Mary Poppins Returns to the Banks family when they are in need again. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) has grown up, and is raising three kids with the help of his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) one year after his wife passed away.
Of course there are lots of happy, catchy songs Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) sings. Then there’s the ballad “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” which is a poignant song about grief.
“I was so incredibly moved by it that I found it virtually impossible to get through the first times I sang it,” Blunt said. “It was so emotional for me because I did think of my own children.”
Losing a parent is a tragedy many families face. Mary Poppins Returns can speak to those families.
“These children in the film, their sense of loss and they’re trying to hold their father together,” Blunt said. “They’ve dealt with something so profound and so agonizing, to lose a parent. To be so young and miss her so much, I’m going to cry thinking about it. It just moved me so much.”
Even in the demo sessions with songwriter Marc Shaiman, Blunt found herself choking up. Filming the scene for the movie was joyous.
“On the day, it was one of my favorite days on set,” Blunt said. “We shot that song over a couple days. It is that she recognizes what they need in that moment and gives it to them in this very tender way.”
As tragic as the Banks’ loss is, and as sad as the song can be, it also offers hope.
“This song is so true and she doesn’t shy away from the fact that they’ve lost something, but there’s cracks of light,” Blunt said. “There’s something to learn from. The idea of loss is something that they can digest as children and to walk through.
“You are going to walk through this loss but nothing’s gone forever, only out of place. It’s just such a hopeful way to look at loss.”
Mary Poppins Returns is in theaters Wednesday, December 19.