Hawaii Mom Blog: Saving Mr. Banks Review




December 20, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks Review

Saving Mr. Banks is now open in theaters everywhere!

Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.

When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.

For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.

It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.

My husband had a chance to attend a screening, and here is his review:

Saving Mr. Banks turned out to be a very well-acted, entertaining and, surprisingly touching movie. 

The movie tells the story of Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers (Thompson) and Walt Disney (Hanks), and the struggle the two encountered on the path to making a movie based on the popular book.  P.L. Travers is very much against the “Disneyfication” of her beloved Mary Poppins and gives Disney and his creative team a very difficult time throughout the process. The movie interweaves this process with Travers’ childhood in Australia and focuses on the relationship she had with her alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), whom she idolized.

It becomes apparent that the Mr. Banks character in her book is based on her father and suddenly it's understood why the book and the characters mean so much to her.

Travers’ inner struggle is effectively shown in a powerful and moving scene in which the movie cuts back and forth between the Disney songwriters running a lighthearted song by her that they had written using the words in her book, and a flashback from her childhood where her father was slurring the exact same words in a speech at a county fair.

I really enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks even though I’ve never seen Mary Poppins in its entirety. It provided an intriguing look behind the struggle, compromise and healing that it took to get the movie made.

Complimentary screening tickets were received.

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