Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks
Director: John Lee Hancock
Every story has some truth behind it. No matter how fictional the situation, there is always a bit of truth in each and every story told. The same goes for Mary Poppins, the 1964 Disney movie that became an instant classic. Based on the character created by P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins focused on a magic nanny who had arrived at the house of a banker, Mr. Banks, to fix his unhappy family. Saving Mr. Banks focuses on P.L. Travers, as she reflects on her troubled childhood while attempting to work with Walt Disney to bring her character to life.
Set in 1961, Saving Mr. Banks chronicles P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and her reluctant trip to Los Angeles to meet with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who has tried to buy the right to Mary Poppins for almost 20 years. Convinced to go by her agent, Travers hates just about everything about California, as well as Disney’s plans for the movie. Disney quickly finds himself banging his head against a brick wall (metaphorically), due to Travers’ stubbornness and brief arrogance.
During the days spent shooting down just about every single idea the screenwriters had for Mary Poppins, Travers often thinks back to her childhood, specifically moments with her very, very loving, but also very drunk, father, Travers Goff (Colin Farrell). Goff seems to be a fantastic father, always cheery and ready to put a smile on his children’s face, and always encourages his daughter to dream, and tells her that she can be anything she wants to be. Her happy family begins to burst at the seems however, as Goff’s drinking problem spills over into his family life, and eventually made Travers the stone cold person she had become. With P.L. Travers’ ever-growing stubbornness, Walt Disney’s attempt to bring the beloved character to life seems like an insurmountable challenge.
Undoubtedly, Saving Mr. Banks is absolutely fantastic. It’s perfection from beginning, to middle, to end. Each scene was filled with emotion, feeling, and heart, and that really shined through. Many movies that dabble with flashbacks usually struggle with the integration into the movie, however SMB does this brilliantly and seamlessly, using the many flashbacks to explain key points in the story.
Saving Mr. Banks‘ acting is incredible. Emma Thompson nailed this roll. Towards the beginning, her character is maddeningly arrogant and stubborn. As the movie progresses, you can really feel her emotions change, and you can feel along with her. Annie Rose Buckley, who played P.L. Travers as a young girl in the flashbacks, perfectly compliments Thompson’s character. She is about as flawless as Thompson is. Colin Farrell’s performance as Travers Goff is amazing, and Tom Hanks’s role as Walt Disney is played to perfection.
There are not enough adjectives to describe how great Saving Mr. Banks and the cast are. First off, SMB is definitely one of Disney’s best movies, live-action or animation. It’s probably the best Disney movie since The Lion King, or maybe even since Mary Poppins itself. This movie is definitely worthy of an Oscar nomination. Emma Thompson deserves the award for Best Actress, and Tom Hanks is as good, if not better, than his performance earlier this year in Captain Phillips, and should definitely take home Best Supporting Actor. Saving Mr. Banks is a fantastic, feel-good, family friendly movie that exceeds Disney standards and stands out as, to this date, one of, if not the best, movie of 2013.
Rating: 10 of 10
Written by: Brian Leary
*All Images Courtesy of Google Images