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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks (Kelly Marcel & Sue Smith)

When Walt Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favourite book, P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins (1964), he made them a promise - one that he did not realise would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a grumpy, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get trampled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney's plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the complicated author does not budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as the rights move further away from his grasp.

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths

Why I loved this film: It tells the tale behind the making of Disney's beloved classic 'Mary Poppins', but it is so much more than just a typical making of a movie. It allows us to appreciate the trials and tribulations Disney had to go through to make his piece of art. However, it is also about P.L. Travers and why Mary Poppins holds such a special place in her heart.
Director John Lee Hancock does a great job of making this film something truly special. He balances witty humour with emotional depth, but does so without being too sappy or melodramatic.
The performances are top-notch. Tom Hanks makes a pretty good Disney, but the real standouts are Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell. They give strong dimensional performances that make us truly care for the characters. Colin Farrell really surprised me.
Overall, 'Saving Mr. Banks' is a truly great and beautifully told film. It is an example of why we go to the movies and what Disney stands for as an entertainment corporation. Definitely worth seeing!

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