Maggie Ross, Online Editor
In case you missed it, this holiday season held a lot of award-nominated films, including but not limited to, “Saving Mr. Banks.”
As one could assume, a live-screenplay Disney film could be cheesy and emotional, with limited action and goose bump good-feelings. While this movie had it’s moments, it was far from the cry of traditional Disney.
The movie features the story of P.L. Travers, the writer of the Mary Poppins’ series, and how her books became a Disney work of art. Along the way, Travers gives the scriptwriters a run for their money, making sure things go her way, or no way at all.
The movie takes place in Travers past and present, going through her childhood in Australia to her time in Disney’s studio. Her father, a banker, moves from one city to another in hopes of another shot in the banking community. Since he was a heavy drinker, young Travers takes on an important role in the family by keeping them together through some extremely tough events, eventually taking her experience through the tragedy and writing extremely successful children’s novels out of it.
What the film does insinuate is a lot of fiction. Of course, we don’t know the true backstory on Travers’ experience. We can conclude that, from tape recordings featured at the end of the film, that Travers was very adamant on having no animation in the film, but we are lead to believe in the end that Travers was actually okay with it. We also are lead to believe that Travers did not sign over the rights to Disney until far into production. While most of the fudging is false and purely for entertainment value, it doesn’t take away from the great story told on the silver screen of how Mary Poppins came to be.
As a Disney-watching generation, this film connects with not only our own but also young and old. It deals with real world issues, including alcoholism and suicide, which is quite extreme for a Disney film. It makes you step into Travers shoes and question her thought process on the film; it makes you wonder if she really was that difficult to work with.
According to the tape featured at the end of the film, she really was. She insisted being recorded on tape during meetings with scriptwriters, and during a conversation about one of the scenes, it seems that the Sherman brothers cannot do anything to satisfy the difficult English woman. However, we know in the end they did satisfy her enough to create the great and wonderful film that is, Mary Poppins.
Disney’s magnificent storytelling once again triumphs with critics and fans alike. According to Fandango, critics rate it a “Go” while fans rate it a “Must Go.” Facebook and Twitter users took to their feeds to rave about the film, talking about Emma Thompson’s nomination for a Golden Globe along with Tom Hank’s performance.
Regardless of if you are a Disney lover or hater, this movie might be one worth adding to your nominee-watch list for this awards season. You can’t help but sing along to the beloved songs or dancing along to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” If you’re lucky enough, you will own Mary Poppins at home and be one of the few who will be fortunate enough to pop it in the VCR when you get home. After all, Mary Poppins did not come to save the children. She came to save Mr. Banks.