Sunday, March 02, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr Banks tells two wildly different stories – the making of Disney Studios’ Mary Poppins and the story of a young girl growing up in the backwaters of Australia with an alcoholic father. These two tales are later joined by the not-so-subtle rationale of a daughter’s desire to save her father, which became the original reason for writing P L Travers’ wildly popular Mary Poppins series of books.

The film begins with the young girl and the loving father and then swiftly cuts to the elder Travers, played with ingenuity and a quiet dignity, by the incomparable Emma Thompson. She is negotiating the film rights for Mary Poppins with Walt Disney. She doesn’t like the idea of the movie, especially when she abhors song-and-dance cartoons. But she needs the money. She travels to America and her tug-of-war with the original showman Walt Disney, played with bravado by Tom Hanks, is lot of fun, especially when she has made it a point to object to everything that Disney and his people suggest.

However, almost-true, behind the scene making of story is marred by the sad tale of the young girl and her father, the original Mr Banks. It’s a doomed tale. It doesn’t deserve so much screen time, especially when we cannot wait to get back to American, with the tongue-in-cheek elder Travers and see what she is up to.

This is where the film fails. We cannot get enough of Emma Thompson and the film fails to give us enough.

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