movies: saving mr banks

saving mr banks - where her book ended, their story began
Saving Mr Banks is further proof that Emma Thompson can do just about anything.

She takes the character of Mary Poppins creator, P.L. Travers, who could very easily have been someone it was hard to connect with or else easily become a caricature and make her both charming and funny.

From the first moment she appears on screen and with the simple widening of her eyes, she put in an amazing performance.

Tom Hanks does a great job as Walt Disney, but it's more of an understated performance, plus he's playing a character that more people are aware of him from the TV shows he used to host (it was very often essentially Sunday night viewing when I was growing up).

The character that was both the biggest surprise and, to a certain extent, felt like the most emotionally satisfying relationship Travers has in the movie was Paul Giamatti as her chauffeur. Giamatti's role isn't a huge one, but it has the best arc, especially in relation to Thompson's character.

Only half of the movie is the story of Travers and Disney's relationship and the adaptation of her book into the movie. The other half is flashbacks to Travers childhood in rural Queensland and her relationship with her father.

And although it was nice that all of the actors in those scenes had authentic Australian accents (or were dubbed by Australian actors later), the landscape and architecture screamed "California" and "Hollywood backlot", not Australia. It did pull me out of those scenes a little to be honest.

I didn't actually realise that Colin Farrell was playing her father, and he does a really good job... but the flashback sequences do occasionally either drag slightly or seem a little unnecessary... and although the later scenes do feature the woman who would inspire Mary Poppins, the movie doesn't really show why the young Travers has such a connection to her.

I did wonder though whether the movie would have been as strong without the flashback sequences, and I'm honestly not sure. I would have liked to see even more of Thompson's performance though, as she really is excellent.

And I won't lie... I did roll more than a few tears towards the end of the movie.

yani's rating: 4 carpet bags out of 5

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