Monday, 9 December 2013

REVIEW: Saving Mr Banks

Last week, I managed to pop to the cinema to see Saving Mr Banks... I'm very lucky to live near a lovely (and cheap) cinema (adult ticket, small popcorn and bottle of water for £5.50? Thank you very much!) and a unusual Monday off work in which to enjoy a quiet afternoon enjoying a wonderful story.

I'll start with prefacing this with some of the discussions about the film I've been involved with over at the DIS Boards. Some of them have expressed surprise that Disney have made this film, as "nobody knows Mary Poppins anymore"... as a Brit, I was happy to defend a national icon, as Mary Poppins is still well known here (guest spot in the London 2012 opening ceremony anyone?). The question being "are there enough people interested in the story behind the film to make it worth while?" and I guess the answer depends on what makes a film worthwhile. For me, this story was worth telling, and has been done very well.

Mary Poppins
Photo Credit: mydisneyadventures

I must admit I haven't seen Emma Thompson in something I didn't enjoy her performance in, and this was no exception. She was wonderful as Mrs P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, as she dealt with her past, her future and her loathing for Walt Disney's vision for the film of her beloved Mary Poppins. Interwoven with the story of Mrs Travers and Walt Disney's time together in California is recollections from Travers' childhood in Australia, particularly focussing on her father and their relationship. The child actor playing the young Travers was excellent too.

I've heard a fair bit of criticism of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney (interestingly, mostly from Americans who haven't seen it yet as it hasn't opened over there yet!) I'm too young to have seen Walt Disney on TV as a child. He died long before I was born, and I don't think I saw any footage of him until I was an adult. This film was the first time he felt like a real person to me. I don't care if his accent was wrong (I couldn't tell, which apparently makes me "from a different planet" but when they can tell the difference between Yorkshire and Devonshire accents without ever having met someone from both places, I'll start to worry about that). Walt felt real to me for the first time- more than a name or an idea, and more than the sugar-coated, rose-tinted image so many people have tried to present to me.

I was surprised by how moving the film was (I spent a chunk of the last 30 minutes in tears) and also how much I loved the score (it's a long time since I've come back from the cinema and checked out a largely instrumental score on Spotify, but I've listened to this one a few times now.

Overall, I'd rate it

Four stars
Photo Credit: Yuliana

Thank you, Disney, for making this one!

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