“Saving Mr. Banks” review


François Duhamel

Emotionally riveting with the magical touch of childhood, John Lee Hancock’s “Saving Mr. Banks” brings the shocking untold backstory of the timeless classic “Mary Poppins” to life on the screen in such a fantastic way that you’ll fall in love with Disney all over again. Although the film barely breaks any new cinematic grounds, “Saving Mr. Banks” is an unexpectedly powerful portrayal of the emotional conflicts between the artist and their art.

Two time Oscar winner Tom Hanks brilliantly plays the iconic Walt Disney on his quest to obtain the rights to P.L. Travers’ story “Mary Poppins.” Little did Disney know, it would take 20 years to even get a hold of the author.

Travers, played by the double Academy Award winning actress Emma Thompson, is the nettlesome British author who throughout the film, tries to make sure that her beloved story doesn’t get crushed under the Hollywood movie making scene.

When Travers finally decides to work alongside Disney, she is everything but accepting of any ideas the Disney film making team has to offer. Afraid of her precious story’s destruction, she does her best to make sure the film writers keep every single detail in her book the way it was. As the film continues on, Travers begins to grow more reluctant to Disney’s ideas. Despite her unwillingness, Disney refuses to give up on her and her story.

I found that the most emotional part of the film was the constant flashbacks to Travers’ childhood. Her father struggled with alcoholism and had difficulty maintaining a stable job to support the family. Because of his excessive drinking, he eventually became very ill and passed away when Travers was very young. Once Travers let Disney look into her traumatic past, he saw that Travers is not only an artist protecting her story; She’s a daughter protecting the good memories of her father. In her novel, Mary Poppins did not come to save the children; she came to save Mr. Banks (the character in her novel that represented her father).

The movie has a cheery ending when Disney and Travers become close friends, and Disney’s company finally gains the rights to her story. As cliché as it may sound, I guess you could say that everyone lived happily ever after.

Overall, this movie is nothing short of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Although it isn’t anything cinematically different, the movie is still an incredible film that sheds new light on the background of one of Disney’s most successful films. Although there are tear jerking elements in the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks” will leave you happy enough to go fly a kite.