“Saving Mr. Banks”
It felt to me as if this movie were going to be so pretentious. The kind of movie that would be centered around a main concept, but pretty much be there to force audiences into enjoyment and brainwash them into supporting whatever company it is about, this being Disney. While it did twist the truth a little bit, or so I’ve heard, this movie did surprise me. It wasn’t pretentious at all and, for the most part, it was actually quite honest.
Emma Thompson kills it as the picky and stubborn Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers. I thought Disney did a fantastic job at not depicting Walt Disney as the warmhearted and flawless savior to P.L. Travers, helping her uncover her heart of gold under all of that grouchiness. Walt Disney was just as impatient with Travers as everyone else working with her was. Also, P.L. Travers stays just as stubborn and moody throughout the entire flick, never giving a hint at an ending in which she has a change of heart after she was touched by music, or something. I could easily believe this is actually how it happened and I commend Disney for that. It’s all the more pleasurable for me.
You see, I don’t like movies that are mooshed and gooshed with fake realities, which was exactly what I was afraid this one would be guilty of. I want to see how it happened with all of its vivid detail, and this did a pretty good job. There is a sub-plot that I was very afraid of, though. It was the sub-plot where it shows the events of the actual book transpire, and I was almost positive that it would be smothered with frosting. Boy was I wrong. I LOVED this aspect to it, almost better than the actual film. Collin Farrell plays a troubled father who is struggling with an alcohol addiction. It’s there to show you how the whole point of Mary Poppins helping the family out was not to save the children, but to save the father. The depiction of alcoholism is actually pretty vivid, which surprised me. It would unnerve any child. This was the big aspect that she was so afraid would be tarnished by corporate greed, and I don’t blame her. She didn’t want it all prettied up to the point of where it hides the true message.
Saving Mr. Banks packed a pretty emotional punch. I was close to tears several times and I finally burst at the very end. It’s so difficult to watch Mr. Banks decay right in front of his children who he loves more than anything in the whole world. It was so painful because he’s not a bad guy; he is just so corrupted by this addiction. The outside story is pretty powerful as well. Travers fight to save her beloved work is strong and her reaction when she finally sees the finished product is beautiful. I’m man enough to say I was balling my eyes out.
The dramatic punch is a powerhouse, but the comedic one is just as powerful. This movie was hilarious. Emma Thompson’s depiction of P.L. Travers was priceless. So stubborn and unimpressed, every time she complained it had me laughing. That also had to do with the supporting actors. Tom Hanks, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, and B.J. Novak play their parts so well and Paul Giamatti plays Travers’ playful limo driver to a “T.”
Saving Mr. Banks is much more than a Disney Hallmark card. I had originally thought it was just going to be a persuasion to buy more Disney products, but it wasn’t, and it’s taught me not to judge a book by its cover. It was engaging, funny, supremely acted, and just plain delightful.
5 out of 5
“Saving Mr. Banks” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray