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Friday 23 June 2017
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Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Phenomenal! Saving Mr. Banks is the best movie of the year! A must-see!

Saving Mr. Banks is actually two stories wrapped up into one. The main story being about Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his persuasion of P.L. Travers to release the rights of her story, Mary Poppins, to become a Disney film. P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) is very hesitant and stubborn about handing over the rights. She is extremely quirky – to put it lightly – and frustrates almost everyone that tries to work with her. The second story, happening within the film, is told through a sequence of flashbacks of P.L. Travers’ (aka – Helen Goff) childhood. It is this part of her childhood that inspired her to write Mary Poppins, and you’ll discover how the characters of Mary Poppins are like family to her.

The key to viewing Saving Mr. Banks is to realize that it’s based on a true story. It is not the full and complete story – but the general gist is there, and done very well!

A few things to note that are different as to how it’s told vs. what happened in real life:

  • Travers Goff actually died from influenza. He was portrayed as having Tuberculosis in the film.
  • P.L. Travers was much more difficult, quirky, crazy, demanding (you get the idea) in real life than portrayed in the movie. What?! Yes, Emma Thompson did an excellent job playing such an irritating lady, but the real P.L. Travers was even more challenging to deal with. While filming, Emma Thompson would actually apologize to her co-actors for treating them the way she did during particular scenes.
  • It is true that Walt Disney did not invite P.L. Travers to the premier of Mary Poppins but, she took it upon herself to show up anyway. In seeing the movie, some viewers thought it was unfair of Walt not to extend an invitation, but had you known the difficulty that P.L. Travers truly caused during negotiations, you would likely understand better. In fact, at the real premier of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers approached Walt Disney and asked him to remove the animated sequence (mind you – this was after she had given permission, and the movie was complete!) Walt turned to walk away from her all-the-while saying “Pamela, the ship has sailed.”
The film is rated PG-13. I would not recommend it for children – as alcoholism and a suicide attempt are portrayed. While there is very little “language” (only two curse words that I counted), the storyline is meant for a more mature audience, I don’t think that it would hold a child’s attention for the full duration.
The effort and training put into this film was well thought out. The musical numbers by the Sherman brothers (B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman) are very entertaining. In fact, Jason Schwartzman (not just an actor, but a musician as well) spent a lot of time at the home of one of the original Sherman brothers – learning skills and techniques from Richard Sherman himself. The following clip on the music of Saving Mr. Banks is a fun watch:

For the Disney fan, this film is a must-see; for the Mary Poppins fan – a no brainer. There are many humorous parts where you’ll find yourself laughing out loud, but also heart-warming moments – making this a great movie. I find that it’s going to be awhile before Disney can top a film like this – it is excellent! (Hint: Be sure to stay through the credits, as you’ll be shown photographs from the original Mary Poppins premiere and you can listen to snippets of the original tapings of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney production team.)

Editor’s Note: I had the honor of pre-screening this movie twice (Nov 19 and Dec 12). To me, the movie was even better the second time around!



Terri is owner, creator and an author for WDW Hints. She enjoys taking less-traveled paths of WDW and sharing her lesser-known discoveries with you!


  • P. L.

    Coughing up blood can result from severe alcohol abuse, which is what I believe they portrayed (and it’s actually not unheard of from influenza; see 1918 epidemic). I dot remember them saying it was influenza or tuberculosis in the film. Did they mention tuberculosis?

  • Influenza nor tuberculosis were mentioned in the film, but a “lingering illness” was certainly depicted. The character, Travers Goff, was shown asking the doctor for something “to ease the pain.” Travers Goff died in 1906… back then alcohol was used for relieving pain – including those with chronic TB.

    Other movie reviews also mention tuberculosis: http://onemoviefiveviews.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/movie-review-saving-mr-banks/

    Yet, others stick with lingering or “progressive illness”: http://geekdad.com/2013/12/8-things-saving-mr-banks/