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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 20, 2013
As always, no spoilers whatsoever in this review because that's just plain inconsiderate.

Saving Mr. Banks is a dual narrative portrait of the author of Mary Poppins and the creative team at Walt Disney that worked to bring it to the big screen. In one thread (1961) we have the curmudgeonly author behaving like a stark raving... well, curmudgeon as she tries to exert control over the creative process. In the other thread (1906, Australia) we unwind the story of her grim childhood that makes her a curmudgeon in the first place.

This movie has a lot of things to say not the least of which is to cast an entirely different light that beloved American classic of childhood. Mary Poppins ain't quite what you think it's about as a kid (but then what good movie IS what you think it's about when you're a kid). It's also a powerful demonstration of how our childhood influences us as adults sometimes in ways that we don't quite grasp until we look back on them from a great distance.

It's also interesting to see behind the curtain of the creative process. Avoiding spoilers, the author's primary objection is that Mary Poppins and the Banks family have become, in truth, her family over the years and sharing that vision and letting someone else have a piece of them is frightfully difficult. It does make a person wonder if all authors have this same struggle when crossing mediums.

Lastly, I'm a sucker for sentiment but this movie had the audience blowing its nose and audibly sniffing for a good hour. It's an incredibly intimate portrait. However, the kids won't think much of it and the group in the theatre with me was 50+ for the most part. All that said, highly recommended for anyone with a sentimental streak. Best movie I've seen in a month or more.

Oh, and the patient who sit through the credits will be treated to some photos from the movie's production and a section of the recorded conversations between the author and the production cast.

PS: It is always my endeavor to provide helpful reviews. If you find my review helpful then I'm glad! If you do not, then please leave me a comment indicating what you want to know and I'll be sure to do better next time.
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on June 23, 2017
As always Disney makes a story sweeter and nicer than it really is. After doing some research I found that the writer of Mary Poppins was a very very very difficult person to be around. The nasty attitude at the beginning of the movie in real life was her being nice. At the end of the movie when the writer was supposed to have a soft heart, as they say that's what dreams are made of. Disney of course displayed people being better than they are and that dreams really can come true. A wonderful movie. I wish now, I didn't know the truth. The movie is so wonderful and hopeful.
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VINE VOICEon March 30, 2014
Saving Mr. Banks is a heartwarming movie that most likely may have an affect on any avid fan of the Walt Disney genre of films that have had a memorable movie soundtrack. One can say that is the rough cut and behind the story film based upon the composing and writing of the soundtrack of the Mary Poppins film inspired by author P.L. Travers' (Emma Thompson) story of the beloved nanny. Tom Hanks plays the legendary Walt Disney and Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak play the Sherman brothers and Bradley Whitford the conductor and songwriters that romp through the songs and Paul Giamatti the Disney assistant and valet to Travers. But the most thought provoking part about the film is the biographical elements of the story of Mary Poppins that parallel with Travers' life and her family.

The film is told in flashbacks from 1908 to around 1961 to Beverly Hills to the outback of Travers' childhood and the gut-wrenching moments centering upon her father played by Colin Farell. Viewers may presume by the end of the film that the inspiration of Mary Poppins originated from Travers's life and Mr. Banks, a tinge of her father's tease that she remembered when he would shave. Aside from the ironic moments of the film, there are the humorous and tongue in cheek ones of playfulness and sentimental journeys through the songs of Mary Poppins, "A Spoon full of Sugar," recreations of the innocent time period with the nostalgic costumes and props dating back to the early 1960s, especially a trip that Travers was forced to take to Disneyland five years after its opening. Since this was Tom Hanks' production he adds the authenticity to a tee from Disney's suit to his office.

Saving Mr. Banks can be described with many enchanting descriptions because of how it associates with the most revered and creative geniuses in popular culture. Like a Disney film but with a back story, or more so two stories and films in one, do not be surprise if the concluding scenes will tug at the heart strings or have one grabbing for a tissue.
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on April 23, 2014
I am a huge Disney fan and I wanted to see this movie because it's a "history lesson" of how the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins came to be. This movie follows two storylines. One storyline is the "present day" of the film set in 1961 and the other storyline is set in 1906. We find out quickly that these two storylines match up with each other and most importantly throughout the movie we find out exactly how the story of Mary Poppins came to be. There were very sad and uncomfortable parts towards the end of the movie but they needed to be shown in order to explain the title of the movie.

Although I felt Tom Hanks provided the right "look" of Walt Disney I did feel at times it was hard to believe he was Walt Disney himself given that Tom Hanks has a very recognizable talk and laugh. Emma Thompson gave a great performance but I did feel she was a bit young to be playing the part of a 62 year old. I did enjoy that they incorporated Tom Hanks heavily coughing several times throughout the movie because Disney died several years later after this story from lung cancer. They don't actually show him smoking but there's one scene he makes a reference to that. It's a morbid tidbit but I was actually somewhat happy to see that little Disney trivia included within the movie.

I recommend this to any Disney history fan. This movie can be emotional at times so I don't recommend it to the younger children. There's a scene where they go to the Disneyland theme park so if you like the theme park you might find this movie interesting for that. If you are a Mary Poppins fan I think you'll love this movie as well as it gives more backstory and an inside look on how the movie came to be.
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on May 23, 2017
I thought this film was very interesting. I had no idea that Mary Poppins movie was so difficult to bring to life. It does make a lot of sense now as to how the characters came to be. Although I thought this film was slow in parts and it is definitely depressing at times, it was very well acted and I liked the story line. More surprising to me, however, was that this actually made me cry realizing what Mrs. Travers must have been feeling as an adult thinking of her own father. Very well done. Not a kids movie, this is definitely for adults.
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on March 23, 2014
See this movie. "Saving Mr. Banks" will make you laugh, cry, and think... without any space aliens, rogue cops, or explosions! You will also interpret much more into "Mary Poppins" the next time you see it.

It is a pleasure to see a wonderfully written, cast, and filmed story set in the studio during some of its golden years. Happily, the depiction of the early 1960's opts for accuracy, not caricature. Tom Hanks underplays Walt in this movie and his screen time is too short. However, what we do get to see is a joy.

Emma Thompson surely deserved an Academy Award for her role as Mrs. Travers. All the other characters on the screen become her foils. At first viewing, the story seems simple, but beneath the surface is a great deal of subtlety and irony. Much is conveyed non-verbally, both in the flashbacks and 60's scenes.

The screenwriters use their best devices to justify, humanize, and sympathize Mrs. Travers. But viewers who live on a day to day basis with a man or woman with an attitude like P.L. Travers in the next cubicle may squirm in their seats.

How does one respond to the triumphs and tragedies of one's own life? Many of us know persons of limited means who are gracious, while others who receive great opportunities choose to be negative. This story fascinates not because it is unique, but because of its eternal relevance.
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on March 28, 2017
I was very surprised at just how difficult it was to get Mary Poppins made. P. L. Travers was a real witch with a "b" at first but later you find out why. It was hard to watch just how nasty she was, I really got to hate her, until I saw why she was the way she was about her book. Excellent performances by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks! Highly recommend!!
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This is a very difficult Movie to review because it is actually a dual review. On the one hand you are reviewing the story line, character development, and acting and on the other hand you are reviewing what the movie can do to your perceptions. So, first to the movie aspect of the review:

All of the actors in this movie did a superb job transporting the audience into a real tear jerker of a story. There is no way around the fact that this story tells a very compelling human drama and then deals with how we adjust our emotional stability and preservation of memories by trying to recast things in a better light.

From an informational standpoint, this movie does an excellent job of showing some of the challenges that converting a book into a movie can entail and how the challenges of life can be transported into an uplifting fictional version of life.

For all of the above, I would definitely rate this movie a 5 star. So, why is it only a 4 star? Frankly, it is because it changes one's perspective about a treasured movie and shows us how different reality and story telling can be. Saying more would take away from the movie and I will not do that. I will simply say that had I known what was in this film, I probably would have passed on viewing it.
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on February 22, 2016
I spontaneously had the urge to buy and watch this view upon it arriving in the mail. Needless, to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish the first and second time I watched it. Well-acted. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson put on a great performance portraying Walt Disney and P. L. Travers respectively. I enjoyed watching the dynamic and development between the two throughout the movie. Furthermore, I'm sure everyone enjoys coherence when it comes to story telling. Seeing the reasons why Mary Poppins was written the way it was in the form of well-timed flashbacks was refreshing and kept my attention. A must-watch for any Disneyphile such as myself and for those who enjoy origin stories.
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on August 4, 2017
I am no movie aficionado by any means but this came highly recommended. The tale is about how long and hard Walt Disney had to court the author of Mary Poppins in order to make the movie. I certainly appreciate Mr. Disney's efforts but this film was too long and tedious for me. I was wondering if the movie would ever end. This may be worth watching once, and only once, if you're a Mary Poppins fan which, having read all of the books as a child, I certainly am!
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