Saving Mr. Banks

Posted on December 21, 2013


Saving Mr. Banks – This is billed as a family movie but I really can’t see most kids getting much out of it.  It’s a background story of how the book Mary Poppins came to be a movie.  It begins with the magical feel of Disneyland and has more than a few humorous moments but is not always geared to young kids.

Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) promised his daughter Diane that he’d make Mary Poppins into a movie.  He did so without consulting the author Mrs. P.L. “Pamela” Travers (Emma Thompson).   So for 20 years he’s been trying to get her to sign a contract.  She has resisted until her lack of money necessitates it, but she doesn’t make it easy on Walt.  She’s no-nonsense, bordering on rude, and rejects every idea Walt and the Sherman brothers have.

It appears Mary Poppins was based on Pamela’s mother’s sister Ellie, played by Rachel Griffiths, who comes to help the family.  Known as Ginty when she was a child, Pamela’s father, Travers Goff, was dying.  Goff is a playful, imaginative father who dotes on his oldest daughter and she on him.  He’s also an irresponsible alcoholic and he’s played by the delectable Colin Farrell.   Walt figures out her thinking and makes it work.

Paul Giamatti is very sweet as Ralph, Mrs. Travers’ driver provided by Walt Disney.  He seems to take any role, no matter how small, and turn it into something that matters.

You could probably analyze the story and shoot a bunch of holes in it, if you so desired.   And I’m willing to bet you’ll come out singing “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down….”

Posted in: December 2013