Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Film Review: Saving Mr Banks

I don't normally write film reviews, but I adored this film so much that I felt the need to write about it, and to tell you all to go and see it!

Mary Poppins will forever be one of my favourite films; my sister's and my party trick is an impressive recital of Jolly Holiday, animal voices and all! I'm ashamed to admit that I have never had chance to read the original stories, although rest assured that I intend to rectify that very soon. As Tom Hanks' Walt Disney is keen to emphasise Mary Poppins is a character that belongs to everyone, and to tamper with her is a brave decision, one that definitely paid off!

The two strands of the plot of Saving Mr Banks -the battle of wills between Travers and Disney and Travers' childhood in Australia - complement each other perfectly, and the parallels between Travers' upbringing and the plot of Mary Poppins are difficult to ignore; it is no wonder that she was so protective of her work.

As for Emma Thompson, I could go on forever about how amazing she is. I was lucky enough to attend a talk given by her at Cheltenham Literature Festival last October about her new Peter Rabbit books (which are wonderful by the way). She was brilliant, and I was so in awe of her that I couldn't muster up the courage to go to the book signing afterwards to meet her- after all they say never to meet your idols. I am seriously regretting it! Her portrayal of P. L Travers was nothing short of spot on, and I hope that the Oscar Committee give her the recognition that she deserves. (If her Golden Globe shenanigans are anything to go by then the Academy Awards will definitely benefit from her presence!)

Colin Farrell surprised  me; from all of the promo that I had seen before the film I wasn't expecting to be as moved by his performance as I was. Indeed the whole film was a lot more emotional than I was expecting, and I was very close to tears at one point. The casting was perfect, from Paul Giamatti as Travers' lovable driver to Ruth Wilson as her mother - an actress whom I have admired since her days playing Jane Eyre alongside Toby Stephens' brooding Mr Rochester.

Just as P.L Travers had to trust Walt Disney with her beloved Mary Poppins books, I had to trust Disney with my beloved Mary Poppins film. I knew that it would be safe in their hands, especially when you factor Thompson and Hanks into the equation! Yet I couldn't help but worry that the truth would somehow tarnish the unequivocal joy surrounding the film (the very thing that Travers hated), especially as other reviewers have said that they will never watch it in the same way again. I realise now though that this is a positive thing; knowing the background to Mary Poppins, to the character, and to Travers herself has given it an added depth and significance, and left me with a new found respect for Mr Banks and the legacy that he represents.

5/5 stars - Not just for Poppins fans (although who isn't!?), this film is worth watching for Emma Thompson's performance alone; and just like in the original film, you will be left with the undeniable urge to 'go fly a kite.'


1 comment:

  1. I have to confess to also loving this movie, I am not a fan of all things Disney and it does bother me that it is a rather selective and rose coloured version of the story but despite that I was seduced by the quality of the script and the performances, all of which were excellent. I am also a huge fan of Emma Thompson. I agree totally that everyone should see this movie, it is excellent.

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