Cast: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell
Director: John Lee Hancock
What's it about
Based on real life incidents, Saving Mr Banks is a behind the scenes look at how Walt Disney convinced author PL Travers let them make a big screen adaptation of her literary work Mary Poppins. Tom Hanks plays Disney while Emma Thompson is Travers. It isn't much of a story about Disney but a glimpse into how Travers came to allow her book be made into a feature film. Hancock also gives us a detailed back story on her childhood and how she came to be this prude person who refuses to let anyone break down her walls.
Hanks and Thompson play each other out superbly. The former with his childlike ability to question, inquire and make the latter talk about her life and open up. The casting is superb and the two do full justice to the roles. Emma's version of a stiff upper lip and refusing to give up on her firm values and beliefs is stark opposite to Tom's easy going charming demeanor. It is interesting how the studio presents their founder in an almost real manner, beneath all the candyfloss and smiles is a rutheless producer wanting to make money and extend his empire. Hancock succeeds in giving us a sneak peek into the life of one of the biggest names in the history of showbiz. The clash of cultures and ideologies between the two countries divided by the Pacific is brilliantly showcased in the film. Emma Thompson gives a performance that has been unfortunately ignored by the awards community. Her portryal of Travers makes the film soar!
The flashbacks into Travers's past serve more as a distraction than a purpose. They also make the second half a bit weary and long. Also after a while Travers's take on American slangs and their attitude towards life becomes a bit monotonous. The length plays a spolisport and the scenes and writing sometimes gets too sappy and sugary.
What to do
For fans of Mary Poppins or Disney, Saving Mr Banks offers a wonderful insight into the drama that ensued behind the scenes in making one of the best loved child classics of all time.