The Reel Dad’s favorite things from Julie Andrews
When these days get me down, or I feel disconnected, I simply reach for a Julie Andrews movie to feel so much better.
No matter the time of day, a spoonful of sugar or, perhaps, a movie full of Julie is all I need to embrace a new tomorrow. They may be helpful to you, too.
Here are my seven of my favorite movies from my favorite actress.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Being a parent can be a challenge when trying to find a lost kite or hire a nanny. In this classic from Walt Disney, a magical governess arrives at the Bank household just in time to help everyone rediscover the magic people create when we take the time to spend with each other. The practically perfect Poppins - in the Oscar-winning performance from Andrews - makes every moment fun and every lesson easy to take with, of course, a dose of her special medicine. And, no surprise, Andrews won an Oscar.
The Sound of Music (1965)
No matter what challenges the world may bring today, a return visit to Salzburg for a summer with the von Trapp family can make everything feel brighter. In this beautifully-crafted film - based on the Broadway musical - director Robert Wise surrounds us with the love of a family discovering its resilience while facing change in its world. At the center of the family, and the film, is Andrews in an iconic performance that, for some reason, was bypassed by Oscar that year, while the film was deservedly named Best Picture.
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
The movies love to remember the “Roaring 20s” as a carefree period of endless fun before the economic challenges of the Depression changed so many lives. In this delightful musical, Andrews plays a young lady in search of adventure after moving to the big city. Little does she know how complicated life will become when she meets the colorful characters played by Carol Channing and Mary Tyler Moore. Of course, Andrews makes the most of every moment to prompt everyone around her to smile and sing.
If challenging times teach anything, we hopefully learn what difference we can make when we reach out to others with a positive sense of possibility, refusing to let bias limit our view. This exquisite comedy with music tells the story of a desperate woman who discovers the magic she creates when, on stage, she pretends to be a man. Along the way she, and the people she cares for, learn fundamental lessons of what doesn’t matter in a crazy world filled with people who need to be loved. For the film, Andrews snagged her third Oscar nomination.
That’s Life (1986)
Every family needs a foundation to bind people together when challenge can threaten the connecting fiber. In this touching drama, Andrews plays the matriarch of a most modern family filled with every type of crisis possible including medical issues, aging concerns and romantic complications. Through it all, this strong woman manages to keep everyone together despite their best efforts to turn everything into more of a mess. Jack Lemmon costars in a film that deserved, when first released, to be seen by many more people. And we can see it now.
Relative Values (2000)
Some days we simply want to laugh. Or smile. In this comedy based on a play by Noel Coward, Andrews plays a grand dame of a lovely manor house in England in the early 1950s. One day her world begins to spin when her son brings home the lady he intends to marry, a flamboyant movie star from the United States. Needless to say, there are a few details the family needs to work through. Andrews is radiant in a delightfully-pitched performance in a film that also offers an early look at Colin Firth.
The Princess Diaries (2001)
During the turbulence of the fall of 2001, the most popular movie in the United States was this royal comedy about a queen who simply wants her granddaughter to be happy. It’s no surprise, looking back, how this monarch - played by Andrews - offered more than enough warmth to soothe the worries of a young Anne Hathaway as well as millions of people across the country. Just when we needed another spoonful of Andrews’ special magic, she returned to the screen in a big hit. And we need some of this today, too.
Thank you, Julie Andrews. You make us believe in every new day.