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Saving Mr. Banks

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PG-13
2013

Saving Mr. Banks is a biographical drama film released in 2013 which centers around the story of how the popular children's novel, Mary Poppins, was adapted into a highly successful musical film by Walt Disney studios in the 1960s. Despite being a family-friendly movie, Saving Mr. Banks carries a deep emotional resonance and explores some of the harsher realities of life, including alcoholism, childhood trauma, and mental health issues.

Directed by John Lee Hancock, the movie features a star-studded cast, including Emma Thompson in the leading role of P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, and Tom Hanks, who portrays the legendary Walt Disney. Broadway actress Annie Rose Buckley makes her big-screen debut as the young P.L. Travers, as the story moves back and forth between her troubled childhood in Australia and her tense encounters with the Hollywood executives who are determined to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen.

The film opens with Travers reluctantly agreeing to meet with Disney in his California studio, after years of rejecting his offers to buy the film rights to her beloved novel. She is a guarded, inscrutable figure, cautious about revealing too much of herself to the charismatic and garrulous Walt Disney. As she begins to read the screenplay and listen to the songs that have been written for the film, however, she finds herself increasingly disturbed by what she sees as a shoddy, sentimental approach to her characters.

Travers grows more and more vocal in her criticisms of the film, refusing to allow dancing penguins, brash American accents, and other elements that deviate from her strict vision. The producers, screenwriters, and songwriters grow frustrated with her demands and her unyielding attachment to the original text; but they soon come to realize that her passion for the story stems from something much deeper than mere literary principle.

As the narrative flashes back to Travers' childhood in Queensland, we learn more about the life experiences that shaped her writing. Her father (played by Colin Farrell) was an alcoholic, who struggled to keep the family afloat while battling his own demons. P.L. Travers, then known as Ginty, was a precocious and imaginative young girl, who developed a deep emotional attachment to her father, a failed banker and dreamer who brought magic into her life through his tall tales and imaginative games.

The scenes of Travers' Australian upbringing are some of the most affecting in the film, as we see how her father's decline and eventual death scarred her for life, and how the themes of loss, redemption, and imaginative escape that pervade Mary Poppins were shaped by these early experiences.

As the narrative moves back to the Hollywood setting, we see Travers' guarded exterior beginning to crack under the pressure of the filmmakers' relentless enthusiasm. Tom Hanks' portrayal of Disney balances charm and steeliness in equal measure, as he attempts to win over the prickly author and convince her to put her trust in the studio's vision for her characters.

The film culminates in a poignant, cathartic final scene, where P.L. Travers finally comes to terms with her ghosts and allows herself to be moved by the power of cinema and the magic of her own imagination. The chemistry between Thompson and Hanks is excellent throughout, and the supporting cast, including Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak, provide comic relief without detracting from the weighty themes of the film.

Overall, Saving Mr. Banks is a moving and beautifully crafted tribute to the art of storytelling, the power of cinema, and the importance of holding onto one's own artistic integrity. It deftly weaves together comic, tragic, and fantastical elements, and provides a nuanced and empathetic portrayal of an author struggling to protect her own legacy while opening herself up to the transformative power of collaboration and compromise. Whether you're a fan of Mary Poppins or simply appreciate well-crafted, emotionally resonant storytelling, this film is not to be missed.

Saving Mr. Banks is a Comedy, Drama, History movie released in 2013. It has a runtime of 126 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 65.

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Where can I stream Saving Mr. Banks movie online? Saving Mr. Banks is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Disney+, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Saving Mr. Banks for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.5/10
65/100
Director
John Lee Hancock
Stars
Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Ruth Wilson, B. J. Novak
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