Review of Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks,' a sweet success

By Hannah Gullickson,
Author Rating: 
5.0 Stars - I Loved It!

Disney with Saving Mr. Banks has hit the theaters with rousing success. Based on the life of P. L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, this film shows the life of P. L. Travers as she seals a contract deal with Walt Disney and finds redemption from her bitter past with her father. Starring award-winning actors Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, this film will keep families watching it over and over.

The film portrays P. L. Travers as a manipulative woman. When she flies to Los Angeles to help advise the film’s production, she constantly fusses over details such as the color red and the omission of cartoons. She fumes at the screenwriters’ malicious rendition of Mr. Banks and vows never to sign the contract with Walt Disney. But when Disney comes face-to-face with her core problem, he realizes that she has been trying to save her father, Travers Goff, from the horrible life he never should have lived.

In 1906, Travers Goff moved his family from the suburbs in Queensland, Australia to the country about 200 miles south to begin his new job at the bank. P. L. Travers, being 7 years old, loved him for his whimsical nature, yet he hated his job because he felt it constricted him, and died of influenza at age 43. P. L. Travers recreated bits of her childhood into the story of Mary Poppins, and viewers see the resemblance between P. L. Travers’ father and the gentlemanly Mr. Banks.

When Walt Disney tells her that she was actually writing this character to save her father, P. L. Travers denies this fact at first. But viewers get the sense that she hated the way her father felt trapped at the bank, and in writing a jocular character who thrived at his bank job, she may have unknowingly recreated her father's life in a way that she wanted him to live.

Near the end of the film, when P. L. Travers sees the premiere, she bawls at the scene when Mr. Banks walks down Cherry Tree Lane amid silhouetted trees, and as the chorus of “Feed the Birds” plays in the background, viewers feel relieved that she’s getting the redemption she craved as Walt Disney leans over and pats her on the shoulder, comforting her.

Saving Mr. Banks has reaped a worldwide total of $24.6 million, according to Forbes, and it will undoubtedly receive nominations at the Oscars this March 2.



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