Saving Mr. Banks

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: +2

Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths. Drama. Written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Directed by John Lee Hancock.

FILM SYNOPSIS: When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.

 For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge.  He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.

 It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.

Executive producers are Paul Trijbits, Christine Langan, Andrew Mason and Troy Lum.

PREVIEW REVIEW: At first I thought Emma Thompson was going overboard with her portrait of writer P.L. Travers. But at the end of the film we hear the real Travers via a taped recording from the pre-production meetings and I realized Ms. Thompson was spot on.

And all you have to do for Tom Hanks is give him a good script. He’ll take it from there as he once again proved in this year’s Captain Phillips. He doesn’t look anything like Walt Disney, but he manages to convey Walt’s inner man. There is a wonderful scene between him and Ms. Thompson as he recounts his childhood. I realized that the actor was drawing us in. Like the camera slowly moving in, he reached out, helping us understand how past relationships have affected our lives. I’ve been blessed with having parents who were dutiful, loving and respectful of their kids’ rights. Not all can say that. But I was able to take Disney’s confessional to heart as I found myself dredging up how others throughout my life had either discounted my abilities or inflicted some sort of emotional pain on my psyche. In other words, I was helped by this emotional and well-constructed cinema scene.

We're reminded that Mr. Disney wasn’t just a great businessman and showman, he also believed that his creations would better the lives of millions. They sure did that.

It’s a wonderful production and certainly worthy of Academy Award attention.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: A couple of minor expletives.

Profanity: one profanity


Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Alcohol abuse is depicted, but not glorified.

Other: A man dies from a disease caused by alcoholism.

Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Older kids and up

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.