Saving Mr. Banks


Mary Poppins is a timeless classic and will always be remembered as a true Disney great. What Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke brought to the table back in 1964 became an instant hit around the world. As like many other Disney films, Mary Poppins delivered joy from singing and a touch of magic from Walt Disney himself. But underneath this beloved film is a dark and saddening story most people never really knew about.

Saving Mr. Banks is a historical comedy-drama which was directed by John Lee Hancock who is best known for his sport drama films and the screenplay was written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. The film takes a behind look into how Mary Poppins came to be and the difficulties Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) faced in obtaining screen rights to author P. L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel. There was over 20 years of frustrating battles between Mr. Disney and P.L. Travers. Saving Mr. Banks depicts the stubbornness in Travers and a better insight as to how she became this way. Throughout the movie, viewers are given short glimpses into Travers’ youth leading up to the creation of her story. The road taken is very dark, sad and yet rewarding in the end for both Disney and Travers.

During development, Travers only agreed to work with Disney on very strict stipulations. Scarred for many years, she shot down idea after idea and even fused any animation or the role of Burt being played by Dick Van Dyke. As for singing in Mary Poppins, think again. This was not happening according to Travers. The production team had their hands full to say the least. Even though, Walt Disney wasn’t not about to fold his hand of cards into all these demands. He proceeded into breaking down these barriers for the signing of those rights and handled everything with care regarding to Travers’ emotions. Convincing enough, Travers signed over the rights (of course – Mary Poppins 1964) and she was paid as to be expected.

I for one was very surprised as to what occurred in the process of Mary Poppins. When I think of the title; Saving Mr. Banks, I believe the film was about saving the image of Travers’ father Travers Goff (Colin Farrell) not just saving the production of childhood classic. Walt Disney realized this and it is clear that P.L. Travers confided in him to do so.

The acting in Saving Mr. Banks was excellent, true stars shined at their best. Everyone played their role exceptionally well, including Ralph (Paul Giamatti) as Pamela’s chauffeur. Emma Thompson was amazing and transformed herself into Travers in perfect fashion. There were moments in the film I forgot I was watching Tom Hanks. Casting him to play Walt Disney couldn’t have worked out better. I see Academy Awards in the near future for many people involved in this film.

Get ready for a tear jerker, Saving Mr. Banks had me a few times. It will assure you to spend your time wisely with your children and give you a whole new perspective when watching Mary Poppins.


About: Jake Grunwald

Owner/Co-Founder - Review Junkies LLC., Est. June 2013

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