Saving Mr. Banks is by the director John Lee Hancock, his previous film The Blind Side is one of my favorite movies. Did Saving Mr. Banks lived up to my expectations, let us find out.
Pamela P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) is left with little money, so she reluctantly and finally gives in to the demands of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to film her famous Mary Poppins stories. She arrives in Los Angles, disgruntled and unamused about the friendliness and optimism of Walt Disney and his staff. She is visibly put off, time and again, by things she does not appreciate, things she do not want to be in the movie, it could be a word, a song, appearance or looks of the character or even the color red.
Over the while, the composers please her with their compositions and even Walt tries to play joker by forcibly taking her to Disneyland. At times, she manages a smile and dances, not only the other characters but even the audience takes a sigh of relief, when she finally agrees. There are many problems before and after, however, the movie finally is made, and the premier is the climax.
What will hence follow, are the performances and the characters, which will indeed tell you the moments to look out for in Saving Mr. Banks. I mention the moments, because that’s the way I write, and also, because while describing a character, it’s best to use them and there are the moments which, I think, actually bring out the best -in the actor and -of the character.
Emma Thompson is wonderful, she received a Golden Globe nomination for Saving Mr. Banks as the Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama. She embodies the reluctant, impassive and inflexible author who do not want any tampering with her characters. She affronts everyone around, though due to their own spirit and liveliness of the workplace, hardly anyone is offended. The composers, Sherman brothers, in the movie, played by Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak, eventually impress her, she breaks into a smile and then dance. Emma Thompson is a treat to eyes at that moment, she finally smiles and let go of all the reluctance and pain. Both Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak have performed well, they sing and groove in the movie, to their creations for the Mary Poppins movie. ( The movie’s score done by Thomas Newman has also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score).
Emma Thompson is best when she is in the conversations with Paul Giamatti, her limo driver, she seems human and able for compassion. They share, in the limo or when they step out or while sitting on the grass, these scenes are simply, beautiful. Their friendship blooms into something, undescribed to any length in the movie and left for us to ascertain on our own. Paul Giamatti is charming and dutiful, one of the only person in the movie to earn Pamela’s respect and affection.
Over the course of movie, Emma Thompson reflects back on her difficult childhood, an outcome which solely can be attributed to her alcoholic father, played by Colin Farrell. He is very caring and compassionate as a father would be, but he has his own problems too. The resultant troubled childhood for Pamela is the reason for her books, her father was always source of inspiration and imagination for her throughout, and also responsible for her crooked, unbending attitude towards anyone and everyone.
Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, is happy and bouncing, at the same time observant and understanding. He has built a great team for himself and knows how to make them happy and produce the results. Initially, he would seem to be concerned only about his daughters’ wish to see the books be adapted into movies, but later impresses Pamela with his other side, by keeping the cheerfulness and the smile at bay, and speaking something other than Mary Poppins movie. He is a seasoned actor, his performance was as effortless as the sun daily rising in the east.
Costumes, music, camera, locations everything is in place, particularly the Disneyland of 60’s can be seen as vibrant as it is now.
To end, Saving Mr. Banks is Walt Disney movie about a Walt Disney movie, emphasizing on the healing power of art. It may not have something that impresses beyond reason, neither the plot, nor the characters, nor anything else, but can be seen for the simplicity of the human heart being optimistic and forgiving, the characters does promise you a world which is good if you just, let it be.
Stars of the movie – Performances
Stars to the movie – 3
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