Movie Review: Thompson Shines in “Saving Mr. Banks”

saving mr. banks

Cary, NC- Saving Mr. Banks tells the true story of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and her struggle with Walt Disney to adapt her beloved character for the big screen.

A Disney Movie About Disney Making a Disney Classic…

For the first 20 minutes or so, there was something about Saving Mr. Banks that was really bothering me. The idea of a Disney film about Walt Disney successfully making a Disney classic (Mary Poppins) just sent out a really self congratulatory vibe. It’s an interesting story to be sure, but I didn’t feel like seeing Disney pat itself on the back for the next two hours.

Saving Mr. Banks – Storyline Draws You In

But then something happened.

When Travers, played by Emma Thompson, starts work on the movie adaptation and begins to reflect on her childhood inspiration of her famous stories, the movie began to draw me in.

We learn that Travers had a loving and caring father, played with enthusiasm by Colin Farrell. Young Travers idolized him. He encouraged her to use her imagination and would often join her in whatever adventures she could dream up.

Despite that love and care, her father was also a self destructive alcoholic, and as the film progresses we slowly see the impact he leaves on his young daughter.

This storyline was particularly moving, as Farrell displays a true sense of fatherhood that makes his fall all the more impactful.

As we witness Travers struggle with the writers who create some of the most iconic songs and moments in film history, we understand why she fights so hard to make sure her story is done properly.

Thompson Great, Hanks Not Bad

As Travers, Thompson brings both a coldness and vulnerable warmth, while at the same time having a pretty wicked sense of comic timing.

It may sound like Saving Mr. Banks is some kind of downer about fathers, but it’s actually very funny, with most of the funniest bits coming from Travers’ disagreements with the writers and Walt himself.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Tom Hanks yet. Hanks of course plays the iconic filmmaker, Walt Disney, and he’s fine. He’s just as charming as you’d expect and want him to be, but really we don’t get to know anything about the man himself other than he really wanted to make this movie.

After seeing Hanks deliver the powerhouse he did in Captain Phillips earlier this year, he really just set the bar high for himself. But that’s OK, because this is really Thompson’s show anyway. And she’s great.

Walt Would Be Proud!

Overall, I was impressed with the emotional impact this movie left with me. Don’t let that scare you.  Saving Mr. Banks is also a funny and entertaining look inside one of the most beloved films of all time. Definitely worth the price of admission.


Review by Jordan Hunt for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.

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3 replies
  1. Jordan Hunt
    Jordan Hunt says:

    Unfortunately I won’t have a review of American Hustle here, but I did see it for myself and I thought it was really good! Obviously the cast was great, with Bradley Cooper sticking out as being particularly hilarious.

    • Cynthia P. Barnett
      Cynthia P. Barnett says:

      You did review the movie after all! Thanks for comments on “American Hustle” where the hairstyles were also hilarious. And despite the theme of conning and being conned, there was still some real heart in it.

      My movie-going friend whom I’ll call Honest John agrees with your approval of “Saving Mr.Banks.” I’ll put that on my list also.

      Have you written a 10 Best of 2013 yet? Your readers (like me) would love to see it. I hope Enough Said; The Way, Way Back; The Butler and Philomena would be at least honorable mentions. (Forget those quotation marks, too time consuming!)

  2. Cynthia P. Barnett
    Cynthia P. Barnett says:

    I was wondering if I really wanted to see this movie–it sounded a bit dull. Thanks for livening it up for me—I’ll go!

    I hope you’re also going to review “American Hustle.” Now there’s a film that kept us at the edge of our seats. What’s your take?

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