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Plot: Author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for the adaptation of her novel, Mary Poppins. Runtime: 125 mins Release Date: 22 Dec 2013
I think the wrong way to view the new film, Saving Mr. Banks, is as the making of Disney's classic, Mary Poppins. Saving Mr. Banks is really about storytelling as both truth and escape, as well as a film about fathers. The film tells the true story of how Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers, came to Disney Studios for two weeks in 1961, as Walt Disney and his ace crew of creatives tried to convince the ill- tempered Travers to allow them the rights to make Mary Poppins. I think it's safe to say that we all know how the film ultimately ends, but how we get there is such an emotional <more>
journey that it is worth embarking upon. Emma Thompson portrays P.L. Travers with enough emotion buried within the subtext of her words that we care about this woman who is not all that immediately likable on the page, and in lesser hands the role would have been just that. Meanwhile, Tom Hanks plays the part of Walt Disney himself, with a twinkle in his eye, and yet he also manages to bring his trademark everyman quality to old Walt himself and make Walt not seem as if he's some myth, but rather a real man. However, the big mistake that many seem to be making with this film is that it's a movie about Walt Disney, and while Disney is a very important character in the film, this is P.L. Travers' story.Through flashbacks we witness Travers' childhood in Australia and her relationship with her alcoholic banker father, Travers Goff, who was the inspiration for Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, and is portrayed in this film by Colin Farrell with a charming, yet tragic likability. We witness how much of Travers' childhood went on to inspire Mary Poppins, and it's through these flashbacks that Saving Mr. Banks finds its heart. Without us seeing what P.L. Travers went through, it's hard for us to understand why she is so against Disney transforming, what is essentially, her own past into a film. This allows us to relate to this hard to relate to woman, which is the brilliant stroke of director John Lee Hancock and screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. As a matter of fact, if there is one word to describe Saving Mr. Banks for me, it is brilliant.It is rare to see a film made by a major studio with this kind of thematic density, and that is why this is such a brilliant motion picture. There is an honesty to the way the film deals with the idea of fathers and that while they may not be infallible, they can still be saved. Then there are the thematic ideas of storytelling that ring so true to me as a storyteller myself. Whether we realize it or not, the stories we tell are reflections of ourselves and our own lives. Walt says it best late in the film when he points out that the true power of imagination and story is to lend hope, and I think that is why anyone deep down tells a story, and I think that idea sums up Disney's entire career.There just aren't that many kind of films like Saving Mr. Banks in these cynical days, but if you allow yourself to feel, you will be swept away. This is a Disney movie, through and through. There are laughs and moments of soaring emotion throughout, and I wouldn't want anything different from a film made by Disney. Every time you hear, "Let's Go Fly a Kite," your spirit soars and as you watch the film, the song begins to take on a whole new meaning that makes it an even more life affirming song than you perhaps ever thought of it as before. It's not merely a great toe-tapper that closes a film, it's a song of hope.I just can't say enough about Saving Mr. Banks, I loved it and I think everyone should see this film. The funny thing about all this is, is that without the film Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks would not exist, and yet Saving Mr. Banks is a film that manages to improve upon what is already a near perfect classic and perhaps even best it. From now on, every single time you watch Mary Poppins, the many events and ideas of that film will take on a whole new meaning. In fact, I can't wait till the next time I see Mary Poppins again to see how it may affect me more strongly on an emotional level now knowing more of the story. Saving Mr. Banks is just a miraculous kind of movie that we need more of. It's classic Hollywood drama, so if you want my advice, bring a hankie and just enjoy yourself.I give Saving Mr. Banks a 10 out of 10!
One of my favorites of the year (by TheConnoisseurReviews)
"Saving Mr. Banks" is easily one of the best movies to come out this year. It tells the tale behind the making of Disney's beloved classic "Mary Poppins," but it is so much more than just a typical 'making of a movie' movie. While many of these types of films aren't as good as the movie they are about, this one is different. It feels like a companion piece to the beloved classic. It allows us to appreciate the trials and tribulations Disney had to go through to make his magnum opus. However, it is also more about P.L. Traverse and why she loves her <more>
character so much and why Mary Poppins holds such a special place in her heart.Director John Lee Hancock does a great job of making this film something truly special. He balances witty humor with emotional depth, but does so without being too sappy or melodramatic. The film is also well written by being more personal than just being a movie about making a movie. The themes of letting and moving on are handled well and really becomes relatable to anyone watching.The performances are top-notch. Tom Hanks makes a pretty good Disney and he isn't sugar coated either. The real standouts are Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell. They give strong dimensional performances that makes us truly care and sympathies with the characters.Overall "Saving Mr. Banks" is a truly great and beautifully told film. Its individual parts may not be the years best, but as a complete film it is the whole package. It's a movie that exemplifies why we go to the movies and what Disney stands for as an entertainment corporation. It is a movie that is equal parts heartfelt, witty, charming, entertaining, and emotionally satisfying. I give it 5/5
I was able to view an advanced screening of Saving Mr. Banks. I will have to rate it as an excellent movie. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it certainly brought back memories. I enjoyed it very much. The film was on the most part incredibly true to era. I felt the transitioning from one time period to the other was done smoothly and poignantly. Obtaining the screen rights for the making of Mary Poppins and the childhood of P.T. Travers are intricately woven. The entire point of the movie could not have been made without this aspect. It was brilliantly done. I see many Oscar nominations <more>
here. Tom Hanks was outstanding as always as well as Emma Thompson. Colin Farrell was remarkable. The interactions of all the characters was beyond well done.
Saving Mr Banks tells the story of Walt Disney's battle to get the rights to make Mary Poppins into a movie. I wasn't expecting to like this but was completely blown away. It is beautifully put together, is hilarious in parts and very touching and emotional at other stages, but is not overly sappy or cheesy. There are some outstanding performances here. Emma Thompson plays Mrs Travers beautifully - a cantankerous and stubborn lady, yet you can't dislike her. Tom Hanks does a good job of playing Walt Disney - a tough role for anyone but he seems to suit it, so long as you can get <more>
past the terrible fake southern accent which is worse than Dick Van Dyke's attempts at an English accent in Mary Poppins. However the stand-out performance is, surprisingly, delivered by Colin Farrell as Mrs Travers' father. He brings amazing range and emotion to a character that is simultaneously a loving, sweet father and a man caged in by life and personal demons. Go see it for yourself when it comes out at the end of November. I'm looking forward to watching it again.
Saving Mr. Banks is a terrific, adult movie that will change the way you view Mary Poppins forever. (by gailalong-1)
This movie is much more than and definitely deeper than one would suspect from the 'syrupy' trailers most people have seen. The understory, gradually revealing the early life of P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, and depicting how the people in her dysfunctional family led her to write Mary Poppins, is the true core of this movie. I will never see Mary Poppins in quite the same way. All of the acting is superior, and the score is excellent. This is not the shallow, childlike movie that many will expect. I would not recommend it for children 11 and under, depending on the child. <more>
Otherwise, I highly recommend this movie, even if you are not a big fan of the original Mary Poppins film.
Saving Mr. Banks, about the dynamics behind the making of the film Mary Poppins, is Hollywood at its best: people with hardships in their past overcome them through their collaborative art; something creative, sweet, perhaps syrupy, but always honest, and with integrity. It was a wonderful choice to pick the co-author and consummate actress of Nanny McPhee, Emma Thompson, for the role of Travers. We see the hardships in Walt's own past, that of Mrs. Travers, and a couple of other key characters: one of the song writers injured in the war, and the limo chauffeur who loves his handicapped <more>
daughter this film's unseen Tiny Tim . And all of these Snow White Dwarf characters, innocent and childlike, except Mrs. Travers, carry this syrupy hope and optimism. The same that her father carried...which may have led to his death. Or was it the one thing carrying him as long as it could? In grief over losing him, she has written a beautiful book, but herself become a living Ebenezer Scrooge.In this American version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", Walt Disney is the living Ghost of Christmas Present. Walt reveals that he knows the perfunctory and scrooge practicality of Mrs. Travers belies such dreamy hopes she herself carries, and always has since childhood, writing about a magical savior nanny who flies in on the wind and an umbrella. Walt later discovers Mary Poppins is all about her lost relationship with her deeply beloved father, and Walt works subtly to reconnect her to the very childlike nature of her father whose death she has still not come to terms with. He tells her that this film, Mary Poppins, will be a way for her to come to terms with honor.Mrs. Travers discovers that Disney is indeed integrating these truths seamlessly, and has done so all along. We are all children, after all, and our happiness depends upon remembering and honoring that. He is far from fluff. There is more gravitas in that ride on the merry go round than Mrs. Travers understands at the time. And then she realizes that everyone on this project, even the secretary bringing a feast of syrupy and colorful sweets every day into the office, everyone who works for Disney is in the same boat she is, finding meaning and expression by turning personal difficulty into a positive creation. And that self-knowledge, that personal wisdom makes the folks at Disney able to accomplish miracles while showing remarkable tolerance and encouragement to each other. Disney was not all slapstick cartoons, talking animals and smiles. A year before releasing Mary Poppins, in 1963, Disney released The Three Lives of Tomasina, a film that touches on death, mysticism, spirituality, re- birth and the love between father and daughter that in grief can become a neurosis. Disney always had deeper intent and content. Same with Darby o'Gill released by Disney in 1959. Even Bambi and Dumbo, dealing with abandonment, death, and the difficulties of grief and separation, the emotional wounds of being orphaned. And 20,000 leagues Under the Sea in 1954. The portrayal of a genius captain's murderous rampage; self- destructive insanity and his obsession with his lost wife honored Edgar Allen Poe as much or more than Jules Verne. These films are nothing close to Mrs. Travers' prejudice about Mr. Disney's work. It was Mrs. Travers' superficial view that was mistaken. And that was the product of her own self- denial.Mrs. Travers, while watching Mary Poppins, cries at points, but she also still cringes at others. She is still Mrs. Travers. We see the genius of Disney: his work reflects the best of very different professionals, and a deeper spirituality. Hanks does a nice, layered job. He portrays Disney the savvy business leader and manager. But there is still much more to tell. An entire film could be made of Walt's role leading the way to the Monorail, an engineering feat unprecedented in America and only faintly recognized, for it remains too far ahead of its time. Walt had his own engineers at the Burbank studios design most of it, successfully, working with a basic concept from Sweden, fighting the clock to meet deadlines. He turned a concept into an actual reality through brilliant engineering and leadership. The first monorail in America. Walt was far more than a film maker. City planners today use Disneyland and Walt Disney World as a model for the ideal urban community. Walt didn't plan these places as theme parks. His entire vision was to use them as living models of ideal communities. Visiting either park was to be a subtle education, and has proved to be so.One day that film will contrast Walt walking as an eight year old boy through the snow at his father's command with the adult Walt obsessed with innovations in public transportation, the ergonomics of technology, and the design of Utopian communities. Steve Jobs, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg all from California, are childhood students of and adult contributors to Disney's vision.And of coarse, the better known struggles to get Snow White to screen, and Fantasia, both requiring incredible personal risks, technical genius, leadership, sentiment and teamwork. An entire motion picture could be made of either of these remarkable personal and professional journeys of achievement.I will never forget, as a seven year old boy visiting the Monsanto Home of the Future at Disneyland in 1964, designed largely by Disney and his own crew of engineers. Sitting on the coffee table, without being mentioned by the tour guide, was a wireless picture phone in a small flat rectangular shape, probably three inches by five inches, looking just like today's smart phone. Spooky.We are all still trying to live up to Walt's vision, each in our own way.
Truth, not all the truth, yet nothing but the truth, Walt Disney's Saving Mr. Banks is a Best Picture Hopeful with all the good credentials (by diac228)
Walt Disney Pictures rarely aims for the Best Picture crown, being more a company focused on profits and sustaining its wildly popular brand. To make you haters hate more: they've earned $4 billion this year already and this includes the $200 million loss of Lone Ranger . They usually only distribute the movies that have a shot at Academy Awards immortality, with The Help A Dreamworks film being the latest example of a nominee and No Country For Old Men being their latest example of a winner.But with Saving Mr. Banks, Disney is going the whole nine yards. With a stellar cast, seemingly <more>
endless budget Giving John Lee Hancock a much-less stressful job in directing , high production value, and heavy dosage of drama that hides beneath the happier movie trailers, this film stands as one of the better dramas of the year and a sure-fire Oscar-contender. Touching upon the tissue-happy themes of forgiveness, family, and seeking happiness in a miserable world, prepare for waterworks throughout the two hours.What makes this movie work more than anything else is the screenplay that didn't start in the studios of Disney, allowing for a more accurate portrayal of the true story behind the making of the masterpiece Mary Poppins----even if the entire world knows that with the backing of Disney some details will be left out. Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith weaved out an engaging story full of crisp dialogue and skillfully avoids becoming too overblown or too overdramatic. And whenever the movie gets close to being all-out depressing, we get treated to humorous moments here and there to keep the audience in check.In a movie about artists that are addicted to their craft, you need actors that work with the same type of fervor. Emma Thompson despite not getting top billing gets the most screen time, gets the toughest job, and delivers the ultimate performance. She becomes very dislikable and yet sympathetic at the same time, and it is impossible to see anyone other than Thompson deliver this type of impact. Tom Hanks in an Oscar-baiting year does a superb job portraying the icon planet Earth knows and loves as he gives Walt Disney a humanized performance that separates the flawed man from the myth the Disney Company has feverishly worked to this day to protect. The rest of the cast does not disappoint, and we even see Colin Farrell potentially impress some Academy voters as the loving yet extremely defective father figure.Disney's protection of its brand is the sole reason why Saving Mr. Banks could never ever ever ever ever ever be produced or made by anybody else. But luckily for all viewers, Disney doesn't pull back many punches in delivering the story behind the complex and conflicted making of Mary Poppins. It will be deep in the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards but ultimately indeed deserves the praise—even if you won't see all the details behind the true story on screen.
Despite watching the trailer and knowing the broad story, Saving Mr. Banks still managed to surprise me. It's a beautiful, tender film that manages to be sad without being mawkish, funny without detracting from the emotion and with far greater depth than expected. Unfolding the story of Walt Disney's attempt to persuade P.L. Travers to sell him the rights to her beloved Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks is a delightful film that is deceptively emotional and flows smoothly enough to be entirely engaging. Travers Emma Thompson thwarts Disney's Tom Hanks attempts to secure the <more>
rights for twenty years until a flatlining bank balance and a mildly panicking agent persuade her to at least consider Disney's proposition or lose her home with certainty. Whisking her to Hollywood and bombarding her with all things Disney, the master of the House of Mouse spares no expense or effort to woo Mrs Travers and persuade her to allow him to keep his promise to his daughters to film the books they loved so much. But nothing prepares him for the stubborn, exacting curmudgeon who challenges him at every twist and turn and demands and demeans in equal measures. After the recent Captain Phillips, in which Hanks was astounding, there is a very good chance that he may join an exclusive group of twelve so far, including co-star Emma Thompson of actors to be nominated for two Oscars in the same year. Even more rarely, he'll deserve both nominations! Quite simply, it is impossible to imagine another actor in the role of Uncle Walt. He oozes charisma and his smile is used for so much more than merely expressing happiness. There is a genuine warmth to Hanks' performance and this is one of those rare occasions where I temporarily forgot I was watching him. He's been a very good actor for many, many years, but this year I've had to reassess my opinion of him and state that he has transcended his deserved 'movie stardom' to become a very fine actor indeed. Unsurprisingly and most welcome , Hanks is matched every single step of the way by Thompson. There is a magical thawing in her Travers in the course of Saving Mr. Banks where she pokes her head out of her hard, crispy chrysalis and threatens to become a warm ish , witty woman. Early on in the film, it is difficult to like Travers as her demands become more extreme, her retorts more cutting and her demeanour downright unpleasant, but Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith's screenplay weaves the story of the film rights with the tale of Travers' troubled childhood to give reason for her crustiness and context to her literary creation. It is this aspect of Saving Mr. Banks that surprises most and completes the film. Director John Lee Hancock The Blind Side approaches each side of his female protagonist's life very differently and her buried history is shot in muted, dusty colours with a jagged Western romanticism that tempers the bleak happenings that shaped the girl into the woman. Colin Farrell is on his best form for years as Travers Goff, the drunk father who lives in his own fantastic world of imagination and adventure to escape the harsh reality of the real world. He is a man who fails consistently and knows it, but loves his daughter unequivocally. As with Hanks and Thompson, the chemistry between Farrell and Annie Rose Buckley playing Ginty, the young Travers is effortlessly beautiful. The casting is just one of the joys of Saving Mr. Banks, with Paul Giamatti chief amongst the supporting actors as Travers' driver, Ralph, a doleful puppy in human form that responds to every brush-off and verbal slap with another smile and encouraging word. In the studio Bradley Whitford as screenwriter Don DaGradi and B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman as the Sherman brothers bring more gentle humour as Travers' desperate, unwilling adversaries. There's no lazy leaning towards slapstick or cheap shots, rather Hancock steers their scenes gently allowing both the frostiness and the occasional sprinkles of sunlight to sparkle with sincerity. There are hints of Travers' adult life beyond her books but, though comments remain, it feels as though the backstory was excised for the final cut and so I came away from the film feeling that something was missing. The final act is perhaps a little too tidy; it glides towards a resolution too smoothly and nothing is made of the rumoured aftermath of the deal, but these are minor niggles in a beautiful film that carries one along and moistens the eyes occasionally. Saving Mr. Banks is an unqualified success. It is a joy to watch and leaves one hoping that Mary Poppins earns yet another screening in this year's Christmas TV schedule.
Surprising in the Most Delightful Way (by jordathan)
i attended a pre-screening of "Saving Mr. Banks" last night in Dallas. while i had been looking forward to the film, i had my reservations. after all, Johnny Hancock director was behind "The Blind Side," which i found much too schmaltzy and watered-down for my taste. also, this was a movie about Walt Disney being produced by his company - so how honest would it be about the story behind the making of the masterpiece "Mary Poppins"? would it settle for predictable mellow-drama yes, i meant to spell it that way and glorify dear Uncle Walt as perfect and <more>
demonize Mrs. Travers as a cold, soulless spoilsport? thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding "no."while it surely takes artistic license with history, the film as a whole is surprisingly great. there's not a weak moment throughout, not a second where i wasn't entertained and wanting to find out what would come next. this film rated PG-13 surprises with many of the thematic issues it tackles, including alcoholism, loss - and we even get a brief glimpse of a smoking Mr. Disney hey, it was the 60s .Emma Thompson has always been a strong performer though her screen time has waned over the last decade and a half, but here she gives a performance that is worthy of awards attention. As Mrs. P.L. Travers, she is an author as protective as her life's work as a mother is for a child and is dealing with demons nearly forgotten. Mr. Hanks too carries his own playing the iconic and visionary Disney at the top of his game, trying to honor a promise to his daughters while also add to his impressive repertoire of cinematic achievements.this is not really a film to take your Poppins-loving tykes to. this is the Disney film for mom and dad to enjoy. "Saving Mr. Banks" will probably be remembered as one of the best films of 2013, and for good reason.