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AFTERNOIZ Archive

Saving Mr. Banks


Saving Mr. Banks © 2012 - Razor Film, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Winds in the east… mist coming in… like something is brewing… about to begin… The first time I watched “Mary Poppins”, I was about seven years old. My nanny brought me the videotape and I must have watched it a hundred of times since then– no exaggeration. I strongly believe that it is one of the movies that turn a child into a happier adult… and an adult to turn into a child again. So if you are a fan of the film (or the books, unfortunately, I have read only a couple of them), “Saving Mr Banks”, is your movie.

“Saving Mr Banks”, is telling the story behind the scenes of “Mary Poppins”, how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) invited P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the original books’ writer to his studios in America, in order to persuade her to sign the rights and allow her to make a film. But, at the same time, it tells a second story which is even more interesting. How P.L. Travers, came up with the beloved characters she created, and who was the real Mr Banks, no other than her own troubled father (Colin Farrell).  

I have to admit that like most Hollywood kind of biopics, the film version is a kind of softer one, with a spoonful of sugar added. I don’t know exactly the aspects of P.L. Travers’ childhood, but some serious and interesting aspects of her adulthood, career and life, most notably her bisexuality, are removed. I can understand, that a homage to a classic Disney movie has nothing to do with sexual interests;  I am just thinking that the portrait is incomplete to the point that P.L. Travers was not just a bizarre, grumpy and lonesome middle-aged lady.

But apart from that, which I say again, it’s just a perspective; the movie achieves its goal. Nostalgic, emotional, funny and sweet, it makes you feel like you are eating your favorite childhood comfort food after a long time, especially when you hear again “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, or “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Who hasn’t cried when listening to “Let’s go fly a kite”?

And, of course, (once again) we have to praise the performances of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, who make a remarkable and sparkling duo. Emma Thompson excellently portrays the complex nature of P.L. Travers (to the point the script allows it) and Tom Hanks makes Walt Disney seem sweeter that might have ever been in real life, yet extremely smart, confident, perspicacious and persistent. Colin Farrell gives one of his best performances, making Travers Goff the charming, charismatic yet self-destructive protagonist of the film.  Additionally, Annie-Rose Buckley is just as loving and sweet as needed for a perfect opposition with her future as Pamela Travers. In a few words, fans of Mary Poppins, do not miss it. All the others, watch the actual film first.


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