Disney fan – check!
Mary Poppins fan – check!
Tom Hanks fan – check!
Emma Thompson fan – check!
No wonder I really liked “Saving Mr. Banks”. Despite watching the trailer and knowing the story, the movie still managed to surprise me. It’s a beautiful, tender film that manages to be sad without being mawkish, funny without detracting from the emotion and with far greater depth than expected. It is a beautiful film, with the right doze of the hilarious, sad, touching and emotional, but is not overly teary or cheesy.
Tom Hanks’ performance is warm and truthful and as expected he is matched all the way by Emma Thompson. I also loved how the screenplay intertwines the story of the film rights with the account of Travers’ difficult childhood to unravel the reason for her trying persona and the background to her literary achievement. It is this feature of Saving Mr. Banks that surprises most and perfects the film.
Director John Lee Hancock reveals each side of P.L. Travers’ life very differently and her troubled history is shot in muted colours which emphasize the bleak events that shaped the girl into the woman. I’m not big on Colin Farrell, but I loved his depiction of Travers Goff, the drunk father who lives in his own fantastic world to escape the harshness of the real world.
The casting of the other supporting actors is just great, with Annie Rose Buckley as the young writer, Ruth Wilson as her mother, Paul Giamatti as Travers’ driver, Ralph, Bradley Whitford as screenwriter Don DaGradi and B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman as the Sherman brothers.
This movie is so much more than ” the making of Mary Poppins”. It deals with difficult and important issues like alcoholism, loss, grief, imagination, inspiration and the importance of strong will – we even get a brief glimpse of a smoking Walt Disney :). I will never see Mary Poppins in quite the same way. All of the acting is superior, the story is amazing and the score is excellent.