Winds in the East, mist coming in. Something is brewing, about to begin. I remember those words being sung to me by Burt right before we meet Mary Poppins. But what is the story behind the movie? How did this magically story go from book to Disney legend? Saving Mr. Banks takes a look at the difficult task it was to create Mary Poppins. The author P.L. Travers is played by Oscar winner Emma Thompson. Mrs. Travers, as she is called in movie, is strict, protective, and a no nonsense woman. She has a large fear that if she sells the rights to Mary Poppins, Walt Disney will turn her into a cartoon character with no real heart. Walt Disney is played by everyone's favorite man, Tom Hanks. To be perfectly honest, there is no one who could have played him better. Personally, I don't think Walt Disney Studios would have approved of any one except for Tom Hanks to play Walt Disney. Tom Hanks brings so much heart and life into Walt. He was a family man that wanted to create magic for children. Hanks shows us the Walt Disney we saw on tv and film but also portrays him as the brilliant filmmaker he was.
Saving Mr. Banks is really two stories in one. The first is about a young girl and her family living in Australia during the early 1900's. We see a beautiful young Travers and her larger than life, full of joy father who is played by Colin Farrell. He has a large imagination and treats his daughter with love and magic. As the story progresses, we see that things are not always as they seem. We learn of Travers real family problems and see that her father is not the perfect man we think he is. We see where the inspiration for Mary Poppins began.
The second part of the story is of Walt Disney Studios in 1961. Walt has been trying for 20 years to buy the rights to Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers will only agree if she has final script approval. Most of the movie is about the very negative relationship that Travers has with Walt and the fellow creators. For most of the movie I found Travers to be so harsh but thankfully Thompson does a great job of showing her real heart. She was so protective of her story because it was also her life.
I will warn you in advance, bring tissues. The last 30 minutes of the movie has so much heart and truth that I could barely contain myself. I was a crying Hot Mess but every moment was pure magic. This is a film for the Mary Poppins lovers and the Walt Disney Lovers. I am a very big fan of Disney, I think he was a brilliant man that made it ok to believe in magic again. Hanks brings him back to life on screen and we notice how much we miss the real Walt Disney. I say this movie is for the fans because there are so many little tid-bits for you to enjoy. For example, Walt Disney holds the record for the most Oscars ever won in History (22 according to imdb.com) When we first meet Walt, we see all of the Oscars behind the desk. Walt was also a chain smoker but never smoked in public because he didn't want to tarnish the family image. This issue is also addressed in the movies, it's very subtle but it is still there. To it's credit, the film gives truth, life, and magic to the characters. If you love Disney and you love Mary Poppins, this is a film for you.