OPINION: Saving Mr Banks. Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell; directed by John Lee Hancock
In 1962, P L Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins series of books about a magic nanny, is trying her best to keep afloat while avoiding the courting of Walt Disney for the rights to her beloved character.
In a last-ditch effort, Walt Disney flies Mrs Travers from England to Los Angeles to try to woo the rights from her.
Unfortunately, Mrs Travers is not going to be swayed easily, and certainly not by Disney's flash and glamour.
Saving Mr Banks is a surprisingly charming film, focusing on the rather rocky journey of getting Mary Poppins from the page to the screen, via her rather eccentric and exacting creator.
The film switches from Mrs Travers' humble childhood in Australia and 1962 in Los Angeles as everyone works towards getting the movie made.
Between Mrs Travers' insistence on staying true to the source material, and everyone at Disney working with a different vision, it's a miracle that Mary Poppins became a movie at all.
Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are at the top of their games as Mrs Travers and Disney, and their interactions add to the overall charm of a story that leaves you smiling when you leave the theatre.
As Mrs Travers' past affects her present, and as Disney fights for the rights to the books, Saving Mr Banks manages to pull all of the strands together into a very pleasing, very watchable whole.
And, as someone who was a big fan of the Mary Poppins books as a youngster, the trip down memory lane was also very nice.
All in all, a very nice film.
- The Southland Times