Home Film reviews SAVING MR BANKS


by Louisa Klein

So, today it’s Xmas and, as every year, I am watching a marathon of Xmas/children’s movies. Already covered ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ and ‘Labyrinth’ by Jim Henson. Next one is, of course, ‘Mary Poppins’.
I love this movie very much, it being one of the very first films I saw at the cinema, when I was maybe 3, with my mum and dad. I had my very first crush ever on Dick Van Dyke as Bert and, I must admit, all those chimney sweepers dancing together still give me another an erotic thrill today, after all these years! 🙂
Anyway, being a huge Mary Poppins’ fan, I couldn’t miss an intriguing film like ‘Saving Mr Banks’ so, here it is, my review for you, as a Xmas present!
Well, what can I say? This film’s awesome. Heart-breaking and hilarious, sweet and sour, it will make you cry and laugh so hard, that at a point you’ll wonder if the ones in your eyes are tears of joy or sadness.
This is a funny, bittersweet account of how ‘Mary Poppins’ finally came to the big screen after 20 years of fruitless negotiations, with Emma Thompson turning in an Oscar-worthy performance as author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as an amazing, AMAZING Walt Disney. The film is interspersed with illustrative flashbacks from Travers’ childhood.
Not many know this detail, but her real name was Hellen Goff. She took her en name from her aunt Pamela, on whom Poppins is based, and her dear father, Travers Goff. In her beautiful, very accurate biography ‘Mary Poppins she wrote’, biographer Valerie Lawson gives us a detailed account of Mr Travers strengths and weaknesses. He was, like in the movie, a dreamer and a affectionate, loving parent. Born in East London, he taught his daughter to love Irish authors such and Yeats, as well as fairy tales and Shakespeare. He was, sadly, also a hopeless, unreliable alcoholic, who couldn’t keep a job.
He died when she was only seven, leaving her with two little sisters and a chronically depressed mother who, not much later, tried to kill herself.
Hellen aka Pamela would pass the rest of her life, looking for ­­­­a father figure, filled with nostalgia for her most beloved dad.
This movie explores the relationship that Pamela had with her dad and how he inspired the character of Mr Banks who, like her father, is a bank clerk.
I don’t want to say too much, but Pamela’s father is a key character in this movie, the title itself being inspired by him who truly, deeply needed to be ‘saved’.
‘Saving Mr Banks’

Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley

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