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Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks

You can see all kinds of movies this holiday season, from a gargantuan
fantasy tale to a gripping war drama, but I daresay there’s only one that
offers charm, delight, and a finale that will bring tears to your eyes. That’s Saving Mr. Banks. That such a lovely,
heartfelt film could be made at a time when irony and darkness dominate
mainstream moviemaking is a minor miracle. Yet with delicacy and taste, Saving Mr. Banks spins a fascinating
story about the people whose rocky collaboration resulted in a beloved movie, Mary Poppins. Having grown up watching
Walt Disney on television, I doubted that anyone could imitate him to my
satisfaction, but I was wrong: Tom Hanks embodies the look and spirit of the
public Walt and provides some telling hints about the private man as well. (Note
the actor’s stance during meetings and his formidable smoker’s cough.) P.L. Travers
was a more private individual, yet surviving tape recordings of her story
sessions at the Disney studio confirm that Emma Thompson has captured this
eccentric author to a T. (Don’t leave without listening to the evidence, played
during the closing credits.)

The movie tells two parallel stories: Walt Disney’s wooing
of the contrary Pamela Travers during a tense two-week visit to his studio in
California, and, through flashback, the events of Travers’ childhood in
Australia—especially her relationship with a loving but irresponsible father
(played by Colin Farrell)—that formed her personality and inspired her to
create her Poppins stories.

In both milieus, director John Lee Hancock has used
restraint, a rare commodity in modern Hollywood movies. The childhood scenes
are played with the seriousness that befits young Pamela’s lifelong attachment
to them. The sequences that take place in a rehearsal room at the Disney studio
(involving writer-producer Don DaGradi and songwriters Richard and Robert
Sherman) may strike some viewers as rose-colored, yet will seem completely
credible to anyone who’s read up on the workings of the Disney company at that
time. Richard Sherman served as a valuable consultant to both the actors and
filmmakers, including screenwriter Kelly Marcel, who shares screen credit with
Sue Smith, the author of an unproduced Travers biopic.

Does that mean that Saving
Mr. Banks
tells the whole, unvarnished truth? I doubt it. I don’t know if
P.L. Travers actually had a driver as earnest and winning as the one played by
Paul Giamatti during her stay in Los Angeles. I can’t vouch for every detail of
Poppins’ inspiration from Travers’
childhood. But I’ve learned not to get my history (recent or distant) from
movies. What Saving Mr. Banks does offer
is a heartwarming piece of entertainment, highlighted by a handful
of superior performances. Walt Disney himself couldn’t have asked for more.

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Emma Tompson's outstanding performance in the telling of the Travers/Disney relationship of the development of the film "Mary Poppins" is simply effervescent, heartwarming, exhilirating, and Beautiful. According to the film, Disney had been trying to acquire the rights to " Mary Poppins" for close to 20 years, securing a promise made to his daugheters Daisy and Sherry. The film " Saving Mr. Banks" was dedicated to Daisy Disney Miller who has passed away in 2013. Quite a cycle of real life.
Emma Thompson, Colin Farrel, are exceptional, but Annie Rose Buckley steals the show with her simple straight forward approach that will bowl you over. Bright , dedicated and loyal, she helps her father in good and troubled times, and delivers a performance that touches your heart and soul. Very real and inspiring , probably won't be nominated for an Oscar, but I would give her one. She earned it. The film is for the young at heart, no matter what your age…
While Walt was building his Magic Kingdom, Ginty(P.L. Travers). had already built hers…
This film is full of ironies, but ends like a great movie should, with the "Beauty of the Moment"… See it at all costs, time waits for no one…and this one should not be missed…

Tom Murphy

For me, the best film out this year. Ms. Thompson should receive an Oscar nomination.

Allen Blank

I loved it from the beginning to the end. The only negative point at all for me and it's really nitpicking is the scene where P.L. Travers enters her hotel room and sees all the plush dolls that are left for her. There are a couple of Winnie The Pooh dolls. "Winnie The Pooh and the Honey Tree" came out in two years after Mary Poppins. but that is the only fault I find in this wonderful film


This film is a tremendous achievement for both Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. It is also a charming portrayal of an important piece of moviemaking history, as Mr. Maltin correctly points out.

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