Monday, December 30, 2013

Let's Go Fly a Kite Indeed! My Review of Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks  -  2013  -  Directed by John Lee Hancock.

Every time I see a movie based on a true story or an individual's life I always wonder how did they feel about their life being forever cemented in film and how did they feel about the finished product? Saving Mr Banks gave me a glimpse into that and it was a marvelous 2 hours.

Emma Thompson stars as author P. L. Travers, a stoic, rigid woman who's past greatly affects her present and hinders her future. For 20 years she has resisted selling the rights to Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) but now with looming money issues she has agreed to meet him in L.A. but of course only if she retains final script approval.

Upon arriving in L.A. she is taken to Disney studios where she meets the creative team tasked with bringing her story to life. Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak), Richard Sherman (Jason Schwartzmann) and Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) are all eager to collaborate with her but she keeps throwing up resistance. No animation allowed, costumes are off, buildings are too opulent, at one point she bans the color red from the movie. Then it hits them, Walt Disney doesn't own the rights yet.

Walt has promised his daughters he would make Mary Poppins into a movie and he promises Miss Travers he will honor her character if she will just trust him. She doesn't. He doesn't even realize who Mary Poppins came to save.

While the events at Disney are unfolding we are shown flashbacks to her life as a child growing up in Australia with her siblings and parents. While her Mother (Ruth Wilson) is always around she pays her no attention but her Father (Colin Farrell) recognizes a beauty and truth to her and spoils her with his affections. He is a simple man with little money and a alcohol problem. A decision she makes for him as he lays sick haunts her to her soul.

Both story lines are propelled forward by the talent of all involved. Minor characters are allowed to breath and shine while the story literally jumps off the screen whenever Miss Travers shows up. Emma Thompson gives a pitch perfect performance of a woman who never recovered from her childhood and struggles to forgive herself and let go. One of the best scenes in the film is when she comes alive while first hearing, "Let's Go Fly a Kite." It is a scene of pure magic.

I could squabble about the flashbacks, which I enjoyed just didn't like their placement at times, but I wont. There is simply too much hear to love. Saving Mr Banks is one of the best movies of the year.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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