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Saving Mr. Banks

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“Mary Poppins does not sing.” Yes, the author of the beloved book series, Mary Poppins, actually said that. I know when I think of Mary Poppins, I think of the lovable and caring nanny from the movie who always sang, but that is not what Mrs. P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) had in mind when she thought of her Mary Poppins. Saving Mr. Banks gives the audience a look inside the making of Mary Poppins, but it also gives a backstory to Mrs. Travers’s life and the story of Mary Poppins. This movie shows how hard Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his group of writers, Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford), Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak), and Richard Sherman (Jason Schwartzman), had to work to gain the rights to Mary Poppins and create a movie acceptable by Mrs. Travers’s standards. This movie, directed by John Lee Hancock and written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, was beautifully crafted to include both the backstory and the making of the movie all into one smooth-flowing film.
This movie didn’t really have any complicated scenery, for it wasn’t a fantasy film. Even though it wasn’t complicated, the locations were well chosen, as the scenes in the Disney studio were actually shot in the Disney studio and the scenes at Disneyland were shot at Disneyland. However, the flashback scenes set in Australia were shot in California, but I have no complaints about the location, because it actually looked like a field in Australia. A lot of the music in the film was music from Mary Poppins, only redone by the actors playing the writers. I enjoyed hearing the familiar tunes in Saving Mr. Banks, and the rest of the score was also very well done. All of it fit the tone of the particular scene of the movie excellently and heightened my sense of enjoyment.
Whoever it was that cast the actors and actresses in this movie, I applaud you. The cast all did an amazing job paying their part, and I felt a personal connection to all of the characters. Tom Hanks made me love Walt Disney, and portrayed him as I would have expected Walt Disney to be like. He played a very kind and caring person, which I would expect from someone who created this corporation so based on imagination and bringing out your inner child. Emma Thompson made me sympathize with P.L. Travers. Mrs. Travers was extremely uptight and strict; it was her way or the highway. Thompson portrayed this in a way that made me laugh, cry, and be extremely frustrated by her stubbornness all at the same time. Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, and Jason Schwartzman played the writers of the script for Mary Poppins. They were all such funny and lovable characters, and I felt so bad for them and wanted to give them a hug every time Mrs. Travers gave them a hard time for the littlest things, although they handled it in a hilarious manner.
The plot of Saving Mr. Banks was not a simple one in the least. Throughout the movie, there were two stories being told, one in the past and one in the present, that were combined in the end. You weren’t explicitly told things, at first, but then it was clarified later on. For example, P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins and the main character of the movie, was always referred to by that name, while in the flashbacks she was referred to as either Ginty or Helen. It is not clear in the beginning of the movie whether they were the same person, and it was left the viewer to figure this out, until the end when it was explained that they were the same person. There is also some foreshadowing towards Mrs. Travers father’s alcohol addiction. In the hotel she was staying at, the elevator to her floor was right next to the hotel bar. Every time she passes the bar she glanced over and stared at it, which alluded to the fact that her father was addicted to alcohol and that affected both his and her life.
In my honest opinion, I think anybody could love this movie. Specifically, though, I think people who loved the book and/or the movie, Mary Poppins, would really enjoy Saving Mr. Banks. Being a longtime fan of Mary Poppins, I was completely captivated by the Saving Mr. Banks. I loved learning the history and back-story to this beloved story, and catching the little allusions to the movie, Mary Poppins. I also think people who are a little older would understand and enjoy the movie more than those who are younger. As I explained in the previous paragraph, the story got kind of complicated, so it may be hard for younger children to pick up on all the hints dropped during the movie, and may also take away from their enjoyment. Otherwise, though, I believe this is a movie anyone in the family could enjoy, and one I cannot wait to see again.



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