Saving Mr. Banks (2013): Film Review

Tagline: “Where her book ended, their story began.”

As soon as I saw the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks I knew it was a film I wanted to see. Although I’ve never been a fan of Disney and children’s movies, I’ve seen most of Tom Hanks’ films and there’s just something about him that makes me want to keep watching them. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) and starring Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee, Love Actually) alongside legend Hanks, this movie tells the story of P. L. Travers meeting filmmaker Walt Disney in their endeavour to get her novel Mary Poppins adapted for the big screen.

Walt Disney ventures into the complicated world of trying to keep the promise he made to his daughters of turning their favourite novel into a film. But things aren’t always as easy in practice as they are in theory, and it has taken him 20 long years to complete this request. A crude and adamant P.L. Travers puts her foot down and refuses to let her darling Mary Poppins become a money making machine. She reluctantly travels from her home in England to Los Angeles to meet Disney and find out what he has in store for her. The film shifts between the present and her memories of her difficult childhood in Australia and her strong bond with her dad (played by Colin Farrell). The pair must collaborate and accept each other in order to make Mary Poppins come to life on the big screen – not without a bit of misfortunes involved though.

I must admit I did not expect great things from this film, but oh did I enjoy it! As far as the plot is concerned, it is gripping and the casting couldn’t have been more appropriate. Hanks plays a work-passionate filmmaker and Thompson portrays the writer of the novel in question quite wonderfully, really showcasing her acting skills. Her facial expressions are so fitting for the role she plays that I genuinely could not imagine someone else being cast.

The audience sees what the process behind the scenes of creating a motion picture involves and just how tricky screenwriting can be sometimes. We find out the story behind the famous ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ moment and the iconic dance with penguins. Travers’ past memories from her childhood are quite lovely and they somehow really suit the continuity of the movie. The cast comes together in the ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ scene and I guarantee it will bring a smile on your face (if not make you hum and tap your feet too like it did me!)

This biographical film is a sweet comedy peppered with light-hearted moments that create a very cosy atmosphere, as well as a few hardships about life. Nevertheless, Saving Mr. Banks is definitely the feel-good film of the year and it is simply a joy to watch. The title is a truly clever and charming analogy which filled my heart with happiness upon working it out, so I won’t give it away and spoil it for you.

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