Thursday, January 2, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks: A Review

Happy New Year, Disney Freaks!  Here’s to a great 2014!

Video from YouTube. The Disney Freak’s Blog original video.

So to quickly address two points I made in the above video:
  • Yes, The Disney Freak’s Blog is proud to announce its affiliation with Destinations in Florida!  Destinations in Florida is an authorized Disney vacation planner, and my agent Jennifer Hardy would love to help you plan your next Disney adventure!  I’m excited for this next leg of my journey in the blogging world, and I’m so glad you all are along for the ride.  To get a free quote, just click the banners either at the top of my blog or the bottom.
  • Bestie and her family took me to see “Saving Mr. Banks” on Friday, and while I talked a bit about the movie in the video, I also mentioned I would write a more in-depth review here at the actual Blog.
So ready or not, here we go.  Find more after the jump.

“Saving Mr. Banks” is about how P.L. Travers gave Disney the rights to her books on Mary Poppins.  At the start of the movie, Travers (Emma Thompson) is running out of money so her agent is pressing her to sign the rights to Disney.  She agrees to fly to LA and see what Disney has in mind but knows she has the final say.  Disney and Travers have already had a 20 year conversation over the possibility of a Mary Poppins film, so Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) is ready to end it all and for Travers to sign the rights over to him.  Throughout the film, Disney and Travers look back upon their childhoods and how those in their past shaped who they are.

Now that you’ve got the basic storyline, let’s look a little deeper.

First off, the acting is phenomenal.  Emma Thompson blows you away as P.L. Travers.  From the moment you see her, you know she’s the kind of person who’s not going to let go of what she loves without a fight.  Honestly, I don’t know how she stayed in character and kept that I-mean-serious-business frown ever on her face.  (Oscar, maybe?)

Travers is a character you both love and hate.  You love her for being strong and not giving up what she loves so easily.  But you hate how self-centered and harsh her words are.  Yet at the same time, you root for her along her journey to keep Mary Poppins just as Travers knows her.  Throughout the film, I wanted to both hug and slap Travers.  That sounds mean, but it was a good thing.  She’s a complex character, and you see her begin to soften and show just why she’s so tense about Mary Poppins and the Banks family.

Tom Hanks as Disney is also very good.  But while Hanks did a fantasmic job as Disney, that’s just it: he’s Tom Hanks, not Walt Disney.  I personally had some trouble suspending my belief.  I’ve seen so many clips of Walt that every time I saw Hanks, I kept thinking, “Forrest Gump,” and had to really forget that.  But this is a personal issue, so I don’t think any of you should have any problem watching Hanks’ exceptional portrayal of the storyteller we all love.

The side characters were also each amazing.  The Sherman Brothers made me squeal with Disney Freak delight every single time they appeared onscreen.  Travers’ driver Ralph is one of the best side characters I have ever seen.  I got teary-eyed when he (SPOILER) showed up to drive Travers to the movie premiere.

And then there’s Travers family from her childhood.  Again, the acting was amazing for each character. 


During the film, I began to anticipate the flashbacks because I found Travers’ father so intriguing.  Travers Goff, her father, does so much to encourage his daughter’s imagination and yet he’s failing in life as an alcoholic.  This is where the film’s PG-13 rating comes into play.  There are no intense drunken scenes, but children may be confused and intimidated by Goff’s behavior and eventual death.  There is also an intense and frightening scene involving Travers’ mother in a trance-like state.  Even I was at the edge of my seat, heart pounding.

The memories of her father weigh on the grown-up Travers, who’s afraid of letting down her father once again.  But eventually she does learn how to save Mr. Banks (and free her father).

Just a quick note about the music: absolutely beautiful.  There are hints of the music from Mary Poppins, but most of the music is original and simply wonderful to listen to.  I can’t wait to add the soundtrack to my library.

Overall, I give Saving Mr. Banks five Mickey Mouse stars out of five. 


Find the time to see it in theaters or wait till it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, but definitely see it if you can.

Trust me, you’ll never appreciate Mary Poppins the same way again.


  1. I'm very excited for our new partnership too! I love your review and agree with most of it. I see an Oscar for Emma and I too had a hard time seeing Walt and not Tom playing Walt. This is definitely NOT a kids movie with the magnitude background storyline. I couldn't wait for the flashbacks to see what happened to harden this sweet loving little girl. The scene with her mom had me bawling my eyes out! Overall I see best actress nomination and soundtrack/score nomination.

    1. :D
      Awesome! Yeah, I really really think Emma deserves an Oscar. Haha yay, I wasn't the only one! ;) Oh yes, definitely not. Keep your young Mary Poppins lovers at home. Same same! I was so curious about her past and how it shaped her, and I couldn't wait especially to understand her problem with pears. I think I was a bit too shocked to cry haha. Totally agree!

  2. That’s pretty cool sharing! I love your writing style. Well Florida is my most favorite place to enjoy the vacations every year. Due to this reason for the upcoming summer vacations I’m going to plan bus tours to disney world Florida with my family. However, thanks to organizer who make it easy for us. Now we fell free and ready to go Disneyworld to get lots of fun.


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