Special Cinema Spotlight: Saving Mr. Banks

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What attracted me to this film was two things; Disney and Mary Poppins. I have never read any of P.L. Travers's book on the British iconic character of Mary Poppins but I have seen the film.

This film in particular, tells the story of both P.L. Travers (to a certain extent) but mainly of how long and how hard it was to get her to sign over the rights to created the film, Mary Poppins (over 20 years!).

Saving Mr. Banks is set in 1961 and begins with P.L. Travers in London. Her agent is trying to convince her to sign on to the making of Mary Poppins and so begins her journey. The films contains flashbacks to her childhood in Australia in the early 1900's. Her father was an alcoholic and lived in a magical world of his own, often including Helen (P.L. Travers) in his imaginary games. The film suggests her childhood then influenced the characters in her book. For example, Mr. Banks, the father in the film Mary Poppins is loosely based on her own father named Travers.

I questioned whether or not the film was accurate because it seemed almost like fiction but I have to say after reading about her life and the making of the film, this film is quite accurate. The film connect her past with her reasons why she fights signing over the film to Disney, which I found both thoughtful and emotional.

I do have to confess I found Travers's character to be off putting. I almost didn't want to watch the film the first few minutes because she was just so blatantly rude and snobby. After understanding her background and how she lived her life you can almost understand why she was the way she was. Let's just say she wasn't a happy cupcake and she carried many demons with her.

There were a few parts that I found delightful and as a Disney fan, just elated to see. I loved the part when she bonds with her large stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, the relationship between Ralph and herself, the scene at Disneyland (swoon), and the scene where she sings, "Let's go fly a kite".

I also loved, loved, loved, and loved the costumes! I mean it was set in the early 60s, just dreamy. I wanted every outfit everyone wore!

This film was emotional and sentimental but so enjoyable. Once I got past her upper crust snobbery and understood her character better I just found it a true joy to watch. If you would like to learn more about the people behind the making of Mary Poppins and this film HERE is a fantastic article to read!

Have you seen this film? Have you ever seen Mary Poppins or read the books?

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  1. When Saving Mr Banks came out in the theater, I hadn't ever seen Mary Poppins (shocking, I know!!) but I was attracted to the film because I'm a big fan of Disney. I was excited to see Tom Hanks as Walt, Emma Thompson as PL Travers, and as a Disneyland Passholder, was excited to see "vintage" Disneyland! I loved the film in the theater, it definitely brought a tear to my eye. Now I own both Mary Poppins and Saving Mr Banks on bluray. My 2 year old son is obsessed with Mary Poppins and now so am I! We watch both films often!! My son and I even went as Mary & Bert last Halloween even though we hadn't really seen Mary Poppins before - I was that excited for Saving Mr Banks!

  2. Loved the movie! And just like you, at first I really did NOT like her character at all. I was all like, can we just see Walt and the singers. Then as I learned more about her history I began to sympathize with her so much. Havent we all been through some pain and learned to deal with it in out own ways. BTW, her clothes were so enviable but OMG her HAIR was sooooo bothering me. All those tight little curls, they really drew attention to her holding herself in from the world.

  3. While never a huge Mary Poppins film, I do like it, mainly because of Dick Van Dyke. But I was especially eager to see Saving Mr. Banks since some of it was shot at Disneyland. I have not however read any of the books.

    Saving Mr. Banks was difficult for me on a few levels, and as you mentioned, Mrs. Travers wasn't exactly a delight, though you do begin to understand her. Though I wasn't sure if there really was suppose to be a parallel between her life and that of the story in Mary Poppins, since it seemed the film was trying to do that, but in the end it was utterly lost. The Disneyland scenes were disappointing from a historical, "Disney Geek" point of view. And it was also awkward in the ending, as I knew that the real P.L. Travers hated the film in the end.

    I'm still on the fence about the whole film. :/



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