Saving Mr. Banks

I had hoped to see Saving Mr. Banks at our local theater, but by the time it came to town, I was so sick I didn’t really care. I also didn’t want to share what I’d come down with, but mostly I just wanted to sleep.

Four months later, I finally got a chance to watch it.

I tend to enjoy most films about authors, and this one had the bonus of starring Tom Hanks. It’s just my opinion, but that man has more talent than anyone in the history of film making. Ever. It didn’t hurt that Colin Farrell was in it, too. He’s very pretty to look at.

So…  What did I think of the movie?

At first, I thought I was going to hate it. P.L. Travers was an incredibly unpleasant person. Rude, unfriendly, bad tempered, rude, obnoxious, selfish. Did I mention rude? (If she hasn’t already won it, Emma Thompson deserves an Oscar for this performance!)

If I’d been Walt Disney, I’m afraid I’d have personally stuffed the woman into cab, sent her on her way, and started searching for some other story to turn into a screenplay.

Fortunately, the writers dealt with her awful disposition by including flashbacks to Ms. Travers’ life as a child and, more importantly, her relationship with her father, her inspiration for Mr. Banks.

Her father was also the reason she refused to sell movie rights to Mr. Disney for two decades. I believe she was afraid he would come across as cold, uncaring man on the big screen.

In other words, Ms. Travers ignored one very important rule authors should never break. Once the story is told, once the story is published, it’s no longer our baby, it’s a product. A bunch of papers bound together in a cover, slapped on the shelves at the corner bookstore, and sold to any shopper who has the money to buy it. It’s not that we can’t still love it, but we have to let it go and move on to the next story that needs telling.

Except she never reached the place where Mary Poppins was merely a product. It was always about her dad, and she couldn’t bear for anyone to turn the novel into something that might make a joke out of her memories of him.

We all know the ending to this story. Ms. Travers did sell the movie rights to Walt Disney. Mary Poppins was made, became a hit – and is still hugely popular almost fifty years later.

What makes this movie special is how it all came into being. From our first glimpse of the crotchety Ms. Travers, to sitting in on the planning sessions (which she turned into nightmares for the writers), to watching the events that inspired her to write the book in the first place.

I won’t say anymore about it, just that it’s a remarkable film. I went from irritable and ready to turn it off about half an hour into it, to curious, to smiling and crying by the end. If a movie can send my emotions all over the charts like this one did, it’s worth telling others about it.

Have you seen Saving Mr. Banks yet? If so, what did you think? Would you have been able to work with someone like P.L. Travers for more than five minutes? I know I wouldn’t have been able to – no matter how much I enjoyed her book.

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8 Responses to Saving Mr. Banks

  1. karenmcfarland says:

    Okay, now I really have to see this movie. Yes, I still haven’t seen it. And no, you are not alone. Crazy, I know. But thanks for the recommendation Kristy! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the review. I still haven’t seen it, but it’s on my list of “to sees.” I don’t usually go to the movies because it’s so expensive. I’d much rather sit in my jammies on my couch and watch from home.

    I think I’ll move this one up a few places on the list.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Kristy K. James says:

      Hi, Patricia…
      This will be one movie you’ll be glad you watched at home. I don’t mind sniffling a little at the theater, but when it comes to outright crying – I’d rather watch it in my pajamas in the privacy of my own home, lol. 🙂

  3. I loved this film and I agree with you about Tom Hanks, he is an amazing actor and one of my FAVORITES. I am with you also if I was Walt Disney I would have probably sent her Though getting to know her through flashbacks I can sort of see why she was like she was and how important Mary Poppins was to her, since it was about her father. This movie had me tearing up and laughing and that to me makes a great movie. 🙂

    • Kristy K. James says:

      The only other actor that comes close to Tom Hanks is Cuba Gooding Jr., and he’s amazing, too. But there is only one Mr. Hanks. He IS every character he portrays.

      The saddest thing about Ms. Travers is that, according to my research, she died loving no one. Even worse, apparently no one loved her. I just can’t imagine anyone living such a hateful, bitter life. Yes, her father died, but she had so much to be thankful for. A mother, sisters, talent…

  4. Kathy Tozzi says:

    If ever there was a movie that could bring even the coldest of hearts to breaking this was it. The love and heartbreaking loss she suffered had me sobbing (hiding my face behind my bucket of popcorn). It seemed like just as you started to hurt from the tears the next scene had you laughing, sometimes a big belly laugh. I absolutely loved this movie and will definitely own it to watch over again with my own bowl of popcorn and Kleenex but NO pears! 2 Thumbs up!!

    • Kristy K. James says:

      I know what you mean, Kathy! I was glad I hadn’t gone to the theater to see this – or I’d have been hiding behind my popcorn, too.

      And yes…no pears! I don’t like them anyway. I like them less so now. 🙂

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