Saving Mr. Banks (2013)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A successful biopic.

You can always find me on the fence when it comes to biopics. Always that cheesy, inspirational and melodramatic bull that gets old after a while. However…I have to admit that when I do like biopics, I tend to really like them. I’ve always had major appreciation for Disney, especially some of the classics when Walt Disney was around, so Saving Mr. Banks definitely looked like a film I could be interested in, and I was sold when I heard Tom Hanks starred as Disney himself. All I can say is that it’s an adventure watching this film, it goes through an emotional roller coaster, yes, but in the best possible way imaginable.

This film stars Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the author and creator of Mary Poppins. Now, you can argue that this film is about Walt Disney trying to get film rights to make a film adaptation for her book, or you can argue that the film is completely about the author’s childhood and how she got to this point, and you’d be right on both accounts. When we meet her, P.L. Travers is a cranky old hoot that hates the world. She has rejected Disney for twenty years on this issue, and only now is she humoring him as he tries to get her to accept the film. We don’t know exactly why she’s cranky either. That’s something we have to learn through her complicated past.

There are practically two completely different movies going on at the same time, and it’s weird because they complement each other so well as the film progresses. I’ll be honest though, it took me a while to even appreciate the flashbacks. I was enjoying the Disney story so much that I didn’t care about her childhood, but once I figured out how monumentally integral it was to the story, the movie got really good. I mean really good really fast because the film gets into really deep issues without it being overbearing like other biopics. No, this was more subtle and slightly mysterious as we piece together this girl’s life with her father, who she had a very strong bond with – regardless of what other people thought of him.

It tugs on your emotions through and through, because one minute you’re laughing at some really funny stuff from a cranky old hoot who’s absolutely serious all of the time, and the next minute you might be dabbing your eyes at some strong emotional performances by…well…everyone, really, but especially Emma Thompson. That gal might surprise you in this flick. Now, I’ve heard arguments that this is Tom Hanks’s best performance of 2013, but it doesn’t even touch Captain Phillips. It was good, sure, the man showed his range in the other film, I’m sorry. As far as phenomenal acting goes in Saving Mr. Banks, I’ll have to stick to Emma, Colin Farrell (he blew my mind), Ruth Wilson, and Paul Giamatti. Hanks did good, very good, but let’s be honest – this was a film about the author’s life.

As far as surprising things go in general, I found it really cool that this is the first time Walt Disney has ever been portrayed in a movie, and I do think Tom Hanks deserved the right to play such an iconic man in film history. I don’t think I was convinced with the role as much I should have been, but he did a fine, fine job.

The Good:

Saving Mr. Banks is honestly a remarkable feature film worthy of a Disney title. The emotions it goes through, with the comedy and drama, are approached with honesty and good intention. By bringing the viewer into the author’s childhood, we get to see a side of Mary Poppins that we never have before, and it’s truly a good side. The performances by Thompson and Hanks are powerful as well, making this an overall excellent flick.

The Bad:

Some people aren’t a big fan of films pulling a bi-polar and jumping from good emotion to bad over and over again, which in all honesty, this film is a little guilty of – but it’s for good reason. Also, giving Tom Hanks a mustache doesn’t help the fact that he doesn’t really look like Disney in the end…but seriously, I lean more towards the good on this one, no worries.

Memorable Quote:

Travers Goff:

Winds in the east
Mist coming in
Like something is brewing
About to begin
Can’t put me finger
On what lies in store
But I feel what’s to happen
All happened before.

One thought on “Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

  1. A lot better than most of the sentimental, sappy biopics we usually see come out during Oscar season, which is why it’s a shame that the Academy didn’t quite like it as much. Good review Dave.


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