10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is a gentle and touching story told with a poignancy which is sometimes heart-breaking. Emma Thompson is superb as the author PL Travers, a stranger in a strange land (California) still coming to terms with her challenging childhood while Tom Hanks's avuncular performance as Walt Disney is masterful as he slowly breaks down Travers' objection to his Disneyfication of her Mary Poppins stories. There are some delightful comedic moments and the scenes in the rehearsal room are really hilarious. However, the scenes relating to Travers's childhood in rural Australia are filled with pathos and it is these moments which give the film a remarkable depth and sadness. This is definitely a film which does live up to the hype.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2015
In Saving Mr Banks Emma Thompson portrays P.L Travers the author of Mary Poppins. Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, has been trying to get the rights to Mary Poppins for 20 years without success due to Travers not wanting her book turned into some Animation as its too much like a part of her family.
We see two sides of Travers, one when she is a child growing up in Australia and her love for her drunken father played by Colin Farrell who had a big impact on her life, and then as an older bitter woman who is so set in her ways and doesn't mind who she hurts with her comments.
Seeing the two sides of the story really helps you to understand why Travers was as mean as she was as an adult, she had so much pent up emotions from childhood that she can't let go of the past and in turn became a vile woman.
Saying that I found myself warming to Travers and feeling sorry for her.
In the end Travers does sign the rights to Mary Poppins to Disney, and of course the famous movie is created.
The end showed Travers seeming happy about the movie but in real life she never was and refused Disney the rights to her other books(yes there is more than one Mary Poppins book)
75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2014
As always, no spoilers whatsoever in this review because that's just plain inconsiderate.
Saving Mr. Banks is a dual narrative portrait of the author of Mary Poppins and the creative team at Walt Disney that worked to bring it to the big screen. In one thread (1961) we have the curmudgeonly author behaving like a stark raving... well, curmudgeon as she tries to exert control over the creative process. In the other thread (1906, Australia) we unwind the story of her grim childhood that makes her a curmudgeon in the first place.
This movie has a lot of things to say not the least of which is to cast an entirely different light that beloved American classic of childhood. Mary Poppins ain't quite what you think it's about as a kid (but then what good movie IS what you think it's about when you're a kid). It's also a powerful demonstration of how our childhood influences us as adults sometimes in ways that we don't quite grasp until we look back on them from a great distance.
It's also interesting to see behind the curtain of the creative process. Avoiding spoilers, the author's primary objection is that Mary Poppins and the Banks family have become, in truth, her family over the years and sharing that vision and letting someone else have a piece of them is frightfully difficult. It does make a person wonder if all authors have this same struggle when crossing mediums.
Lastly, I'm a sucker for sentiment but this movie had the audience blowing its nose and audibly sniffing for a good hour. It's an incredibly intimate portrait. However, the kids won't think much of it and the group in the theatre with me was 50+ for the most part. All that said, highly recommended for anyone with a sentimental streak. Best movie I've seen in a month or more.
PS: The patient who sit through the credits will be treated to some photos from the movie's production and a section of the recorded conversations between the author and the production cast.
87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
I remember when I went to the cinema to watch this when it first came out; I was absolutely blown away by it, Tom Hanks pulled of an amazing performance as well as Emma Thompson. Not enough credit has been given to this film which is such a shame. I highly recommend this,
111 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2013
Walt Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favourite book, P.L. Travers' "Mary Poppins," so he promised them he would.
In his quest to obtain the rights, he comes up against a writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved creation get ruined by Hollywood. But, as the money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to meet and hear Disney's plans for the adaptation.
Walt pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and songs, he launches an onslaught on P.L. Travers, but she doesn't budge.
But Walt discovers the truth about Mary Poppins, and together they set her free.....
Brilliant is one word to describe this movie, and it's all thanks to Thompson. Her portrayal of Travers is wonderfully complex. At once, you see a meddling Battleaxe, but at the same time, you see a child begging to come to the surface, and you cannot help but like her, despite her little outbursts.
Hanks knows he's not going to outshine Thompson, so he is wonderfully restraint as the big man, and it's to his credit, he's a joy to watch too.
Its funny and equally heartbreaking in parts, and the best parts of the film are set in Austrailia, these set the foundations of the narrative, and really add gravitas to the Disney scenes, honestly, this is Farrell's career best performance, even if he does seem to be channelling Johnny Depp on occasion.
If you are a fan of Mary Poppins, this is a must, and if your not, it's still a fascinating insight into one woman's love of her work, and how much it means to her.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Two of the names that get my attention, the magic of childhood movie-making
'Walt Disney' and one of todays finest actors 'Tom Hanks'
The film is the true story of how the film 'Mary Poppins' came about.
The author 'P.L.Travers' (Emma Thompson) is down on her uppers, she's almost
broke, she's not written a book for some time, the royalties are no longer paying
for her life-style.
'Walt Disney' (Tom Hanks) wants to adapt her book 'Mary Poppins' into a movie,
to do so he has to have her permission to go ahead.
She takes a flight to L.A to reluctantly discuss his proposals, on arrival her hotel
room is stacked out with Disney Characters (toys and puppets).with the courtesy
of 'Walt'.............She is not amused.
'Walt' has pursued his dream to turn the book into a film for twenty years having
promised his then young daughter he would do so.
'Pamela' has agreed to listen to the proposals 'Walt' and his team have though
she is in no mood to make compromises, and will not be easily impressed.
Every thing suggested early on is rejected out of hand by 'Pamela' she even has
a thing about the colour 'red' and will not discuss any form of animation.
'Walt' and his team become frustrated as every idea is knocked back, the situation
looks seemingly impossible, but 'Walt' isn't about to give up, he wants her signature
on the contract.
'Pamela' apparently like 'Walt' have ghosts from the past, she often reflects on events
that shaped her life during childhood, yet, it had inspired her in the writing of the book
'Walt' has to find a way to understand the lady to achieve his ambition with her blessing
to go ahead and create the story they both want.
There are many amusing confrontations between 'Walt' and his team with 'Pamela'
The film, sometimes very funny, often touching and deeply moving, a tale that will
almost certainly draw you in whether you like the film 'Mary Poppins' or not, the film
which is 'the making of 'Mary Poppins' is quite simply ....a must see.
A DELIGHTFUL FILM.
Great performances throughout with superb picture and sound quality.
* Deleted Scenes - 'Stargaze' - 'Nanny Song' - 'Pam leaves'
* Behind the scenes - 'The Disney studios-from 'Mary Poppins' to present.
* Behind the scenes: - Let's Go Fly a Kite.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
An engrossing film about Walt Disney's struggle to persuade P.L. Travers to let him make a film of 'Mary Poppins'. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are superb as Travers and Disney. Despite the fact that Travers was obviously an extremely difficult woman my sympathies are, on the whole, with her. Disney's film is marvellous in its way, but his Mary Poppins is not Travers's, and it is understandable that she didn't really want the character she loved moulded in the Disney image. But his patient and untiring struggle to get Travers to let him have his way is fascinating to watch.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a very engaging, enjoyable, at times moving film. Clearly we all know Mary Poppins eventually got made, so to construct a script that keeps you watching a story built around "will she or won't she?" is no mean feat. You can't help wondering that perhaps certain traits of PL Travers' character were overdone somewhat for effect, and that her insisting on meetings being recorded was one such exaggeration. But then if you watch the ending credits, you will hear one of the real tapes being played. They really do exist, and equally clearly, perhaps they didn't overdo her character that much!
Tom Hanks is a superb actor, I think films of him mowing his lawn would be highly watchable, and he plays Walt Disney brilliantly. But he is not the only star, all the actors around him are brilliant too.
A very good Sunday afternoon film, most enjoyable. If you like Mary Poppins. And who doesn't?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a lovely film, crass, brash Americana meets post-colonial stiff-upper-lippiness! Tom Hanks does a great job of playing a kindly Uncle Disney version of the eponymous Walt, all paternalism and Apple Pie but Emma Thompson is the total show-steeler with her rendition of the psychologically damaged, ice-maiden that's PL Travers.
Through flash-backs PL Travers early life traumas are spilt for us delicately, stitching together a picture that sees the slow destruction of the deified figure of her father into the alcoholic shadow he became. We see him fail, repeatedly, we see these events impact on her mother all the while in the present of our story, 1960s America, we see Walt Disney and writers of the motion picture screenplay for Mary Poppins trying to melt PL Travers icy heart. She needs to sign the rights over so the movie can be made and she is extremely sniffy about some of the frivolous directions they seem to have taken her character.
This is a quality movie, gentle, thought-provoking and effectively braiding its stories set in different timelines neatly and completely in a way that was very satisfying. We all know that PL Travers relented and Mary Poppins got the Disney treatment and in one of the most touching moments in the film we see Emma Thompson's character crying buckets as the bank manager dad returns at the end to sing and dance enthusiastically ready for kite-flying. The epitomy of fatherliness and good times absent from her own upbringing and the antithesis of her own dad's ignominious ending. Of course, truth and biography have been tweaked here to make a more complete story I'm sure, but it has been done in such a loving and respectful way that both Disney and PL Travers emerge as sympathetic figures.
Well worth a couple of hours of your time.
**** (Four stars)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful performances from Emma Thompson - superb as P.L. Travers who wrote Mary Poppins - and Tom Hanks, who never disappoints, raise this film above the average. It could have been a rather boring account of the stand-off between Travers and Disney over the details of creating a film of Mary Poppins, but instead the interaction between the two characters is fiery, feisty, compelling, and compassionate. The gradual thawing of Travers's implacable opposition to 'trivialising' her beloved heroine through Disney's patient wooing of this difficult personage is a small masterpiece of acting and delicate balance between the two protagonists.
The back story of Travers's own troubled upbringing in Australia, her devotion to her wayward, alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), her despairing mother (played beautifully by the lovely Ruth Wilson) provides interesting contrast and enlightens the viewer into Travers's reasons for developing her 'difficult' persona, as well as revealing the truth behind the creation of one of Disney's best loved characters.
Well-produced, leisurely paced, comfortably portrayed, with pertinent clips from the the actual film of Mary Poppins, and excellent back-up from the supporting cast, this is a properly professional adult movie without sentimentality, with dignity and grace and everyone 'scrubs up well'. All in all, a much more satisfying film than I expected, and all credit to the marvellous Emma Thompson and perpetually talented Tom Hanks. A great film for all the family especially anyone who loves Mary Poppins.