Review saving-mr-banks-movie-disney

Published on December 30th, 2013 | by Allan Brown


Saving Mr Banks Review


Movie Review: Saving Mr Banks (2013)saving-mr-banks-film-poster

Rating: PG

Running Time: 125 mins

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writers: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith

Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Giamatti, B.J. Novak, Bradley Whitford

Plot: Author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for her classic novel, Mary Poppins.



Movie Review World

Director John Lee Hancock presents a battle of wits between P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and the corporate might of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), in an attempt to bring the obstinate and stubborn author’s Mary Poppins to the screen.
tom hanks as Walt Disney and emma thompson as P.L. Travers in saving mr banksThe narrative focuses on the 1961 tug of war between Walt Disney’s insatiable desire to acquire the rights to adapt Marry Poppins into a film, and Travers’ reluctance to give it. However, with the royalties of her book now all but dry and her own home in financial jeopardy, Travers’ agent insists she at least meets with Walt Disney at his California studios.


After much to-and-fro, Travers eventually and reluctantly succumbs to Walt’s wishes. However, she has one condition; that she will have full control of the page-to-screen adaptation in pre-production. This is the story that drives not only the main narrative but triggers a series of childhood flashback sequences, that intend to give us a deeper insight and understanding to the Authors prickly demeanour and troubled youth, opening the possibility that her deep-seated adoration for her father; Travers Goff (Colin Farrell) is perhaps what lies at the heart of her magical literary masterpiece.

Saving Mr Banks is one of those films that’s bumbling narrative has not only been saved but elevated, given gravitas and direction by mesmerizing and dynamically stunning performances. While Emma Thompson is aided in a wonderful turn by the ever impressive Tom Hanks, it is she in particular that acts as the pillar of acting prowess that supports the entire film.
tom-hanks-takes emma thompsons hand in the movie-saving-mr-banks. movie review worldShe not only showcases her characters prickly presence and sharp tongued manner with ease (which is simply joyous to watch), but offers us with a range of subtleties and a suppressed emotion that present her character in a more tender and delicate light. These touching moments towards the final act between Walt and Travers are truly captivating, honest and deeply emotional as the weight of her past begins to reveal itself as our two stories merge.

While the film sails high on the acting front, it does stumble in a few other areas as previously mentioned. John Lee Hancock has essentially chose to tell two stories, one in the present during the pre-production of Marry Poppins, whilst the other stumbles around P L Travers’ childhood. While this method has worked countless times in past, I feel the transition between the two stories that are told here simultaneously, is at times uneasy, awkward and jarring, slowing the pace of the immediate/present story to a near halt, as we are ripped out of one time period and thrown into the other, away from the main story we are invested in, again and again.

Despite these small reservations, Saving Mr Banks offers enough subtlety and allure in an already iconic story to be one of this year’s cinematic triumphs.

Saving Mr Banks Review Allan Brown


Summary: Despite its structure and pacing issues, John Lee Hancock and Disney present a warm and tender tale of hope that offers one of the finest performances of 2013.


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About the Author

Despite my 9-5 being consumed by the daily duties of an Electrician, Movie Review World serves as a platform for me to share my thoughts, explorations and reflections on one of my biggest passions, film.

4 Responses to Saving Mr Banks Review

  1. I think you liked this one marginally more than me but certainly agree with what you’ve picked out. Very strong performances anchored by Emma Thompson in the present. Didn’t think the trips down memory lane worked anywhere near as well but the Travers/Disney clashes more than made up for it.

    • Allan Brown says:

      Absolutely. I think a different approach to telling Travers backstory could have proved hugely beneficial in the pacing of the film. Still there was a great deal to like, I could have sat and watched Disney and Travers bicker for 2 hours easily.

  2. Mark Walker says:

    Good review, my man. I’m honestly not that drawn to this film but your review has made me reconsider.

    • Allan Brown says:

      Its not without its issues, namely the backstory arc but as stated, the performances from Hanks and especially Thompson more than make up for it.

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