2014 Reviewed Movies:
NJanuary Movie #1: Saving Mr. Banks/font>
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti
Directed By: John Lee Hancock
Run Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Saving Mr. Banks is about the lengths Disney went to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins. The writer Mrs. Travers (played by Thompson) negotiated full script approval, something Walt Disney (played by Hanks) had never given before. He spent 20 years trying to woo Mrs. Travers to get her to sign over the rights so that he could keep a promise he made to his daughters who loved the books and asked their father to make a movie out of them.
It was more than 20 days into the first month of the new year when I finally saw my first movie. It may just be that kind of year.
First of all, let me just say that I don't think they hype about Tom Hanks not being nominated for his performance in this movie is warranted. Hanks is a fabulous actor, however, his Disney was nothing noteworthy. It was decent, as you would come to expect from him, but not award fetching.
The thing that struck me most was, had this not been a real person, I would not have bought the Mrs. Travers character. She wouldn't have struck me as real. The movie alternates between present time (for the movie) and back to the childhood of, presumably, Mrs. Travers. As a child, she was amazingly creative - and was strongly and emphatically encouraged to be creative by her father, whom she adored. Present time, she was unbelievably proper, rigidly proper. While it is possible that people change due to aging and circumstances, one who is rigid and proper doesn't seem to be the type to create books of such imagination as Mary Poppins. The Mrs. Travers who challenged Mr. Disney did not seem to me to be capable of being a whimsical writer. If this hadn't been a real person and was a fictional character, I never would have bought that polar opposite personality. And lest you think they took liberties and exaggerated her sternness for the movie, sit for the credits. You will then hear the real tape recordings of her word by word script editing. She truly was THAT proper.
I laughed a lot at this movie, just because Mrs. Travers was unrelenting. She didn't mean to be mean; she was just driven to be proper. And she was determined to always be right.
The best part of the movie, the part that really proves that Mrs. Travers wasn't cold and heartless despite her need to correct everyone, is when she gives her driver the names of several handicapped people and what she says to him to give him hope about his own daughter. I found that moment incredibly touching.
I liked this movie. Well acted. Well done. And now I need to re-see Mary Poppins.