Disney's 2013 film, Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock, truly depicts the side of Disney many may not believe exist, always perceiving it as purely cartoon. Just hearing the names, Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, Colin Farrell as Travers Goff, and little Annie Rose Buckley as Ginty. These names immediately draw one's attention to see these timeless actors recreate the story behind one of the most beloved movies of all time, Mary Poppins. Working with a budget of $35 million, everything about the movie makes it not just a documentary, but a feel-good family movie. A movie with intense scenes, but shows the truth behind people's lives we don't usually like to face. It really hits home. No matter who you are, this movie will draw you in and keep you on an emotional roller coaster until the very end.
As the film begins, it obviously showcases the iconic Walt Disney logo, but then begins right into the story. The concept of the constant back and forth between the present story, and the flashbacks to Travers childhood enhances the story. The constant connections being made between Travers and her childhood keeps the audience fully entranced, as they continue to find more ways that her past is such a huge impact on who she is in the present. Even though it is a documentary, it is told as a story. The story is intriguing and is not just telling us the facts behind the story, it is showing us the story. The actors, director, and everyone work together to make a coherent story that an audience can watch and feel. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, to me, seems a little off. His depiction of the way Walt carries himself and does his work has something missing, or something added that wasn't really there. Other than that tiny component, Hanks' performance was well done. He is caring, and raw. He shares the points of Walt's life in the best way. His voice control and tone when reciting some of the emotional scenes is perfect, he just becomes Walt in the best way he can.
Emma Thompson is beautiful. Her depiction of P.L. Travers is the best performance in the whole film. She embodies the complete soul of Travers. As the film first begins, no words need to be spoken because the body language Thompson uses is just so precise and perfectly executed that she doesn't need words to show who Travers was and how intense her feelings were towards her characters and story, because they are her real life. If I were ignorant towards the idea of these people being actors, I would believe that Thompson was the real life Travers. She is the perfect choice for the part, I can't picture anyone else being able to ground herself so well and become P.L. Travers.
John Lee Hancock definitely created a work of art. His vision of this piece truly shows as a poignant story that is meant to show just how hard it is to let go of the past. The whole underlying issue of this movie is that Travers childhood was cut short by the death of her father, and even at her old age she still is completely impacted by her past. The point that gets across to the audience is so meaningful. Once Travers was able to let go of her past, which was in the form of her beloved Mary Poppins, she became a whole new person. By letting Mary Poppins become a movie, putting her terrible past on the big screen in reality, she had a huge weight lifted off of her shoulders. She continued writing more Mary Poppins books and was living a good life. If everyone could learn from this movie, the world could be such a better place. And, if not the whole world, than at least individual lives could be hugely bettered. Overall, Saving Mr. Banks is an amazing real life account. It has everything a good movie needs, and becomes even better with the amazing performances by amazing actors. The storyline is engaging, and it is a story worth sharing with the world. I give this movie 5/5.