Film Review: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ strums heart strings

Tom Hanks, as Walt Disney, tries to win over the stubborn P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson. Photo courtesy of Disney

Tom Hanks, as Walt Disney, tries to win over the stubborn writer P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson. Photo courtesy of Disney

By Sara Gann

Texan News Service

Ever since Disney released the film “Mary Poppins” in 1964, Julie Andrews has sang and danced her way through the hearts of children and adults of all ages. So the recent release of “Saving Mr. Banks,” a movie about the making of “Mary Poppins,” sent fans of the classic Disney movie racing back to the theater.

The story follows a middle-aged P.L. Travers, the original author of the book Mary Poppins, as she struggles to reach an agreement with Walt Disney and his colleagues about how to turn a story of morals and life lessons into a children’s movie. Disney jumps through many of Travers’ hoops trying to appease her every whim in order to complete the movie, yet she makes unreasonable demands and threatens to withhold the copyright when they aren’t met.

The audience then begins to learn the story of Travers’ childhood, a tale of a little girl enduring many difficult times with a family struggling to get through the day. This brings to light an unknown back story and explanation for her love of the characters in the book.

Though the movie is easy to follow, watching the 1964 film beforehand would be beneficial to catch all the references made.

The casting was ideal. Colin Farrell plays the important role of Travers Goff, the author’s father, who ultimately was the inspiration for Mr. Banks. Emma Thompson delivers a wonderful performance as P. L. Travers, and although her character is hard to handle at first because of her stubbornness, she becomes more and more lovable as the movie begins to conclude.

Tom Hanks had one of the harder roles since he had to portray the legendary Walt Disney. When I first saw the trailer for “Saving Mr. Banks,” I was a bit skeptical of him playing such an important person, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Altogether, “Saving Mr. Banks” is a well-written and emotional movie. It pulls at the heartstrings and affects the audience in different ways. It is meant to be a roller coaster of happiness, sadness, anger and other intense emotions until the very end, which offers a heartwarming, more than satisfying, conclusion to an inspiring story.

“Saving Mr. Banks” currently is playing at ShowBiz Cinema in Granbury and the Cinemark theaters in Cleburne and Stephenville, as well as theaters throughout North Texas. Run time: 2 hours, 5 minutes. Rated PG-13.

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