Saving Mr. Banks has been one of the most moving Disney movies I have seen. There is a certain amount of magic, pun intended, that makes this film an instant classic for both children and adults. I do think that this film is more understood by slightly older audiences, but this is not to say that young children wouldn’t enjoy the singing and Disney elements of the film. It is one of those times when you leave the theater or cinema with a refreshed appreciation of life and all that it includes.
The film takes us through the journey of one Mrs. P.L. Travers, the author of the classic novel Mary Poppins, and her collaboration with Walt Disney transforming book to film. Despite her desperate attempts to avoid Hollywood, she needs the money, and Mrs. Travers tries to make everything as complicated as possible. We come to find out that Disney has been hounding Mrs. Travers for the rights in order to fulfill a promise he made to his children years ago. One of the successes of the plot is when we are taken back and forth from present day in Hollywood, to flashbacks from her childhood, which ultimately inspired the book. Giving a much richer and fuller understanding of the motivations of the characters.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this movie was the extremely accurate portrayal of the time and place things took place. Retro cars, Victorian garb, and a map in Disney’s office of the place in which Disneyworld would go years later. It was very interesting to see the way in which Walt ran his company, on a first name basis with every employee, working late into the night, caring deeply about each character. Yet the most important part of this film is a transformation of Mrs. Travers. As she reveals more and more of her past we are able to understand her deep rooted love with Mary Poppins and the Banks’.
I love a movie that inspires me both as a person and an artist. There are so many quotable lines that speak to our desire for family, love, and success. Such as when the driver tells Mrs. Travers, “You can worry about the future but you can’t do that. Only today.” Or when Disney reminds us, “That’s what story tellers do. We restore order to imagination. We bring hope.” It is moments like this throughout the whole film that remind us that fiction is rooted in our own lives. People we once knew, emotions we once felt, dreams we may still have.
Now we must remember to never take what is portrayed in film as the gospel truth, but that we shouldn’t let changes in an otherwise true tale take away from our enjoyment of the movie. While there has been some controversy on the accuracy of Mrs. Travers’ portrayal in the movie, I frankly don’t think that it matters. It shouldn’t matter who she loved, if she had children, if she actually signed the rights over before meeting Disney. The point of the movie is to show personal growth and forgiveness, as well as showing the magic of movies and literature. It is about the love we have for our children, how we will do anything to preserve their sense of imagination in hopes that they may live in a happier world than we do.
To read more about the controversy click on the link below