I finally got to see this last week, and although you’ve probably heard all about it (it’s been out a little while), I thought it was pretty special. And isn’t the poster wonderful?
Based on the story of Walt Disney attempting to get the rights to PL Travers’ Mary Poppins novels and starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks as the two creatives, Saving Mr Banks both shows the events which led to the film being made and the events in Travers’ life which inspired her to write the books in the first place, in particular her relationship with her drunken but charming father (Colin Farrell).
All of the performances are marvellous (in particular Emma Thompson who has already won numerous awards and is nominated for a BAFTA), the film manages to be both whimsical and cynical and somehow manages to make you feel both nostalgic for Disney and, as Travers was, disgusted with its commercialism. The cuts between Travers’ childhood in Australia and the creation of the film add such a brilliant other layer to the story of making a movie that I will never watch Mary Poppins the same way again.
Yes, at times it seems like the same old sentimental Disney, and it’s not quite true to life – Travers actually hated the Poppins film. But Emma Thompson’s portrayal of a very British PL Travers in sunny Los Angeles is incredibly cheering. Travers is a wonderful character, and Thompson’s performance never allows her to be anything less than 100% real for those watching. I for one cried through the last ten minutes.
Heart-wrenching and beautiful stuff, Saving Mr Banks will save many a wavering Disney fan I’m sure.
Fun Fact: the Disney studios logo at the beginning of the film is the one that was used in the 1960’s, when Mary Poppins was released.