As I try to pump out reviews for the lot of movies I’ve seen over the break to end 2013, I’ll begin with probably the most touching story of the year in Saving Mr. Banks. The movie stars Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins creator, P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. The rest of the cast is filled in nicely with Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, and Colin Farrell.
I was very interested in this movie but honestly just thought it was more about Walt Disney. I’ve only seen Mary Poppins probably two times and not since my age was in single digits. I was delighted to spend the duration of the film learning about the interesting background of P.L. Travers and the personal experiences that she built off of to create her stories. The story is well directed and keeps that classic Disney feel of being filled with niceness and joy while also providing a serious feel when exploring Travers’ past.
The cast was awesome in the movie; Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are great centerpieces as Travers and Disney who nail the important historical portrayals while Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak add great performances alongside those two. I thought Schwartzman and Novak were a great pair playing the Sherman brothers; both are quirky and have been funny in their past works (Novak on The Office and Schwartzman in Bored to Death and others) and I thought it was fun to watch them be happy and musical around a pessimistic Travers. Paul Giamatti was a really nice surprise to see pop up on screen because I did not realize he was in the film but he did an awesome job with his role as Travers’ American driver. I love Paul Giamatti, and my love only grew after his performance in Saving Mr. Banks because of the touching and heartfelt conversations between him and Travers’ and his consistent positive mindset.
The biggest surprise in the cast, however, was easily Colin Farrell. I really didn’t search for anything about this movie before going to see it so I only knew it featured Thompson and Hanks. Farrell plays Traver’s father and is the main character for all of the scenes that take place in the past. His character struggles with supporting his family because he is a creative mind that is still controlled by his inner child’s imagination and struggles to work at a boring bank job each day. On top of all this, he is also an alcoholic and is dealing with that in almost every scene; however, Farrell gives a very emotional performance that sets the tone of the film.
I liked a lot of the cinematography in Saving Mr. Branks; there was plenty of beautiful California scenery while also nice looks into the Disney World of the past. Overall, Saving Mr. Banks was very well done with a nice story and great acting. It was a all new information to myself so I thought it was fun to learn more about the process to make Mary Poppins and see into the life of P.L. Travers. The only downside is the feeling that Disney is putting this movie out for personal gain to win awards based off of the familiarity with one of their most iconic films, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.
I give the film a solid rating of 7.7/10
Definitely check out Saving Mr. Banks and look for my upcoming reviews on other awesome movies including American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall St., and The Spectacular Now!