Film Review – Saving Mr Banks



Great films are like great meals.

And it takes more than a talented chef with the right ingredients and a killer recipe to make your mouth water and satiate your appetite.

Many a film has had the right ingredients but fallen short of a classic dish due to just one wrong factor.

Saving Mr. Banks is one of those gems that come along every year – most notably in the top five films at the Academy Awards that ticks every box.

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as the author of Mary Poppins PL Travers, Colin Farell as her father, Paul Giamatti as Ralph, the limo driver. BJ Novak  (The Office U.S.) alongside Jason Schwartzman (Bored To Death) as the men behind the music of Mary Poppins – the Sherman brothers. Throw in director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Rookie) blending these quality ingredients in a two-pronged story that unravels the 20-year quest that Walt Disney undertook to bring the book of Mary Poppins to the big screen.

Hang on Tom – just a few short months ago weren’t you the gutsy Ship’s captain Phillips taken hostage by rogue Somali pirates? Well like something out of a Disney film he’s here as a living and breathing Walt Disney.

Following a promise made to his daughter to make a movie of Mary Poppins, Walt must find a way to convince the extremely English woman of Australian background Mrs. Travers to grant him the rights to her story.

There is little she does not detest about America, California and everything that she believes Disney stands for.

As her battle to retain control of the characters she created unfolds, so too does her back story – one of three girls living in Queensland in the early 20th century. A Dad who desperately wants to fan the flames of her imagination while he turns to alcohol to numb the pain of his existence.

In a packed cinema the laughs were loud and constant. Every nuance of the characters elicited a response form the audience. Back when Cate Blanchet hit the screen on Blue Jasmine I knew she would have a shot at a best actress Oscar in a final five that will definitely include Emma Thompson vying for a gold statue.

The clash of cultures between the Disney crew charged with making the movie while appeasing this old fashioned English bird provides the spice.

The glimpses of Travers childhood in regional Australia give us a great stock, and the riposte between Hanks and Thompson as they each try to breathe life into these precious characters are nutritious and delicious.

A film full of sentimentality that some won’t enjoy, but if you like a spoon full of sugar, then this medicine will be just what the doctor ordered.

5 Stars.

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