Saving Mr. Banks review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Saving Mr Banks isn’t the predictable Disney films with heroes and villains, it’s not even a friendly family drama where everything figures itself out in the end. It’s a dreary look at the effects of fathers and family and the children it has warped in the process.
Saving Mr Banks follows PL Travers (Emma Thompson), the author of the Mary Poppins series of books and her interactions with Walt DIsney (Tom Hank) when he tries to acquire the rights to her books. The two clash over the book as PL looks back to her past with her father (Colin Farrell).
PL is anything but the average Disney lead, a pit of resentment and shame trying to move past the effects of her childhood. Thompson makes you empathise with this tragic woman in a way no other actress could. She is curt but fair and makes PL caustic but relatable. Hanks adds his signature cheer to the affair as the disarmingly charming Walt Disney.
Smartly written by Sue Smith and Kelly Marcel, the dialogue is sharp and witty while never veering towards the sentimental. The flashbacks fill in much needed gaps and flesh out PL while never feeling out of place or extraneous.
Directed by The Blind SIde’s John Lee Hancock, the film’s complex tale of conflicting emotions makes for a compelling watch as the horrible nature of PL’s past comes to light as Walt tries to understand the true importance of Mary Poppins. The addition of a few choice Dick Van Dyke jokes and some musical gags make for a nice cherry on top.
The film is mature and moving in a real way, which makes a change to the fairy princesses and mythical princes propagating their movies. I’d much rather watch the idealistic ramblings of PL Travers and Walt DIsney any day as they share horror stories about their past and make iconic films as they go