Saving Mr. Banks

2013

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Aggressively likable and sentimental to a fault, Saving Mr. Banks pays tribute to the Disney legacy with excellent performances and sweet, high-spirited charm.

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Movie Info

Two-time Academy Award (R)-winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar (R)-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks," inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney's classic "Mary Poppins" made it to the screen. When Walt Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers' "Mary Poppins," he made them a promise-one that he didn't realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney's plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn't budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history. Inspired by true events, "Saving Mr. Banks" is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney's classic "Mary Poppins" made it to the screen-and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it. (C) Disney

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Cast

Emma Thompson
as P.L. Travers
Tom Hanks
as Walt Disney
Colin Farrell
as Robert Goff Travers
Bradley Whitford
as Don DaGradi
Jason Schwartzman
as Richard Morton Sherman
B.J. Novak
as Robert Sherman
Ruth Wilson
as Margaret Goff
Rachel Griffiths
as Aunt Ellie
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Critic Reviews for Saving Mr. Banks

All Critics (248) | Top Critics (48)

Forget super. This bighearted and intelligent drama is supercalifragili. . . .you get the idea

Jan 11, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The whole thing leaves you with an appalling chill. It feels like a warning from Hollywood to the ambivalent creators of anything: Take the spoonful of sugar or we'll force-feed it to you.

Jan 3, 2014 | Full Review…

Pencil Thompson in now for an Oscar nomination, and maybe a win, and prepare to leave the theater humming the iconic songs.

Dec 20, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The sap doesn't run too thick, although it does run, and the movie certainly has a patented Disney upbeat feel much of the time. It's more a spoonful of sugar than medicine for aging baby boomer's souls.

Dec 20, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

Smart, delightful.

Dec 20, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Saving Mr Banks is a merciless film. It hits you with every sentimental low blow it can think of. Then it pounds you again. And when you're down, it jumps on you.

Dec 19, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Saving Mr. Banks

½

Now this is an interesting film to adapt, considering one, its a film that is following the story of a true event, and not a happy true event, considering how much Travers didn't like working on the film in reality. But the other reason this is interesting to adapt, is that this is a film focusing on Disney and the people that were very well known at the time working for him, and considering this is a disney made film, the company has to tread lightly on what they can take creative liberties on and what they can stay factual to, to keep this a somewhat safe film. The question does remain though, did Disney succeed in telling a very interesting real life event that happened in this movie, and did it do justice on events that happened in Mrs. Travers life? First the acting. Now considering these are real life people, you have to get people that understand the role they are given, and understand that they are playing someone that did exist and want to do them justice, and here, not only are all the casting choices perfect, but each actor is fantastic in the role.Now let me get something off my chest here, almost every time I watch a movie with a bunch of major actors in it, I just see the actor I don't see the character, but here this rule applies to no one. Every actor gets perfectly in the role, to the point that by about the hour and 15 minute mark, I stopped thinking these were actors and starting thinking that I was watching real people. Emma Thompson, being one of my favorite actresses, adds so much to the role of PL Travers. She adds the sarcastic and calm attitude of Mrs. Travers very well and makes her very likable and makes it very understandable on where she's coming from and how frustrated she is getting from all the decisions that are being made about the film and from all the people she is meeting. Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak both do fantastic jobs as the Sherman brothers from what they are given and the two are very funny and very likable in the roles. Paul Giamatti is extremely likable playing Mrs. Travers chauffeur around LA, and his connection to Mrs. Travers in the film seems very genuine. But the two standouts in the film to me, are Collin Farrell as PL Travers father when she is little, and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Farrell isn't just someone that appears in the film once and never again, no he is in it for a big majority of the film since a lot of the film is done in flashback of Travers when she was a little girl. Farrell is extremely likable in the role and you can't help but get a smile on your face when he is talking to his daughters because it looks and sounds so genuine that he does care for these girls. But later in the film Farrell starts to slowly deteriorate due to him becoming an alcoholic since his life is slowly falling apart around him and has lost his job, and like Travers when she is little, it starts to tear you apart to to see a man with so much energy and happiness become slower, and bitter. Now with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, this was my major concern. Tom is extremely recognizable, and his voice is extremely recognizable, so when I heard he was going to play Walt Disney, and seeing him in the trailers, I was concerned as to how he was going to do since he is so recognizable. Thankfully, not only did Hanks do good, I think this is one of his best roles ever. Hanks appears a decent amount of times in the first and second act of the film, and he does fantastically well at playing this role, and you totally believe every line of dialogue coming out of his mouth. But the major show stealing scene with Tom appears near the very end of the film when he talks to Mrs. Travers in her house. I'm not going to spoil it, but the scene is played out so well, the exchange between the two actors is performed so well, and the dialogue is so well written, that you just have to see it. It was getting to the point that I completely forgot that I was watching Tom Hanks, and I legitly thought I was watching Walt Disney it was uncanny. Other than acting there really isn't that much I can really go into detail about since this is a character driven film with no real big effects or sets. But I can briefly go over sets. The sets done in the film are all extremely well done and capture the era that they take place in remarkably well being the 1900s and the 1960s. The 1900s sets taking place in australia look extremely well done and look like a western style set, and the sets of LA in Disneyland, the Chinese Theatre, and the hotel all look very well done and again, do capture the time that it takes place in very well. Overall, I was hoping this film was going to be good, and not only did it exceed my expectations, but without a shadow of a doubt I can easily say that this is the best film of 2013 IMO. The acting is the best I've ever seen in a biopic film, the characters are all likable and believable in their roles, the dialogue is very well written, it takes creative liberties only when it needs to (not being a whole lot), the drama is very well pulled off, the flashback scenes are all done amazingly well and capture the time they take place fantastically, and it leaves you with a sweet and emotional ending that you don't get with many films lately. I highly recommend this to anybody that enjoys films like this, enjoy disney and want to know a little more history about them, or is a fan of Mary Poppins or the people in this at all. It is well worth the price of admission in every possible way.

Michael Edwards
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

"INSPIRED by the extraordinary backstory of how Disney's classic "Mary Poppins" made it to the screen." Sure they must have distorted the facts to turn it in Disney's favor, thereby making it inspirational!! While maybe a bit dramatic, the transformation of Emma's character seemed quite unrealistic. The story may work better for children, I guess. For me, even Emma and Hanks' efforts/performances proved short for Saving Mr. Banks.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Like practically the entire world I got history with Disney and so went into this with huge expectations. Big mistake. Halfway through I began wishing Travers' kin had made it instead of Disney's, if only to get a less biased viewpoint. As it is we're left with a work wherein Emma Thompson, one of the modern day greats, plays one note (bitch) for an hour and a half, and another ("I'm sorry, you were right, Unca Walt.") for the last half hour. And she's the lucky one. Tom Hanks only gets one note to play ("I'm a good guy trying to put up with you, you bitch.") It's uninspired to say the least and the reason the work disappeared as quickly as it did. Colin Farrell, Rachel Griffiths (who I love), et al? Woefully unused. This is ONLY for the unabashed Disney fan, or as an glaring example of how money ultimately writes history.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

Glacial story development, and just down-right dull. Not a single noteworthy performance. How can a movie about a musical be so one-note? It may have taken Disney 20 years to make the "Mary Poppins" film -- and I felt each minute of the wait watching this snoozer.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

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