Saving Mr. Banks

I was privileged to attend an advance screening of Saving Mr. Banks last week and I have to admit, staying home on that rainy night during this busy season was tempting.  But we talk a lot about good mental health on this blog, and going to this movie was a good mental health choice for me.

I’m so glad I opted to attend this depiction of the back story of author P. L. Travers’ negotiations with Walt Disney over the rights and production of her book, Mary Poppins.   As a movie-goer I was enthralled by the performances of Emma Thompson (Travers) and Tom Hanks (Disney) although critics contend the Disney/Travers relationship in real life was less amiable and far more complex.

As a writer, the love story between an author and her characters was spot-on. It took some twenty years of begging and cajoling on Disney’s part to get Travers to sign over the movie rights.  Granted this is a bit extreme, but Travers’ attachment to her story and her characters rings true.  And the extent to which writers use story to work through or perhaps to work unwittingly around the tragedies in their own lives was handled superbly.  Through expertly executed flashbacks we learn that Mr. Banks, the character in the book whom fictional nanny Mary Poppins comes to aid, was indeed based on Travers’ own father.

The real drama unfolds as Travers experiences relief and release from the hold her father’s life has on her.  While idolizing his whimsical and imaginative nature, she is haunted by his promise “never to leave her” and his battle with the bottle that likely led to his early death.  Disney is portrayed in the movie in somewhat of an armchair psychologist mode, using his bumpy relationship with his own father to break through Travers’ curmudgeonly, uncompromising shell.  Whether historically accurate or not, it brings the story to a very Disney-like, satisfying conclusion.

You may need a box of Kleenex when you see this movie, due out to the general public December 20th.  But writers, you’ll get a chuckle out of this throw back to a bygone (if ever) era.  When was the last time your agent made a house call to remind you that your royalties had run out and that it is way past time to sign that movie deal?

I don’t pretend to be an expert on movies, but if you want to see a fascinating story based on facts and performed by a stellar cast, go see Saving Mr. Banks.  It is quite Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!



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Saving Mr. Banks — 7 Comments

  1. There is talk about this film and I am glad to hear your take on it. As a writer, I do look forward to seeing it. And to prepare for the time when the agent comes knocking . . . !
    Also, I’m loving this time of Advent which I am experiencing so differently this year. Advent–the days of waiting for the coming of the Christ into our world; so much more than preparing for gift giving, food prep, decorating. All that is a lovely part of it, but the real thing is the Advent of Jesus’ arrival here. That is celebration-worthy!

  2. Thanks, Drew! I hope you do see it. You would both enjoy. And thanks for leaving a comment. I know I have readers, but I’ve been hoping for more commenters, so drop in again!

    Lynn, I will be interested in your take on the movie when you see it. And so well put about Advent. Our Sunday School class dwelt on just that topic yesterday, waiting and watching in silent, contemplative anticipation.

  3. Thank you, Linda…Yours is a wonderful review, and excellent write-up of the movie, Saving Mr.Banks. I will look forward to seeing it. I also look forward to reading your book. I am following you by email for notifications of new postings. Thank you for writing. Blessings, Carol

    • Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words, Carol. It sounds like we have a lot in common….poetry, ministry, etc. I will look forward to hearing fro you again. And I like your blog, too!


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