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Author: JamesBrown Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 63055  
Subject: Saving Mr. Banks Date: 12/28/2013 9:49 AM
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A movie about the making of a movie, namely Mary Poppins, my wife's favorite movie. The story features Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney who sweet talks, cajoles, pleads with, and comes just short of bullying Mrs. P.L. Travers, played by Emma Watson, in signing over the rights to her children's novels to Disney Studios.

I've long known that Mrs. Travers did not care for the Disney-fication of her story, and anyone reading the original novel will be surprised to see that Traver's Mary Poppins was far from the prim, proper, yet ultimately sunny character embodied by Julie Andrews. But this movie has Mrs. Travers portrayed as the Ultimate Pessimist, not just disagreeing with another man's creative methodology. Instead, she practically hates everything, from sunshine to fresh fruit. Why?

To answer that, the movie interweaves flashbacks from her childhood in Australia, where her father (Collin Farrell)--whom she adores--lets his fondness for the bottle drag his family into further and more dire straits. Child Travers is an imaginative and charming little girl who learns that life can have sharp edges, and presumably that's what turned the Adult Travers into the small, blunt, sour woman.

But the movie ends on a positive note. Disney figures out that the key character in Traver's novels is not Mary Poppins but another character, and when he shows her how well treats that character in his movie, she softens a little, enough to sign over the rights, to relent to the animation sequences, and even to attend the world premiere of Mary Poppins in Hollywood.

Despite an excellent supporting cast--Paul Giamatti especially, as the patient driver assigned to escort Mrs. Travers around Hollywood and quietly reveal that there's more to life than brittle propriety--Saving Mr. Banks is a small but charming movie. It shows off a little bit of Silver Age Hollywood, and Tom Hanks seems to enjoy playing the kindly fatherly role of Uncle Walt.
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