A British family gets a rather unconventional nanny in Disney's classic musical adaptation of P. L. Travers' book.
Although the movie has a decidedly old-fashioned feel to it, even older, more jaded viewers will get caught up in Mary's magic. She's the nanny of every child's (not to mention every parent's) dreams, finding joy even in the mundane. Older kids will recognize Academy Award winner Julie Andrews from The Princess Diaries, and will find her just as regal and compassionate here.
There's nothing inappropriate for toddlers, but the two-hour-plus running time may make the movie too much of a good thing for babies and toddlers. Although they'll love many of the catchy songs and the animated sequences, kids in this age group probably won't care much about the actual plot.
Although the movie may be too long for some preschoolers, it contains so many extraordinary adventures, it will likely keep the attention of most young kids. Flying in via her umbrella, Mary Poppins is a wonder who will leave your children as wide-eyed as Jane and Michael when she slides up the banister, pulls a roomful of furnishings out of her carpetbag, and leads them on a race astride merry-go-round horses. Preschoolers and kindergarteners will probably wish they could jump into sidewalk chalk drawings, march across rooftops and have tea parties on the ceiling with Mary. She's sassy, smart, and full of life, and kids are sure to notice that she insists her young charges tidy up the nursery, take their cod liver oil and get a good night's sleep.
They'll be inspired by Mary's joyful approach to life and the way she makes every chore an adventure. She refuses to take "no" for an answer and manages to put a positive spin on everything. On a historical note, older kids will get a sense of the suffragette movement as Mrs. Banks enthusiastically campaigns for "Votes for Women."
Most tweens will probably think they've outgrown this Disney classic, but those who watch it out of nostalgia or with younger siblings will get a kick out of Mary's cheeky attitude.