Going into the theatre, I knew only what I had seen in the trailers for Saving Mr. Banks. I knew it was the story of how Walt Disney made Mary Poppins with the input of her author, P.L. Travers. I knew it would have two linear plot lines and that one would be about P.L. Travers. What I didn’t know (or didn’t realize) was how much more I would love my beloved classic Disney film when I left the theatre.
Saving Mr. Banks is about more than how a Disney film was made in 1961-64. It is the emotional roller coaster of just what Mary Poppins meant to author P.L. Travers (or Helen Goff as she was born). We take a trip down memory lane as item after item is deemed ‘wrong’ by Mrs. Travers thus preventing Walt from making a film he had promised to his daughters for 20 years. We see that father/daughter relationship through Mrs. Travers eyes and begin to see familiar characters in her childhood life (Katie Nana, Uncle Albert, and many more). As she and her family are uprooted from their home due to their father losing his job, we watch as he continues to show young Helen how to dream. If only he had known that she would go on to write the books that inspired the imaginations of so many.
Without giving much more away, I will say that this film deserves every award it is nominated for. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks give stellar performances as do the rest of the well-known cast (Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford to name a few). My favorite childhood film has so much more of a special meaning to me having seen this film about its history a few short weeks before it turns 50. I hope you all will go and see it this holiday season. I may not be the biggest Disney fan, but Mary Poppins was my special nanny when I was very small and I still love her very dearly. Knowing how very special she was to Mrs. Travers makes me feel a certain kinship with her creator that happens so rarely. Thank you, Mrs. Travers, for letting Walt take care of her and allowing her to be so special to all of us as well.
More info about Saving Mr.Banks can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140373/