Title – Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Director – John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side)
Cast – Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, B.J Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Ruth Wilson, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths
Plot – Revered British author P.L Travers (Thompson) deals with the internal struggle of giving up her most popular creation to filmmaker Walt Disney (Hanks) who wants to bring her creation to life in a way that not only touches people the world over but Travers herself.
“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination”
Review by Eddie on 21/05/2014
Saving Mr. Banks is one of those films that commits the fateful cinema sin of producing exactly what you expect from it and is therefore entirely and utterly predictable from the film’s start until it’s signposted ending. What makes Hancock’s film a true misfire however is that this predictable journey is centred around one of the most horrendous and unlikeable leading ladies (we are talking Nurse Ratchet like unlikeable here) I’ve been unlucky enough to witness and no matter where her life resolution takes us it’s mighty hard to care.
There were quite a few pundits within the movie industry that bemoaned the fact British actress Emma Thompson missed out on being nominated for an Oscar for her work here, but all I can say is thank goodness for common sense prevailing. Thompson’s role as cantankerous and razor tongued author P.L Travers may be close to the real life thing but it doesn’t enhance the fact all Thompson had to do was look sour, be ungrateful and generally be rude to everyone and anything, an acting feat that can’t be overly hard to pull off. Surrounded by solid support everywhere you look, Travers overshadows all other players thanks to her cancerous hatred towards most things in her life and it is supposed to be OK because she has daddy issues? That is also where Saving Mr. Banks fails.
Giving audiences an inside look into the authors troubled childhood in Australia is a nice touch but the way in which it is structured, through flashbacks featuring a questionably acting Colin Farrell and later on Australia’s very own (cantankerous and rude in real life) actor Rachel Griffiths, is a play by the filmmakers that feels gimmicky and misused. It’s clear that Traver’s childhood wasn’t a fairy tale but it’s also clear that it doesn’t give her an excuse to be the lady she was and doesn’t justify a life of frequent rudeness. The film does succeed in showing us again why Mary Poppins is such a fine cinematic classic with raucous rendition of songs a highlight, and it’s nice to see Hanks enjoying himself as Mr. Disney but you wouldn’t say it’s one of his crowning achievements.
Filmed with an overall air of TV movie quality and with a script that often fails to justify a reason for us to be spending such a large portion of our time with a sour old lady, Saving Mr. Banks greatest achievement is making the audience wish they were watching Mary Poppins instead; a film filled with wonder, joy, characters we care for and a sense of originality which is virtually all the things Saving Mr. Banks doesn’t have.
2 cups of tea out of 5