If you have yet to see Saving Mr. Banks, do so faster than you can spell S-U-P-E-R-F-R-A-G…
As a lifelong fan of anything Disney-related and an author who cares very much for the integrity of her characters, this film moved me. Inspired me. And had me both laughing and crying. The world that Walt Disney created played a significant role in my childhood development and remains firmly intertwined in the woman I am today. The ideals of hope, love, belief in oneself, kindness to others, and a combination of magic and art, guided my actions and reaffirmed my view that all is possible if you believe hard enough.
Saving Mr. Banks is more than a fictionalized telling of how Walt Disney acquired the rights to turn P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins” into a film. It’s a heartfelt examination of family, love, imagination, and our own inner turmoil. How do we overcome that which keeps us frozen in time and place? Can we find the strength and solace in our imagination and creativity? This beautifully made film answers the above and so much more!
Director, John Lee Hancock, guides the motion picture with care, allowing the viewers to understand and appreciate the emotions and actions of both Walt and Mrs. Travers. The seamless transitions between present day and the author’s childhood are juxtaposed in such a way that they make complete and utter sense. From the blending of speeches/song lyrics, to the mirroring of conflict, Hancock and a gifted editing team prove that the past is sometimes so ingrained in our present that the two become intertwined in our reality.
Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith’s screenplay provides not only an inspiring tale but also one filled with warmth, love, laughter, and creativity. These gifted ladies pay tribute to an author’s plight – caring so immensely for their characters that letting go seems impossible to do. They easily could have made Walt or Mrs. Travers a villain, having us root solely for one over the other. However, through heartfelt dialogue and imaginative storytelling we understood the struggles that each character faced and the consequences of what might happen if they failed.
All of the above sets the scene, giving the actors ample material to work from. And that they did, with elegance and grace. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are flawless in their portrayals of the two determined storytellers. As brilliant as these two beloved actors are in their work, I was wholeheartedly taken with the powerful performances of Ruth Wilson and Colin Farrell. (After seeing the film, I am disappointed and surprised that Farrell or Wilson have yet to be recognized this award season for their phenomenal portrayal of the complex Travers and Margaret Goff.)
Great acting makes us forget that they are doing so. They simply become the characters they are portraying. We don’t think, “Oh, there’s Tom Hanks talking with Emma Thompson.” We can believe in that moment that Walt Disney and Pamela Travers are having an animated (pun intended) discussion. The gifted actors in Saving Mr. Banks fused together a range of emotions, never once making them appear one-dimensional. When they disagreed, we understood why. When they failed, we felt for them. In this reviewer’s opinion, the most impressive show of their talent is that I cared about these characters.
This film deserves the critical praise already received and will hopefully garner more in the coming months. It’s absolutely worth seeing more than once and will no doubt become a favorite for years to come in households all over the world!
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**DISCLAIMER: No endorsement of actors, production companies, or other groups/individuals associated with this film is intended or implied!**