Synopsis: The film centers on the life of Travers, shifting between 1907 with her childhood in Queensland, Australia, the 1961 negotiations with Walt Disney, and the subsequent making of Mary Poppins. While in California for filming, Travers thinks back to her difficult childhood in Australia, most especially to her father, the inspiration for the role of the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks.
Review: The last time i seen the 1964 film Mary Poppins, i think i was 8 years old. I’m at the age of 22 now. I can tell you that after watching Saving Mr. Banks, i wanted to watch Mary Poppins right when i got home. The story is beautifully told by director John Lee Hancock. The story starts off in 1961 with P. L. Travers(played by Emma Thompson) deciding whether to give Walt Disney(Tom Hanks) the rights to her beloved novel “Mary Poppins”.
Emma Thompson is great as the lonely and sometimes sour P. L. Travers. I say “sour” because she comes off as someone who is VERY hard to deal with. Especially when the supporting cast come off as very genuine people. When she travels to Los Angeles to meet Walt(everyone at Disney are on a first name basis, something Mrs. Travers HATES), she meets her driver Ralph(Paul Giamatti). Paul Giamatti is great in this movie. I honestly feel that Ralph is the most sincere character in this film. Ralph is the only American that Mrs. Travers likes. When she gets to Walt Disney Studios she meets – screenwriter Don DeGradi(Bradley Whitford) and the Sherman Brothers(Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak). The Sherman Brothers are song writers, which the author specifically requests that the film does not be a musical. Two things she doesn’t want in the film – music and animation. Ironic because we all know that Mary Poppins turns out to be a musical with animation in it. It’s also great to see them compose the songs “Spoonful of Sugar” and “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” in the film.
During the film P. L. Travers often has flashbacks to her childhood. I honestly did not know that Colin Farrell was in this movie, but boy was i surprised. Not only was i surprised he was in the film, he stole the show. He was a loving, caring father, but also an alcoholic. That would get him in trouble with his job and the family was forced to move. It’s sad to know that he was indeed a loving father, but alcohol got the best of him. Someone please nominate Mr. Farrell for an award for Best Supporting Actor.
Let’s not forget about the legendary Tom Hanks playing none other than Walt Disney himself. Walt makes a promise to his daughters that he will make a film based on the book they love, “Mary Poppins”. It takes Walt 20 years to finally get P. L. Travers to Los Angeles to discuss the makings of the film. Tom Hanks knocks the role out of the park. It made me wonder if we will ever see a Walt Disney biopic in the future. I loved the scene where Walt takes Mrs. Travers to Disneyland. Seeing all the costumed characters in their 1960’s attire was awesome. Also, the sets in this movie were beautiful. Whether it be in the 1940’s or the 1960’s, leave it to Disney to make you believe that you are actually in that era.
Do you have to see Mary Poppins before this film? No. Would it be better to? Of course. It’s always a better experience to watch a movie and get every little joke. This movie is great from the story, to the sets, and finally to the characters. I would recommend it to people of all ages. I give the film Saving Mr. Banks a 9/10.