Every day I feel so grown up. I wake up, trim my big manly beard, turn on the news and listen to the world falling apart. I trudge to work on the subway and we all glare at each other waiting to scream. I am tall and broad and oft deflated these days. The circles under my eyes tell tales nobody's listening to. Movies are a fine escape, the best one next to sexual relations most probably, but even with the world's burdens beckoning every day I'm still the last person to argue that that's all they should be, an escape - I sit down and I want to be challenged, I want to be horrified, I want to spend time learning what it's like to live in another person's shoes.
But then a movie like Mary Poppins Returns comes along and my beard falls off, my feet float, and the years I have accumulated shed off like pink snakeskin. The shrieking devil that is Donald Trump disintegrates on my shoulder, nothing but fairy dust that the wind picks up and blows right away. Light and air and songs shine, the sun shines, I dip my toes in a soft warm fuzzy happy place and go slack with sweet bright forgetfulness for two exquisite hours.
I'm not even much a fan of the original Mary Poppins - I saw it enough as a child, as one does, but it was never a favorite staple. (It didn't even make the runners-up on my "Favorites of 1964" list that I just randomly happened to post yesterday.) And lord knows I take every opportunity I get to side-eye Movie Musicals - I went into MPR with a 2018 track record of being 3 for 3, deeply loathing every Movie Musical the year had thrown at me.
And yet ten minutes into Mary Poppins Returns I felt myself twinkling like magic. And the second that Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer walked on-screen as the adult Michael & Jane from the original I knew I was fully lost - any movie that would cast those two perfectly perfect people as our forgetful siblings who need to be reminded of the joy available right at our everyday fingertips, that movie has us all in good, firm hands. I was lost, happily unburdened, a cotton candy soul.
Whenever there are dark days about, and we live in dark days, people point to the films of the Great Depression, the Shirley Temple cutesy-toots and Fred n' Ginger toe-tapping romances, as the Great Antidote - what kept us afloat. Mary Poppins Returns is all that and a tub of bubbles. It sparkles. Marc Shaiman's music, Sandy Powell's costumes, Lin-Manuel Miranda's way with a little ladder - the film transported this weary soul up into the clouds for a wee moment. Troubles, what are those, I don't even recognize the word, they melted right away.