I walked into the cinema, already endeared.
I walked out heavy of heart with a new perspective.
When you’re a child you don’t think about how stories came to be; we just take them as they are all starry eyed and grinning ear to ear.
The tale of how the uptight appearing P.L. Travers came to fan dangle through the ordeal of her dear Mary Poppins being turned into a Disney masterpiece is not at all what I was expecting. A laugh, a cry, a nanny coming to save her own family, yep I was cut out for a feel good romp – Jesus was I wrong.
All the lost symbolism of the Mary Poppins I knew and loved came shoved at me with a blaring obviousness. (Clearly I can’t give too much away to those who haven’t seen it or perhaps don’t know the biopic
P. L. Travers). It’s incredible to see how a story about a magical nanny who flies in through the window, was simply a soothing tonic – or dare I say ‘a spoonful of sugar’ – for the author to attempt to rectify her deeply traumatising childhood self judgments.
The flashes from 1960s L.A to early 1900s in colonial Australia were a big surprise and pieced together beautifully. Each shot from the opposing eras complemented the other, slowly revealing the ‘real’ story and in turn, Travers’ heart like a timid flower opening to the sun.
The parts were played brilliantly, and a big shout out to Annie Rose Buckley who played innocent, hopeful Ginty like a pro. Colin Farrell was haunting as the loving, doting yet extremely emotionally crippled father and husband. Of course Emma Thompson was glorious as a prudent, unwavering and unexpectedly soulful P. L. Travers.
And I could be wrong in my interpretation but if Paul Giamatti as Ralph wasn’t this version’s bright side of life ‘Bert’ then I still loved his portrayal regardless.
I have to say a big thumbs up to the filmmakers for displaying the everyday hardship of living in rural Australia during those times. Going to live in such a vast, dry and unyielding area of the outback would have been terrifying.
Amongst all the humour, quirky character, the happiest place on Earth and the joyous iconic songs, quotes and props that we remember from the film (I noticed the carpet bag reference in a heartbeat), this story shows we all have a past and we all have baggage. How we choose to manage it is what moulds who we are.
Go and see this movie! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll have a new appreciation for the people who write for a reason
– to cope.