Oscar Bait Season: Saving Mr Banks Review
Reviewed by Jordan Goodier
So the Academy award nominations and BAFTA nominations were announced; that happened. A few unexpected results, not every film can be nominated for awards. So how did Saving Mr Banks fare? Fairly well, a good few BAFTA nominations and a nomination for the best original song Oscar. The question is, does the film deserve them?
Saving Mr Banks is the story behind the making of the classic film, Mary Poppins. Directed by John Lee Hancock and written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, the film attempts to show the complicated relationship between P.L Travers (the writer of the Mary Poppins books) and the makers of the Mary Poppins film; in particular her relationship with Walt Disney. The film does not demonise the actions of the characters or the characters themselves and instead tries to show the motivations of the people involved and the complications that arose when they came into conflict on certain subjects.
Saving Mr Banks focuses on P.L Travers’ both heart-warming and tear-jerking childhood and what inspired her to write her books. Considering the fine work Colin Farrell puts into the role of Travers Robert Goff (P.L Travers father) I’m a bit disappointed that he hasn’t received any recognition for the role. Travers Goff is a very tragic character, he is the main inspiration for the father figure “Mr Banks” in Mary Poppins. Travers was a struggling banker who was also an alcoholic, seemingly depressed by his job and the system to which he was a part of. He’s also portrayed as an incredibly charismatic and loving father. If there is a stand out actor in this film, Colin Farrell made the biggest impact on me.
Of course, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are also incredible in their roles as Walt Disney and P.L Travers, respectively. But you already knew that. People have been singing the praises of these two actors for years and will continue to do so for years to come, you don’t need me to tell you how good they are – it’s simply a given. Thompson has received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress and it’s well deserved. P.L Travers had a complicated childhood and this led her to being a complicated woman in later life. Her father meant the world to her and the subtle performance that Thompson gives in slowly unveiling how her childhood affected Travers really is wonderful to watch. A particularly heartbreaking section of dialogue is when, appalled at the majority of plans for the Mary Poppins film, Travers storms out saying that it feels like she is disappointing her father again; a truly touching performance from all the cast.
Another stand out scene in the film for me was when Walt Disney travels to London to attempt to talk Travers into granting him the film rights to Mary Poppins, and in the following conversation, he finally displays his knowledge that he finally understands the story of Mary Poppins and exactly how much she and Mr. Banks meant to her.
I’m leaving out plenty of detail deliberately because you have to experience this feel good film for yourself and not have all the fantastic scenes spoilt for you. The cinematography and directing is great (the sequences that take place in Australia especially), there are wonderful performances all over the place, touching moments aplenty and lots to learn about how the film Mary Poppins was made. But mostly the film is about a woman’s relationship with her father and how, in her own way, she tries to save him. Do yourselves a favour and see this film as soon as possible, this is another great film that 2013 threw at us.