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Saving Mr Banks – Review

Saving Mr Banks Review
Saving Mr Banks Review
Saving Mr Banks Review


Release Date: 20th December 2013
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Kelly Marcel - Sue Smith
Cast: Emma Thompson - Tom Hanks - Annie Rose Buckley - Paul Giamatti - Jason Schwartzman - Colin Farrell - Ruth Wilson



Sound & Music



Visual Effects

Total Score

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1 total rating


Posted December 18, 2013 by

Saving Mr Banks Review:

With the camera idly panning through a thick cloudbank and the familiar jaunty notes of ‘chim chim cher-ee’ causing  toes to tap, audiences settle in for a charming venture into the magical world of flying nannies and frolicking chimney sweeps. But those clouds are not the familiar London smog and nor is there a cockney in sight. Instead, director John Lee Hancock (The Alamo, Blindside) Saving Mr. Banks opening scene has viewers dreamily soaring through Australian skies before introducing us to our gruff protagonist. So begins a unique and profoundly touching insight into the creative process of the classic Disney picture, Mary Poppins (1964).

Revolving around the author of the original Mary Poppins books, P.L “Mrs” Travers, superbly portrayed by the ever dignified Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually) and her intense possessiveness of her fictional family; characters sorely desired by the big man himself, Walt Disney, brought to [larger than] life by Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Captain Phillips). Thus begins the creative battle between Travers and Disney’s innovative team, co-screenwriter Don DaGradi and song writing duo, the Sherman brothers. Despite being an 11 hour flight away from home and a decent cup of tea, the terse Mrs Travers perseveres; fighting suggested script changes and animated penguins every step of the way. Never has a fish out of water been so stubborn!

Along with charming nods to classic moments from Mary Poppins – seemingly bottomless carpet bags and spoonfuls of sugar each making an appearance – the 1963 creative process plot intertwines with frequent flashbacks to Travers’ childhood in rural Australia, and the source for her future inspiration: her doting, day-dreaming father (Colin Farrell). Whilst short on money, the blissful family seem perfectly content to chase chickens – or was that Auntie Emma? – around their small farm. However, as adult Travers becomes increasingly flustered over the personification of her characters and increasingly emotional over the character of Mr. Banks, the flashbacks reveal the darker side of her youth and the real significance of her fictional characters.

A disarming combination of heart-warming moments, comical clashes between the strong-willed Disney and Travers, and sudden heartbreak at the predicament faced by young Travers and her family, Saving Mr. Banks is a joy to watch. Emma Thompson is the perfect choice for the hard hearted author, injecting the role with her classic British stoicism and sass, a stark contrast against Hanks’ contagiously joyous millionaire. Bring together the touching storyline and wonderful cast with the jubilant musical pieces we all know and love and the result is perfect Saving Mr. Banks is the Finding Neverland of the Noughties, and unquestionably one of my top films of 2013. I’d wager that many a viewer will rush home, as I did, and watch Mary Poppins, eager to observe with new knowledge and insight in mind a film perhaps now not quite the sugary-sweet and cheery picture we remembered…and yet still be utterly enchanted by the dreamlike innocence of youth it merrily presents.


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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 20.58.44

Becca Spackman
Freelance Contributor


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