Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

When I first heard about Saving Mr. Banks back in 2013, I was instantly sold on seeing the film, solely because Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney. Never having watched or read Mary Poppins prior to seeing the film, I was a bit nervous going in, afraid I may not understand the references to the Poppins universe. Nevertheless, the first time I watched Saving Mr. Banks in theaters, it made a permanent place in my heart and soon became one of my all-time favorite movies.

Premise

Saving Mr. Banks recounts the story of when Walt Disney and P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, worked together to create the Mary Poppins live-action film of the 1960s. While part of the film takes place in the 1960s, the film simultaneously shows the earlier part of the 20th century in Australia, following a young girl, Helen, her unstable yet loving father, and their family.

Why I Recommend Saving Mr. Banks

The Casting

Oh. My. Word. This movie weaves a beautiful and poignant story, but it wouldn’t be of the caliber it is without the cast. As I knew he would, Tom Hanks slays the part of Walt Disney, and does him total justice. It is absolutely amazing seeing my favorite actor play one of my biggest creative inspirations. Emma Thompson is the PERFECT P.L. (Pamela) Travers, making us love and relate to her despite her personality and often hateful tendencies. Schwartzman and Novak are spot-on as the Sherman Brothers, who wrote the music for Mary Poppins. Even Helen’s family in the flashbacks are moving, with Collin Farrell stealing the show in his role as her father. All in all, the cast does a phenomenal job of evoking emotion into the film.

The Storytelling

It’s common writing advice to use flashbacks sparingly, but Saving Mr. Banks uses the technique throughout the film wisely, giving viewers hints as to why Pamela acts the way she does and what ultimately inspired her to write Mary Poppins. The flashbacks are never boring and always serve their purpose, bringing insight rather than filler material. The end result is a masterfully executed story that I love to revisit after several watches.

My only beef with the storytelling is that it’s not all historically accurate. Disnerds be warned, there are several aspects of the film that differ from what actually took place, mainly being Travers’ feelings about the final cut of Mary Poppins.

The Themes

Saving Mr. Banks is not only an entertaining film, but one that packs a punch of strong themes as well. As an author, I deeply resonate with Travers using her art to heal and not wanting it changed, while also cheering Disney on when he reveals his own childhood wounds and prompts Pamela to not let her past define her present. Dreamers everywhere should watch this film due to its impactful thematic truths.

The Quotes

Of course, I had to include this one. 😉

Instead of the funny quotes I usually mention, Saving Mr. Banks gives us nuggets of wisdom, especially with my favorite line:

“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney

Gah, I love it! ❤

Overall

If you’re a Disnerd and enjoy films set in the 1960s, you’d do yourself a huge favor by watching this film.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

Have you seen Saving Mr. Banks? Do you have any other historical Disney films you’d like to recommend?

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

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