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Saving Mr. Banks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

“Saving Mr. Banks” shows how the magic of the beloved classic film “Mary Poppins” came to be.

The story follows the life of author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), examining her difficult childhood and the inspiration behind her beloved book series Mary Poppins. Negotiations for the movie rights occur with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), and production for her adaptation begins.

Thompson's portrayal of P.L. Travers is Oscar-worthy. She shows her to be a person who is hard to like, but at the same time impossible to hate. Thompson balances Travers' conflicts, from her difficult past to the troubled negotiations with Disney.

When the film explores Travers' past, it delivers some of the most emotional scenes. Though the flashbacks were a bit distracting and jarring at first, they show how her past not only influenced her life, but also the story of Mary Poppins. These scenes explore her relationship with her father (Colin Farrell). Farrell delivers one of his best roles ever as her alcoholic father in many emotional and heartfelt scenes.

P.L. Travers' conflicts with Walt Disney during production are a highlight, as they deliver many charming, whimsical, and hilarious moments. Seeing Travers bashing some of the decisions for the film – such as some of the ridiculous words in the script – is a delight.

And while at first Tom Hanks seems miscast as the iconic Walter Elias Disney, he surpasses expectations and captures all of the characteristics that made Disney a great businessman and creator of films for children. Hanks' portrayal is charming, persuasive, and all around magical.

As the Sherman Brothers ­(famous for songs from “The Jungle Book,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” and of course, “Mary Poppins”), B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman have fun with their roles. Paul ­Giamatti also delivers a great performance as a chauffeur.

Director John Lee Hancock (famous for the overrated “The Blind Slide”) creates a great balance of sweet, high-spirited charm and heartwarming moments with many humorous and fun-to-watch scenes. But Hancock doesn't shy away from the emotional moments.

Hancock clearly respects and appreciates the film that Travers and Disney created together. The struggles that brought this 20-year project to life are spectacular. We see how close the story of Mary Poppins was to everyone involved, and the effect it had on them. This movie made me appreciate “Mary Poppins” even more than I already did.

“Saving Mr. Banks” was one of the best films of 2013, and it easily deserves the AWESOMETACULAR rating.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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