We’ll never forget the notable childhood memory of Mary Poppins singing, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” An emotionally dynamic film and current Oscar contender, “Saving Mr. Banks” recounts the true story of "Mary Poppins" author, P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson), as she works with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) in the production of the “Mary Poppins” movie.

After sales of her book begin to drop, P. L. Travers ultimately concedes to Disney’s request to make a movie adaptation of "Mary Poppins." She flies out to LA to oversee the adaptation. Throughout the film there is consistent controversy, as Travers fights to retain the authenticity of her book. Periodic flashbacks to Travers’ childhood reveal her troubled relationship with her alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), which inspired her to write this story.

Emma Thompson’s commanding performance made the film. Travers behaves exactly how one may imagine a stubborn and proud author would behave as the film adaptation of her work happens just before her eyes. Within the first thirty seconds of reading the script, she already has a mouthful of comments and begins making changes. She insists on being addressed as Mrs. Travers, and she always asks for her pot of tea, with the milk poured in first. Tom Hanks successfully plays the charismatic Walt Disney, who had been pursuing Travers for twenty years until she finally granted him movie rights. The comedic tone and chemistry Travers and Disney have is complimented by powerful flashbacks of Travers’ father who deteriorates before her eyes.

This was a truly endearing film, with the personal struggle Mrs. Travers faces leading to tremendous growth. She still proudly shows up to the “Marry Poppins” premiere with her driver, Ralph (Paul Giamatti), even after being uninvited. However, in the end, we see that “Saving Mr. Banks” successfully addresses and illustrates the concept of confronting, embracing, and ultimately finding a way to let go.

Grade: A

Rating & Runtime: PG-13, 125 min.

See if you liked: “Miss Potter”


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