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Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks' Doesn't Need Any Saving - It's Perfect!

December 12th, 2013 8:45pm EST

Saving Mr. Banks
How a person feels about a particular film has nothing to do with whether it's good or bad; whether the critics love it or hate it or what your friends say about it. It's your own personal experience that counts.

Some films just work for you and others don't. It's the same with art, music, and theatre - no matter how much you argue with someone over the merits of a certain film - it's not going to change the kind of experience you have.

That point being made, I absolutely loved every second of 'Saving Mr. Banks' directed by John Lee Hancock ('The Blindside'). From the brilliant performances of Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell - to the beautiful story about the creative process and the relationships between the characters - this film worked for me on every level.

'Saving Mr. Banks' written by Sue Smith and Kelly Marcel is the story about two real people and a fictional one. Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and the character she created...Miss Mary Poppins, nanny extraordinaire.

For 20 years, Disney tried unsuccessfully to get the rights to the Mary Poppins books from its author P. L. Travers. Miss Travers absolutely hated Mr. D along with every cartoon character his studio ever created. On top of that, she despised musicals.

But in 1964, Travers was in dire financial straits and if she didn't do something quickly, she would lose her beloved home. The author had no choice but to travel to Los Angeles and meet with Disney.

'Saving Mr. Banks' is not only the story of Travers and Disney's difficult relationship… it's also a movie about the making of a movie - the Mary Poppins movie - which starred Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews. BTW: Travers also hated Dick Van Dyke.

Throughout her stay, Travers treated Disney and everyone else involved with the production - including 'Poppins' screenwriter, Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and the songwriters, the Sherman brothers (Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak) - with utter disdain and disrespect.

The only person, Travers seemed to tolerate was her chauffeur, Ralph (Paul Giamatti), who actually is a made up character. According to the screenwriter, he was created in order for the audience to see Traver's vulnerable side.

'Saving Mr. Banks' cuts between Travers' past and present. She grew up in Australia, where she lived with her mother and her alcoholic father, Travers Goff (Colin Farrell); a man the author deeply loved even though he constantly disappointed her.

It was Travers' traumatic and painful childhood that was the inspiration for all of the Mary Poppins books, and why she was so fiercely determined to hang on to them.

This is one of the best films of 2013 and I gave 'Saving Mr. Banks' which opens in theatres, Friday December 13, 2013 five bagels out of five.

John, believe it or not gave it the same score.

Check out our video for my guest and more of my thoughts.
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Related: Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks, Tom Hanks, Walt Disney, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Reviews, Video, Columns, Two Jews On Film, Funny

Photo Credits: Disney

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