Saving Mr. Banks – Movie Review

Jan 27, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Entertainment, Screenplay

Saving Mr. Banks is not only a story about Walt Disney’s quest to obtain the filming rights to Mary Poppins, but also about the emotional connection author P.L. Travers had to her beloved story.

At the start, we learn that friendly and charming Walt Disney was courting the brusque old British author P.L. Travers for the filming rights to Mary Poppins for twenty years, after his daughters first fell in love with her books. Finally, in 1961, P.L. Travers agreed to meet Disney to discuss his terms and conditions. Refusing to sign the contract immediately, she agrees to work with the Sherman Brothers who wrote the music and lyrics and the screenwriter Don DaGradi . After spending a fortnight in Los Angeles, she becomes outraged with Mr. Disney’s neglect to abide by her wishes and returns home at once. It is only after Mr. Disney digs into her childhood that he understands why Mary Poppins is considered family to Mrs. Travers, and it’s a much bigger story than the magical nanny that Disney thought.

Saving Mr. Banks tells us how the beloved story of Mary Poppins is derived from P.L. Travers’ childhood, and she tells Mr. Disney that the story of Mary Poppins, and Mary Poppins herself, is family to her, more than just a fictional character. Struggling with self-forgiveness from incidents in her childhood that she’s never been able to let go of, she is very much reluctant at first to let Disney turn her precious books into a movie because she think it’s just another way to enable Disney to increase his empire. But she soon found out that Mary Poppins meant as much to Disney as she does to Mrs. Travers herself.

The purpose of Saving Mr. Banks was to outline not only the arduous struggles Disney had to endure in order to get the filming rights to Mary Poppins but it was also focused on the childhood struggles and complications that author P.L.Travers had to go through especially with her father. Of course expectedly not every plot point was completely accurate (for instance, Mrs. Travers signed the film rights almost immediately in reality because she was determined for cash), Saving Mr. Banks still achieved the message it wanted to convey: that the story of Mary Poppins, one of the most loved films of the 20th Century, was a monster to emotionally tackle for P.L. Travers, as well as for the writers and Mr. Disney himself.

Through flashbacks to Mrs. Travers’ childhood, Saving Mr. Banks accurately depicts why exactly Mary Poppins was so near and dear to the authors’ heart, and why she was so originally reluctant to sign off on the filming rights.

The script was a mixture of light-hearted, serious, comedic, and tear-jerking moments that fitted flawlessly throughout the entire film. Saving Mr. Banks not only paints the beautiful story of how Mary Poppins came to be, but you will begin to appreciate the 1964 film so much more especially if you thought you never liked it at first. I know I did. You’ll tap your toes, get teary eyed, and laugh out loud as your own memories of Mary Poppins come back, it will surely make you feel like a child and want to go fly a kite.

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