Monday, June 15, 2015

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) directed by John Lee Hancock

Walt Disney spent twenty years trying to get the film rights to P. L. Travers's Mary Poppins novels. This movie focuses on Travers, who is in a tricky situation. Royalties have been drying up, so she could use the money. But she truly dreads the Disney-fication of her beloved Mary Poppins. She doesn't want animation or any silly prancing and dancing about. She decides to go to Los Angeles to work on the script and reassure herself that they won't mess it up. She meets with Walt and starts working with the script writer and two song writers. Things do not go well. She hasn't signed the rights away yet, so they have to do everything they can to convince her. A clash of cultures and personalities ensues.

Intercut with the Hollywood story is Travers's childhood memories from living in Australia, where her family struggles under her father's depression and alcoholism. She as a child is blissfully unaware of the problems because the father is a bit of a dreamer and story teller. He calls his daughter a princess and makes up fantastic tales about people turned into animals and such. Her childhood explains a lot about her attitudes and desires. Emma Thompson gives a great performance as the adult Travers and the rest of the cast is good too.

The movie is a great dramatic story with a satisfying narrative conclusion. My only difficulty is the conclusion that I drew afterwards--I suspect much of the movie is a fabrication for dramatic effect. As a historically-based film, I consider this more like Shadow of the Vampire than Patton.


  1. I'm glad to hear this. I have been meaning to screen it as a possible movie for my movie group of seniors.

  2. I bet that would be popular with them--everybody has happy memories of Mary Poppins and this movie has a lot to talk about afterwards.

  3. Yes, I imagine it would be very interesting to talk about Walt Disney in "real" life versus the movie version for one thing. They may be similar or not. Must watch this! :-)