HillSide Story: Practically perfect

This week we are going to London with a cinematic masterpiece: “Mary Poppins” (1964).

Anna Hirshman (AH): Despite my best efforts to obtain a working VCR, in which to put my VHS copy of the film, I have not watched “Mary Poppins” in many years. Watching it as an adult, there are many more subtle parts of the film I did not notice when I was a child. Like the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Banks do not have a healthy marriage. And Mrs. Banks is a suffragette, which is something I had never processed until this week. 

Allie Morgenstern (AM): In almost every scene where Mr. Banks is actually home with his wife (and the maids), he’s not really making an effort to do anything. Mrs. Banks and the maids pretty much hold down the fort while he just sits or monologues about the bank or Mary Poppins being strange. Anyways, let’s talk about supernanny herself, Mary Poppins.

AH: Mary Poppins is an incredibly self-obsessed, no-nonsense woman. Yet she also is empathetic, thoughtful and someone who people inherently love and trust. I think I want to be her when I grow up.

AM: I second that. Maybe this is why we both want to work with children. Mary’s bottomless carpet bag is iconic, and I love how she talks to the children like they’re little adults. Also, are Mary and Bert a thing? I always wanted them to be a thing.

AH: Their chemistry is off the charts. You don’t look someone in the eye like that unless you have some feelings. But she also seems to friend-zone him during “Jolly Holiday,” so I don’t know.

AM: Well, she comes and goes so frequently, so a relationship would probably be hard to maintain. I’m still sad she left them at the end, even though I know she left to help another family. 

AH: Definitely, she had to go. Anyway, I found myself mouth agape, eyes unblinking during the entirety of “Step in Time.” I forgot just how engaging and magical it is, even if it is not super convincing that they are risking their lives jumping roof to roof. 

AM: Yeah, I honestly do not understand how I ever thought this was realistic as a child.

AH: Ultimately I came to the conclusion that the entire tale of “Mary Poppins” is a part of the Admiral’s psychotic break. Why else would he be a necessary part of the story? We would be fine without the house shaking at 8 a.m. every day. 

AM: The movie could do without the Admiral and his weird house that has a ship on top.

AH: So, I work with children, and I asked them about “Mary Poppins.” I did not get one positive reaction. They either have not seen it or do not like it. I have lost faith in the younger generation. 

AM: All I know is that I will force my future children to watch all of Julie Andrews’ movies. Period. 


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