Saving Mr. Banks FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Walt Disney Pictures, Ruby Films and Essential Media & Entertainment present a PG-13, 125 minute, biography, comedy, drama, directed by John Lee Hancock, written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith with a theater release date of December 20, 2013.
The year is 1906 and the Goff family, father Travers (Colin Farrell), mother Margaret (Ruth Wilson) and their three children are moving from the city life in Australia to a country farm with a horse, chickens and an old house. As for their oldest daughter Ginty (Annie Rose Buckley) it does not matter as much where they live since she has her imagination and more so her father. But as flashbacks tell us throughout this ingenious story, matters are not all as they appear in the young girl’s life. Her father is an alcoholic, can’t hold a job and is pretty much an embarrassment to the community but through it all Ginty still stands by his side right up to his death.
On April 2, 1961, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) is living in London England. Well known as the author of the Mary Poppins story she has been approached by Walt Disney for pretty much twenty years for the rights to the story. Her savings is dwindling and her publicist has mentioned she needs to make money and soon so she flies to Los Angeles to visit with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) himself to discuss making Mary Poppins a film. At the airport in Los Angles she is chauffeured by Ralph (Paul Giamatti) a pleasant gentleman with a handicapped daughter who happens to be a big Mary Poppins fan so Ralph is thrilled to be driving Mrs. Travers from place to place while in town. First stop, the Beverly Hills Hotel, her room filled with gift baskets and stuffed Disney characters everywhere but for Mrs. Travers her personality is far from befitting of animated Disney animals surrounding her every moment, their next stop the closet.
Once she arrives on the Disney property to meet with Walt she is soon introduced to several employees that she will be working with on the creation of her film. Everyone is on a first name basis that is except for Mrs. Travers she will not have it! Things don’t start off as planned by the Disney crew, Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford), Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak), Richard Sherman (Jason Schwartzman), Tommie (Kathy Baker) and Dolly (Melanie Paxson) all of whom have their particular yet later enchanting run in with Mrs. Travers. She won’t sign the rights to her stories to Disney nor will she allow the color red in the film and by all means no animation, oh and yes absolutely no actor named Dick Van Dyke either! The list goes on and the battles between Mrs. Travers and Disney go on and on.
Ginty’s father back in 1906 once told her that this world is just an illusion and she lived by that ever since and used that in her life including the time Aunt Ellie (Rachel Griffiths) came to visit to help out the family on pen to paper, all these memories of what once was were her inspirations to create the ever so popular and iconic Mary Poppins. From the start to the finish right down to the film premiere in Burbank California in 1964 we as an audience learn how one supercalifragilous woman with an umbrella came to make America and the world smile and forget about their own troubles. Troubles that have plagued Mrs. Travers for her entire life until that one day when she signed on the straight line and gave her character life on the big screen.
I absolutely loved this entire story especially since I entered into the theater with semi-low expectations. It is beautifully directed and written with so many unknown facts about Disney and the making of Mary Poppins that will keep you enthralled from start to finish. There are many comedic moments but quite a number of scenes that will bring a tear to your eyes and make you reflect upon your own lives as well. A true delightful piece of work by Disney Pictures with a great soundtrack and cast of characters that will entertain you and leave you appreciating exactly what the making of a film from book to the big screen involves.
Hanks does a nice job of course playing the iconic Walt Disney but it is Thompson that will blow you away with her talents, demeanor and overall expressions as the true life behind our beloved character Mary Poppins. Beginning to end, mean to nice, Thompson controls her entire moments on screen making this story even more enjoyable and worth the box office price tag. Buckley is delightful as the oldest daughter in the Goff family and I’m sure we’ll be seeing even more of her in films to come. Already a fan of Farrell he does not disappoint as the alcoholic father who drives Wilson’s character to a dark side of her mental being. Giamatti is the warm face that everyone wants to see on a daily basis and the Disney crew of Whitford, Novak, Schwartzman, Baker and especially Paxson are huge supports to this wonderful story. Overall a delightful story that ties all the mystery from the beginning bringing forever meaning to the making of Mary Poppins. Written and enjoyed with three and a half paws out of four by Jon Patch.