Saving Mr. Banks Movie Review

Saving Mr. Banks  SMB_GENERIC_TEASER (1)

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Annie Rose Buckley, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 125 mins

Genre: Biography/ Comedy/ Drama

Opens December 20th

By Lisa Minzey of The Reel

Also opening this week is a film about another film’s journey to the silver screen. “Saving Mr. Banks” stars Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Paul Giamatti. This is a different type of live action Disney film where it turns the camera on its own history of how movie magic is done in the Mouse House. Will audiences be just as receptive to this film as it’s predecessor, “Mary Poppins”?  Read on to find out.

Author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson)  like most authors is very protective of her work. Her beloved character Mary Poppins is like family to her. Spanning the course of 4 books (at that time), Travers had a brand and intellectual property to protect. So when Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) first learned about the books, he immediately wanted to make a film about the enigmatic Marry Poppins. Over twenty years,  Disney pursued Travers with no avail. It wasn’t until 1961 when books sales started to dry up, and money was getting tight for Travers that she reluctantly agreed to visit Los Angeles for two weeks to explore the options of turning her books into a live action film. Travers had no intention of signing over the rights of Poppins to Disney, but after she arrived the strong walls she had built around her and Poppins started to slowly crumble. Using flashbacks of Travers’ childhood to intercut with the development process, the true nature and story behind the world's greatest nanny are unveiled, thanks to the goading and cajoling of Disney and his team.

It’s always interesting to see how a film gets made because most people don’t quite understand the creative and development process. It is even more interesting to see the amount of hoop jumping a powerful man such as Walt Disney had to go through just to get the rights from a curmudgeonly old author such as P.L. Travers, whose own story is just as tragic. Hanks and Thompson pull off these real life characters with grace, humility and genuine care, delivering a memorable on screen duo. What was fascinating to hear at the end credits, actual audio tapes of the creative sessions between Travers and the Disney creative team. Thompson nailed Travers persona and temperament from those tapes. This is a wonderful story featuring some of the most beloved characters in the last century; Mary Poppins and Walt Disney. Be sure to catch “Saving Mr. Banks” when it opens in theaters nationwide starting Friday December 20, 2013.