Sunday, January 5, 2014

Movie Review Madness: Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks is a PG-13 Disney film. Do not take young kids. P.L. Travers wrote Mary Poppins, a book beloved by children and parents alike. This was her baby and she refused Walt Disney's request for rights for 20 years. However in 1961, she needed money to maintain her life. Thus Mrs. Travers (played by the impeccable Emma Thompson) crosses the Atlantic to discuss the Mary Poppins movie. She insists on no animation, no cavorting penguins, no songs, etc. Let's just say the meetings don't go well.  

Slowly Walt (Tom Hanks) has to figure out her angle. What's the real scoop behind Mary Poppins, the flying nanny? In a series of flashbacks, we see the child, Helen, interact with her charming but alcoholic father (Colin Farrell). Ultimately who arrives to save him, the kids, the mother, and the father? In peeking behind the scenes, we see Mrs. Travers' vulnerability. As she stiffens her lip and refuses to sign over rights, Mr.Disney works harder to penetrate her emotions.  

Hanks and Thompson are actors beyond peer. The give and take banter is superb, and ultimately the Sherman brothers' song "Let's Go Fly a Kite" melts her heart. For all of us who know the beloved Mary Poppins movie - this Saving Mr. Banks is a gem. For anyone who appreciates writing, this movie shows the depth of love for a created character.  

Stay through the credits and you will hear actual taped conversation of P.L. Travers at the Mary Poppins meeting. It is uncanny. Emma Thompson absolutely nailed the character. This is an example of the power of film and storytelling.  Huge thumbs up for adults who love Disney. Get a babysitter for your kids.  

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