Saving Mr. Banks (2013): Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwarzman, BJ Novak, Rachel Griffith
Mary Poppins, the film, released in 1964 after a twenty year march by Walt Disney to obtain the rights of the well known Mary Poppins book series written by author, P. L. Travers. Walt Disney's, daughters, were huge fans of Mary Poppins, creating the two decade mission for Disney to fulfill his daughters wishes and delight audiences far and wide with a movie. Saving Mr. Banks, is the back story on how this beloved book series became a Disney cinema classic beloved by children, myself and adults around the world. With a spoonful of sugar, Disney, and Travers, gritty and hardened salt, found each other battling it out for two weeks in 1961 in Los Angeles over the development of Mary Poppins being presented to the world in glorious Technicolor. This is their story.
Saving Mr. Banks, begins with Emma Thompson, P.L.Travers, sitting in her London flat with her agent exclaiming that she is flat broke and that it would be wise to finally accept Disney's annual request of making a film. Thus, Mrs. Travers, not Pamela ever, flies to Los Angeles to meet the renowned and legendary Walt Disney. Mrs. Travers is adamant that Mary Poppins, never just Mary, will not be an animated affair or a silly and ridiculous Disney film. The arrival of Mrs. Travers is shockingly funny for she is a stiff upper lip, very difficult and not an overly warm woman who expects to be treated with great formality. Paul Gimatti, Ralph, driver, is the first to deal with Mrs. Travers sticky demeanor along with Bradley Whitford, Don DaGradi and the famous Sherman brothers, Jason Schwarzman, Richard Sherman and BJ Novak, Robert Sherman. Disney, rolls out the red carpet, with storyboards, sing along songs and even a trip to Disneyland. Mrs. Travers, wants everything taped and recorded, and refuses to sign over the rights until everything is "up to snuff" for this British Queen.
While the battlefield rages on between Disney and Travers with wit and frustration, there is another more important story being told through flashbacks into Mrs. Travers childhood. Enters Colin Farrell, as Travers Goff, Mrs. Travers, father in Australia, who is marvelously charming and imaginative though a reckless and irresponsible alcoholic. It is the journey through Travers childhood that creates the real story of Mary Poppins. With, the arrival of Rachel Griffith, Aunt Ellie, in a flashback, arrives with satchel, a plant and an umbrella to take care of Travers Goff. The audience finally learns the origin of Mary Poppins and begins to understand Mrs. Travers dysfunctional childhood. Disney tries everything to get Mrs. Travers to sign away the rights but to no avail. He is stumped until he discovers the truth about Travers by reflecting on his own troubled and whipping prone father childhood. By unleashing his past, Disney is able to pry open Mrs. Travers, which frees not only Travers but allows Mary Poppins to fly.
Saving Mr. Banks, is inspired by true events. The movie takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions ranging from sheer happiness to utter sadness. The tears happy and sad flow from beginning to end because everyone has a story and a past. Sometimes, like Mrs. Travers, the past keeps a person immobile and afraid of life. Thompson is brilliant in the role of the stuffy Mrs. Travers who eventually finds delight with the joyous songs in the film created by the Sherman brothers. This is Thompson's movie though Hanks gives a likeable portrayal of the creative and renowned Walt Disney. Saving Mr. Banks, is by far, one of the best movies of the year. A well told story, that touches all buttons and leaves the audience emotionally spent. In fact, moviegoers remained firmly planted in their seats until all the credits were finished. The end of the film, captures clips from the real Mrs. Travers, Walt Disney, Mary Poppins - the film and actual recordings. It is a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious moment!
Saving Mr. Banks - Trailer