Saving Mr. Banks
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths
Despite her trepidations about it, P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) agrees to work on a screen version of her Mary Poppins novel for Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). She just really needs the money. But Mary Poppins is more to her than just a fictional character and she wants to make certain that Disney does justice to that. So she flies to L.A. to try and ensure that, while at the same time working through her own family history.
There are many things to enjoy about Saving Mr. Banks and some things that I didn’t enjoy very much. But it’s certainly a film that I liked watching.
The way the script frames this story and presents P.L. Travers doesn’t sit right with me, especially when I compare it to the actual history. It makes for a good film, but for a poor representation of her and the events, as far as I can tell. The P.L. Travers in the film gets taken in by a charming Walt Disney, barely able to function without being reduced to tears because of her father. I don’t think that’s very fair to how she actually was.
But even not taking history into account, there’s still the framing of the story where a seemingly harsh but actually just hurt, vulnerable and insecure woman gets taught by (mostly strange) men to let a little light and love into her life. Walt Disney is basically shown as a saint (which he certainly wasn’t) who is flabbergasted by her attempt to remain in control of her creation, but when he finally understands that it’s all just daddy issues, he can make her see the error of her own ways. Bleargh.
That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the film. Emma Thompson is glorious. She should be in every freaking movie because she always makes them better. And I would have loved to watch a film about young Travers (Annie Rose Buckley) and her family. Especially because Ruth Wilson and Colin Farrell also make everything better.
And it was nice to be presented with that perspective on the Mary Poppins film (which I do love). I particularly loved to get to hear all the music again – it’s been way too long that I watched the film or heard the music. I just wish that the film had stuck more with the facts than aim for a happy end.
Summarizing: It’s nice.