Everyone knows the story of Mary Poppins – the magical nanny who comes to look after the children of Mr Banks, an unhappy financial worker. But did you know how hard Walt Disney worked to gain the rights for a film from P.L.Travers?
Saving Mr Banks tells the story of a disgruntled P. L.Travers (Emma Thompson) travelling to LA at the request of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks).After 20 years of wanting to make the film, Disney does everything he can to keep Travers happy but doesn’t quite understand why she’s so attached to her fictional nanny.
As much as you will leaving singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, this film is less about Mary Poppins and more about the life of P.L. Travers herself. The film switches between 1961 Los Angeles and 1907 rural Queensland where Travers grew up, depicting her troubled childhood with an alcoholic father. Thompson plays Travers as a tight fished, stubborn woman. It’s easy to understand Disney’s frustrations with the woman when you see just how demanding Thompson’s character is. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about taking a trip around Disneyland with Disney himself? Tom Hanks is as good at playing Disney as Thompson is at playing Travers. The two work so well together that you can see Hanks’ real life frustration at Travers’ stubbornness playing through.
At 125 minutes long, it is not a short film. I felt as though it could have easily been condensed down simply by cutting down on the amount of flash backs. Some of the scenes are crucial to the understand of the film while others, I felt, could have been left on the cutting room floor. Even though I felt it was slightly too long, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the scene where Travers’ was watching the premiere of Mary Poppins incredibly moving and even shed a tear myself.