In recent years, there have been some very good films that document the making of popular films. "My Week with Marilyn" shows just how insecure the blonde beauty was. "Hitchcock" notes the debt the legendary director owed to his talented wife. This month, "Saving Mr. Banks" offers a glimpse into the strained relationship between P.L. Travers and Walt Disney.
"Saving Mr. Banks" tells the story of how P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) was persuaded by Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) to get the film rights to her book franchise "Mary Poppins." The movie is mostly set in 1961. For years, Walt has been unsuccessfully asking Travers for the rights to her books. Eventually, she ran into financial problems and agreed to fly to Los Angeles to meet Walt Disney. Travers said she would allow the film to be made if she had control over the whole movie. As the writers are preparing the story, they find Travers is a brash and difficult collaborator. As she is working with them, she is haunted by her rough childhood. She grew up with an alcoholic dad (played by Colin Farrell), and her family's tumultuous life in Australia inspired her to write "Mary Poppins."
Emma Thompson has earned Oscar buzz for her performance. She deserves it as she shows her character is condescending, but also someone who is ultimately won over by the Disney studio. Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as Walt Disney. Colin Farrell is very good as the alcoholic father who still loves his family. Paul Giamatti is also excellent. He plays Travers's upbeat driver in Los Angeles.
"Saving Mr. Banks" is a very well-made movie. "Mary Poppins" fans will enjoy this behind the scenes look at the making of the classic film.