"SAVING MR. BANKS" from Disney Studios Motion Pictures opens Fri., Dec. 20, 2013.
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and Jason Schwartzman.
DIRECTOR: John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side").
Synopsis: The extraordinary untold story of how Disney's musical classic "Mary Poppins" made it to the big screen and the tempestuous relationship Walt Disney (Hanks) had with author P.L. Travers (Thompson) that almost derailed the production from ever happening.
Two words have become synonymous with the name Tom Hanks--Oscar buzz. Whether the movie he's in is any good or not matters little. If he's in it it's Oscar buzz for this, Oscar buzz for that--buzz, buzz, buzz. This one happens to be quite good and his version of the head Mouseketeer is excellent. I certainly doesn't hurt that his antagonist is the ultra-talented Emma Thompson.
Mr. Banks is the patriarch in Ms. Travers' story, based on her own father. Disney had to work very hard to negotiate for the rights to her books. Ms. Travers lived a very difficult childhood and had poured her heart and soul into her story. Disney wanted very much to put that story on film and learned much about himself in the process.
Even if Hanks doesn't win an Oscar for this performance, Thompson should. If ever any actress devotes so much of herself to a role, Thompson is better at it. This film is well worth the time and money it takes to see it.