Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Movie Review: "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013)

During my Christmas vacation, I saw two movies which are based on true stories, Saving Mr. Banks American Hustle. These are very different movies (and in the case of American Hustle, very different from the story its based on). This is my review of Saving Mr. Banks directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Emma Thompson & Tom Hanks.

Saving Mr. Banks is the story about the development of the classic Disney musical Mary Poppins and Walt Disney's (played by Hanks) attempts to obtain the movie rights for P.L. Travers (played by Thompson) classic children's stories about Mary Poppins. Disney has been pursuing the movie rights for 20 years in order to fulfill a promise he made to his daughters, but Travers has refused to budge in giving him those rights. But in 1961, she's broke and relents by agreeing to come to Los Angeles to negotiate with Disney. She also begins working with Disney's screenwriter for Mary Poppins Don DaGradi (played by Bradley Whitford) and the movie's music composers, brothers Richard & Robert Sherman (played respectively by Jason Schwartzman & B.J. Novak).

To call Travers difficult to work with would be far too nice. To call her a stuffy, stuck-up, and humorless pain-in-the-ass would be much more accurate. She hates LA and it's cheery & sunny atmosphere, she doesn't like cheerful & optimistic people (especially Disney), she doesn't like the script for the movie, and she doesn't like how Poppins is being portrayed in such a whimsical & sentimental fashion. She is also harboring some serious scars from her childhood in Australia, where she lived with her father (played by Colin Farrell) & her mother (played by Ruth Wilson) and this eventually became the inspiration for Mary Poppins. As production of the movie progresses, she does eventually start to loosen & lighten up a bit and she develops a very sweet relationship with her chauffeur Ralph (played by Paul Giamatti). Her relationship with Disney is what ultimately results in the movie finally being made.

This movie is great and it is a tragedy that it was not nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. It's even more tragic that Thompson was not nominated for a Best Actress Oscar because she plays Travers perfectly, which must have been quite challenging for her as an actress. She carries this movie unlike many actresses can as this movie is truly about Travers. Tom Hanks rarely plays a supporting role in a movie, but in this case, he does and he does a great job doing so. The writing, directing & film-making in general are good but the performances are what truly make this movie great as every single role is perfectly cast & wonderfully performed.

We live in an era of over-the-top movies with a lot of sex, violence, vulgarity, etc. that get a lot of attention and this is not one of those movies, as it is wholesome & just flat out wonderful. I really enjoyed this movie...9.0/10 stars

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