Saving Mr. Banks (DVD) – Movie review
Follow Genre: Animation, Drama
Director: John Lee Hancock
Distributor: Disney

Saving Mr. Banks (DVD) – Movie review

Site Score
Good: excellent cast
Bad: I actually cannot think of a bad point
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Who of us has not seen “Mary Poppins” and hummed along to its amusing tunes? But how many of us know that it took Walt Disney a good 20 years to get the film rights? The story tells us about how the legendary animator solemnly promised his daughters that he would turn their favourite book by P.L. Travers into a movie. Probably not even Walt could have anticipated it would take that long and so much persuading when he made this promise. Even after such a long chase, he would have nearly failed too.


“Saving Mr. Banks” is mostly based on audio recordings that were made during the negotiations between Travers and the people of Disney as well as the correspondence and different script versions of “Mary Poppins”. In “Saving mr. Banks”, the viewers are taken back to the middle of the previous century to show in what setting the story really developed. It has to be said that when you are watching it, you truly get a good taste of what it was like in the mid-1900s – not just of the environment, but also the attitudes of the people of that time – so that with together with a lesson in filmmaking history a true nostalgic feeling sets in.

On the road to getting the agreement, Walt, played by the legendary Tom Hanks, faces an endless battle with the grumpy and uncompromising writer Travers (Emma Thompson), who has no intention whatsoever to give up her cherished heroin to twisted Hollywood. Eventually money troubles force her to give in and she flies to Los Angeles to listen to Disney’s plans.

During these two weeks in 1961, Walt Disney decides to do his uttermost best and give it all to conquer the author’s heart and get the necessary permissions to make the film. This turns out to be quite a difficult task as Travers isn’t optimistic about Hollywood at all.


Both parties have a very different understanding of Mary Poppins; while Walt Disney is trying to fulfill a promise he once made, mrs. Travers is trying to deal with her past. She dismisses all exaggerations in the film from the very beginning. It seems like being in Los Angeles for two weeks almost has results, until the animated penguins show up and it looks like there is nothing left to do about it, this film just won’t make it to the theatres; but faith has its ways. So what did the filmmaker have to do to win over mrs. Travers in order to be able to make the classic that would be loved by and bring joy to millions of people all over the world? To be honest, as appropriate for a drama, it might even at some point make you feel a little emotional. I know I cried a few tears at some point.

On the screen, the double-time Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson get into a true cat-and-mouse game that is worth watching and praising. This contrast between them is probably one of the most fascinating aspects of the movie and it is nice to see how no side is taken for either main character. Both are passionate about the same thing in their lives, being entertainers, creators but on the other hand when Travers is very strict and traditional in her work, Disney can never have enough of childishness and colours. Throughout it becomes clear that the reason for this lies in Walt having a family and children for whom to make movies yet mrs. Travers having been left childless and unmarried due to which she considers her characters as family. The only sad part in playing this out is that the scenarists didn’t squeeze Tom like a lemon, because his turbo mode acting skills could have given him more minutes on the screen. Mainly for that reason it could be said that the script is great, but not excellent.

Perhaps expectedly, it is clear that Walt Disney is attempted to be portrayed as a pleasant, likeable and approachable man. Only when he tells Travers about the difficulties he faced during his youth, the character gets a level of depth. (Random fact: You might not yet know that Walt Disney arrived to Hollywood with just tens of dollars in his pockets but with extreme determination and fantasy, together with his brother he built one of the world’s biggest entertainment multinationals.)


It is pleasant to listen to familiar melodies, see two different worlds put together in one film and of course there is the admirable actors’ duet of Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, where the latter does an excellent job at the peculiar and anxious yet very vulnerable personality of the leading lady. The casting is actually quite excellent and greatly adds value to the film. The faces you will recognize besides the aforementioned are Colin Farrell (“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus “), Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”), Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore”), PJ Novak (“The Office”), Rachel Griffiths (“My Best Friend’s Wedding”), Bradley Whitford (“Scent of a Woman”) and others. The director, John Lee Hancock, scored his previous hit in the film world with the movie that brought Sandra Bullock the Oscar for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, “Blind Side”. If you have not yet seen “Mary Poppins”, it is highly recommended to watch it before seeing “Saving Mr. Banks”. It is not a necessity but it will allow you to enjoy the latter to the fullest.


Although it often seems like an advertisement for Disney, the good laughs, excellent acting performances and historical correctness make up for it. “Saving Mr. Banks” will bring you laughs and tears and it shows us that if you really truly badly want something, the impossible can turn into reality. As the animation master said…”If you can dream it, you can do it!”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Saving Mr. Banks (DVD) - Movie review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.