion and were grinning from ear to ear when the movie took this turn.
There is one scene that gets a little intense as a chase ensues. It happens right after a big Chicago-style song and dance number, so you can be aware it’s coming.
This is where a sensitive child, especially one who has concerns about getting lost or taken away from his/her family, might be anxious.
I felt the scene went on a bit too long and kept peeking at my 7-year-old to make sure she was handling it ok (she was- so- phew!).
Is Mary Poppins Returns Family Friendly?
Absolutely. It’s a lot of fun, there are lessons to be learned sprinkled throughout, and, well, it’s classic Mary Poppins!
Mary Poppins Returns is kid-friendly for most of our children, but one big point to note: the entire premise centers around the loss of a parent.
Yup, it’s Disney, so you know a mom had to die. Oy.
We never meet her, but she is present in the memories of Michael and the kids and is subject of a few songs as well. If your children have recently gone through such a loss, it could go either way, I think. It might be a wonderful and cathartic story, or it might be too painful for them at this time.
Grief, man, it never looks the same for anyone.
It’s all handled beautifully, but maybe pre-screen this movie without the kids if you fall into this circumstance.
I’ll also add this in here that one of the songs (A Cover Is Not The Book) has a smidge of an interesting lyric.
Likely you won’t even notice it, but there is a bit of acting going on with the song, and depending on your pearl-clutching-meter, you might have issues with it. No judgment if you do- or don’t. Ha!
Mary Poppins Returns Parent Movie Review: Is Mary Poppins Returns As Good As The Original?
Pish-posh- you worry too much!
This movie should be seen as what it was intended: a sequel that simply carries on the story we all know and love.
There is so much charm and beauty (and impeccable acting by Emily Blunt) going on, that to try and compare is just not cool. So … don’t.
Go in with an open mind and prepare for new adventures with the Banks family. Mary Poppins Returns is kid-friendly and is absolutely lovely. It’s a movie that can stand on its own without any need to compare!
My favorite part? Hands down it’s when Dick Van Dyke makes his appearance. My heart just about burst out of my chest and I became a kid again when he entered the screen.
This man? He’s pure Disney magic. I am so happy he agreed to do a cameo here!
Honestly, the entire movie was MADE when this scene goes down and if you find yourself wistful for the original, be sure to soak it all in at this point.
Mary Poppins Returns Parent Movie Review: Age recommendations
I always add this as part of my parent movie reviews, just in case you need a breakdown by age. It’s a key component to deciding if Mary Poppins Returns is Kid Friendly.
My children are 15, 13, 11 and 7. Here are my recommendations for each age based on my children’s maturity levels.
Teen/Tweens No worries here! They should love the fantasy and whimsy unless they are completely above all that.
Because: teens. Gah.
My oldest two loved the movie, however, both picking out their favorite moments. The return of Mary Poppins penguin friends was high on both their lists of fun throwback moments.
8 to 10-years old You should still be good to go here- in fact, this is probably the age that I’d say will get the most out of Mary Poppins Returns.
7 and Under If they can sit for two hours in a movie theater and enjoy singing and dancing, then you are good to go! With younger kids, it can be a hit or miss when it comes to attention spans.
My youngest is 7 and I was most impressed with a few things she picked up from the movie. She caught some Easter Eggs from the first film as well as a few themes I thought might be too mature for her. And she absolutely loved the balloon scene at the end.
Know your family and take the whole crew if you think they can handle two hours in a theater.
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MARY POPPINS RETURNS arrives in theatres everywhere on December 19th!
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Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.