Saving Mr. Banks – Review
Starring two time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson and also two times Oscar winner Tom Hanks, “Saving Mr. Banks” is the true story of the making of the Disney classic “Mary Poppins”.
With the film taking place in 1964 we find the entertainment mogul Walt Disney attempting to finalizing the contract deal to the rights to the highly successful and popular book by Author P.LTravers “Mary Poppins “. For Walt, as he liked to be called, this would be a culmination of a solemn promise he made to his daughters over 20 years ago that one day he would make their favorite book into a feature film. However, little did Walt Disney know was that Mrs. Travers, as she insisted on being called, would be an over demanding, meticulously controlling crotchety and utterly incalcitrant client to work with as illustrated in early scenes showcasing the “creative making process” of brining her book to the big screen.
Time and time again Mrs. Travers’s would go back and forward between Walt and his creative team with a lady like abrasiveness always insisting upon control of every word, song and color in the film’s development including approval of the final script as part of her requirement to eventually signing the rights over to Walt Disney to produce the film.
“Saving Mr. Banks” is a light drama that is full of wit, Disney fantasy appeal and charm as the story centrally revolves around the trials of Mrs. Travers childhood that was the principle catalyst of her “Poppins” story. Specifically, it explains the source of her doggedness to maintain control of her book, timely reflected with flashbacks scenes to her adolescent youth where it was made clear she was influenced by the events of her love for her flawed father. These scenes help enlighten us to the source of her adult skepticism of Mr. Disney’s ever being ability to satisfactorily bring her story to its’ proper light that she feels it richly deserves.
The film also helps reveal that Walt and Travers are like most successful people in that they have far more in common than initial meets the eye. They are both proud people born from childhood difficulties that help light that creative sparks to their unique visions of story telling, and with a screenplay that seemed seamless in its execution we the viewing audience are sentimentally drawn in to their respective stories with the right amount of emotional “spoonfuls of sugar” to make the story’s sweetness go down.
Emma Thompson is assured of an Oscar Nomination as Best Actress, as well as a possible Nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Tom Hanks in his spot on avuncular portrayal of the ever affable and amiable Walt Disney. Equally effective performances were given by Paul Giamatti as the charming limousine driver and Colin Ferrell as the father Robert Travers.
Ultimately, “Saving Mr. Banks” while not a Christmas story has the feel of one as in the end it is a very good family holiday feel good “Chim Chim Cher-ee" tale.
3 – 3/4 Stars