Saving Mr. Banks Review: ‘Disney v/s Travers’

A true story about how Walt Disney managed to produce the famous 1964 film ‘Mary Poppins’ by convincing the author of the novel to hand him the rights, the movie is centered on the the author’s past and her motivation to write the book in the first place. Pamela L. Travers is very reluctant to sell her idea and Walt Disney is so determined to get it from her that he has tried for 20 years in vain. When Travers realizes she must arrange money to keep her house, she hesitantly agrees to visit Disney and hear him out and assess what the film would be like. But unfortunately, she has problems with every little detail that Disney’s team presents to her, and Disney soon realizes it is going to be very hard to get things going.

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Being a true story, this is not much of a riveting tale, but more of a realistic presentation of the events without twists or sudden revelations. The movie keeps switching to flashbacks, which is another story where Pamela’s bond with her father is accentuated. Some scenes in the flashback feel overly embellished to lend credence to the bonding that little Mrs Travers shares with her father and its quite obvious what was going to happen in the end, to both Disney’s film and to Pamela’s father in the flashbacks. Having said that, the movie was fun while it lasted and doesn’t seem tedious or interminable at any point.

Emma Thompson plays Pamela Travers brilliantly and it is not that easy a role when there are a wide range of emotions involved, and some of them contradicting each other. She is obstinate, abrasive, callous, insensitive, condescending and at the same time morose, attached to her fictitious character and afraid of what would happen if she let Mary Poppins out for Disney to handle her. But Tom Hanks as Walt Disney himself is undoubtedly the best performer with his propriety, determination and love for fame (Disney carries pre-signed autographs to distribute among his fans). Hanks proves to be one of the best actors, who can pull any role with complete perfection and finesse, whether its a fun loving, urbane and famous Walt Disney or a pensive and helpless Captain Phillips. Collin Farell’s role as the loving father in the flashbacks is a little overdone, but nonetheless, well-performed and convincing enough.

Although the movie has very little content, it still doesn’t bore you because of the impeccable acting, smart screenplay and amazing direction. The background score too requires a special mention, since it makes the film feel light and happy without making you expect any serious outcome and then disappointing.

I will go with a 7 on 10 for this. Its a one-time watch and you won’t even think about it after it ends.

Rating: 7/10

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