Movie review by Rashid Irani: Saving Mr Banks is a return to Mary Poppins

A still from the film Saving Mr Banks.

Direction: John Lee Hancock 
Actors: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks
Rating: ****

It’s widely considered one of the crowning achievements in the Walt Disney canon. 

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of their live-action musical fantasy, Mary Poppins, the Mouse House transports us back to a time when the animation titan was struggling to get the film made.

Saving Mr. Banks chronicles the 20-plus years that Walt (as Mr. Disney preferred to be called) spent convincing the British novelist P.L. Travers to sell him the movie rights to her beloved children’s book.

The little-known true story begins in rural Australia, circa 1906, where Travers (Thompson) grew up.

Luckily the bulk of the narrative unfolds in 1961 when the author agreed to fly out to Hollywood to meet with Uncle Walt (Hanks).

Director Hancock adroitly blends whimsy, wry humour and a spoonful of saccharine. 

In one of his more rewarding recent roles, Tom Hanks makes for a pitch-perfect Walt Disney. But it’s Emma Thompson who is truly astonishing as the argumentative Ms. Travers. Inexplicably, she hasn’t even been nominated for this year’s Best Actress Oscar.

Like the heartwarming classic it celebrates, Saving Mr. Banks is what Tinseltown dreams are made of. Enjoy.


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