Monday, January 27, 2014

Movie Review: "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013)

Movie"Saving Mr. Banks"
Director: John Lee Hancock
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
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P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), author of "Mary Poppins," while running low on finances, agrees to travel to Los Angeles to consult with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), so he can try to obtain the rights to her novel in order to turn the story into a movie. Disney had made a promise to his young daughters that he would bring their favorite character to life on the big screen. All the while, Travers reflects on her childhood, which served as the inspiration for her book. The closeness she has to her characters makes her very picky and extremely difficult for the movie screenwriters to work with, and an all-around pain in the butt for Walt Disney. Disney must find a way to please Travers and maintain the integrity of her characters, while finding a way to bring his vision of the film to life.

We are extremely surprised Tom Hanks didn't get nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Walt Disney, and even more surprised that Emma Thompson was snubbed. They were stellar in this movie, and it is extremely well acted. Thompson shines as P.L. Travers, who was apparently a horrible person in real life. Her dry wit and they way she carries herself in this film is a treat to watch, even though she is a huge pain in the ass. Walt Disney has never been portrayed on the big screen by anyone other than himself; knowing this, why not get the best with Tom Hanks, who can basically do no wrong? Supporting actors such as B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, and Paul Giamatti all put on fantastic performances as well.

Travers' memories of her past being juxtaposed with her present helps viewers understand her life and inspirations, as well as what she was really trying to say in her book. It also gives her character great depth beyond just a crotchety old woman. There are scenes in the movie where viewers can really empathize with her for what she went through, but there are also other scenes where one might think, "is that the way you really treat people?!"

Maybe it's the nostalgia of Mary Poppins and growing up watching it, but there's so much in this film that brings a smile to your face while watching it. In fact, BigJ and I both left the theater with our faces hurting because we had smiled so much. A few tears were even shed, too. There's no real tension about whether or not Disney gets the rights to the book, because we know he (obviously) does, but the ride to get there is so enjoyable and fun to watch that it wouldn't matter if he did or not.

I must say...knowing some of the facts of this movie were historically fudged sort of altered my perspective of it, but not by much, about half of a point or so. The dramatic parts of the movie were obviously artistic license by the screenwriters in order to drive the points home, and while the scenes were really good, the fact that they weren't true was sort of a bummer to find out.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!!!

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