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December 5, 2018

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) --- “To Him It Was More Than A Movie, But To Her It Was More Than A Book.”

Plot Summary
Spurred on by a promise he made to his daughters, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) embarks on what would become a 20-year quest to obtain the movie rights to "Mary Poppins." The author, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), proves to be an uncompromising curmudgeon who has no intention of letting her beloved characters become mangled in the Hollywood machine. However, when the books stop selling and she finds herself in need of money, Travers reluctantly agrees to consider Disney's proposition. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     No matter how fictional it may seem, there is always a bit of truth behind every story or tale and the same can be said for the 1964 cult classic, Mary Poppins. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Alamo, The Rookie) and written by Kelly Marcel (Venom, Cruella) and Sue Smith (Mabo, Bordertown), Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is the touching story behind the story as it focuses on P.L. Travers and what inspired her to write Mary Poppins.

     Since Mary Poppins (1964) is a phenomenal film and cult classic, director Hancock and the writers had some pretty big shoes to fill if they hoped to ever come close to the successes of Mary Poppins. Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is a nostalgic, original, and truly special story about an author living with a broken heart due to a broken past, and director Hancock along with writers do a phenomenal job. They balanced witty humor with emotional depth all while keeping a dramatic and inspiring story moving at a respectable pace. The story is written to be more personal to the audience with themes like letting go and moving on being handled rather well. After watching this film you will never watch Mary Poppins the same way again.
     Legendary cinematographer John Schwartzman, who brought us amazing visuals from Pearl Harbor, Dracula Untold, Jurassic World 1 & 3, A Simple Favor, and many more, once again brings audiences incredible visuals in Saving Mr. Banks. Both the 60s setting and the early 1900’s flashback scenes in Australia along were stunning and rich with color. The music score (Thomas NewmanSpectre), costumes (Daniel OrlandiDark Phoenix), set decor (Susan BenjaminThe Finest Hours),  production designs (Michael CorenblithGame Night), and art direction (Lauren E. PolizziCaptain Marvel) were very pleasing to the senses and also add to the realistic quality of the two time periods.
     The cast performances were superb. Emma Thompson (The Children Act) stole the show with her solid performance of P. L. Travers, while Tom Hanks (The Post, Toy Story 4) makes a pretty good interpretation of Walt Disney. Together they give terrific performances as each other’s supporting player. Colin Farrell (Dumbo, Widows) does a remarkable job at Travers’ father, Travers Goff, and Annie Rose Buckley is sweet as a young P.L. Travers, also known as Ginty. Paul Giamatti (Jungle Cruise 2019), Bradley Whitford (Godzilla: King of Monsters), Jason Schwartzmann (Mozart in the Jungle), B.J. Novak (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Kathy Baker (I’m Sorry), and Melanie Paxson (Descendants 1, 2, & 3) are excellent and provide fine support. Rachel Griffiths (The Kings Daughter, Hacksaw Ridge) also gives a wonderful performance but she deserved more screen time than she actually received.

     Overall, Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is a nostalgic, original, and inspiring family film that teaching audiences about the importance of letting go and moving on in order to heal. Everything about this film is wonderful and afterward you won’t be able to watch Mary Poppins (1964) the same way again. I highly recommend that fans of Mary Poppins watch this film and then re-watch Mary Poppins in a new light.

"Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like something is brewing, about to begin. Can't put me finger, on what lies in store. But I feel what's to happen, all happened before."
- Travers Goff [voiceover]

Final Vote - 8 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
Christopher Robin (2018)
Cross Creek (1983)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Goodbye, Christopher Robin (2017)
The Last Station (2009)
Miss Potter (2006)
Mary Poppins (1964)
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
Nanny McPhee (2006)
Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)
Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin
Paddington (2014)
Paddington 2 (2018)
Peter Rabit (2018)
Pan (2015)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)

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