Movie Day: “Saving Mr. Banks”

December 14th, 2013 by Jane Heller


Today’s Cinema Society screening was one of the few this season I wasn’t looking forward to. Judging by the trailer to the film and the subject matter (I’ve never been a “Mary Poppins” fan), I figured it would be hokey, corny, saccharine, just not my thing.

Surprise. I liked it. It charmed me in spite of my initial cynicism, in part because of the performance of the great Emma Thompson, who stars as P.L. Travers, the Poppins author who famously resisted Walt Disney’s entreaties to make a movie – a musical, no less – of her beloved character. Tom Hanks is a wonderful Disney – a crafty businessman who loves to make everybody happy. He promised his daughters he would bring their favorite nanny to the big screen and spent 20 years trying to get Travers to let him option the rights. But when he brings her to L.A. for two weeks hoping to court her and convince her to go along with the deal, he discovers just how difficult she is. And during her stay, we come to understand why she’s so angry through flashbacks to her childhood in Australia with her dreamer, alcoholic father (a very good Colin Farrell).

The film’s director, John Lee Hancock,  who directed Sandra Bullock to Oscar gold in “The Blind Side,” knows how to showcase strong, difficult women with a soft center, and he does it again here. Yes, it’s schmaltzy and yes, the script takes liberties with the real story of Travers and Disney, but it all works somehow and turns out to be holiday fare for the whole family.


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2 Responses to “Movie Day: “Saving Mr. Banks””

  1. Peggy says:

    Hi Jane …


    A little late to the party on this one but I felt exactly like you….I wasn’t that up to seeing the movie (heck ..I’ve never even watched Mary Poppins in whole…just bits and pieces). My cousin wanted to go see it and to my surprise I actually loved the movie. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks were wonderful in their respective roles of Travers and Disney. I loved the back story of her life intertwined with the main story giving us the real story behind the woman. I thought it was a beautiful movie …I loved every minute. Now I must watch Mary Poppins in full.

    I highly recommend this movie to everyone.

    On another note …I have been reading a few more of your books. I finished Infernal Affairs and I’m now reading Crystal Clear with Sis Boom Bah up next. Just passing time waiting for P’s & C’s …not long now !!

    Go Yankees 2014 !!!

  2. Jane Heller says:

    Happy New Year to you, Peggy. So you had the same expectations about this movie that I did – not dreading it but definitely not expecting to enjoy it. The back story of Travers’ childhood was what worked best for me. Without it, she would have just been a bitter pill. Both actors were perfect.

    I love that you’re reading my novels! You’ll have to tell me which is your favorite!