I have been accused on more than one occasion of being just a big kid. Of not taking anything seriously and suffering from Peter Pan syndrome. My wife finds it adorable at times. Others, not so much. But Disneyland is one of our favorite places to visit. In college, I even had a season pass. Back then, it was only $99 for the year! When we just went it was something like a gajillion for a 3 day pass. I don’t know if this is blasphemous to say, but I actually enjoy California Adventure better as a park than Disneyland. The rides are better in Disneyland, but the park is better in CA. Where was I? Oh right!
Being nothing but a big kid, I was more than happy to go see Saving Mr. Banks as a fan of ALMOST all things Disney. This movie is about Walt Disney‘s ordeal to get the book Mary Poppins made into a movie. Full disclosure, I had no idea it was a book. But then again, I’m a big dumb dumb and if it’s not a book about history, or a novel written by Sidney Sheldon, I’m usually not interested.
More than just getting the movie made, as I learned, it’s really the story of P.L. Travers, the author of the book, dealing with her childhood and accepting herself for who she is. As the movie starts, It certainly seems as though shes just a really horrible person. How someone as terrible as her could write a lovely story like Mary Poppins seems ridiculous to me. As the film goes along, I really felt sorry for her. Without giving too much away, it continues to show what a tough life it was for people back around the turn of the 20th century. A simple life, but a really hard life. Her father was a wonderfully loving father, but like many of us, a man with demons. Demons that were difficult to overcome.
I had no idea of the story behind the movie when I stepped into the theater. I figured this would be a simple Disney puff piece about what a wonderful movie they made back in the 1960s. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of that. My good buddy Matt, who hates all things Disney would hate this movie. Too much “look at us, we are Disney, we do wonderful things! I’m Walt! I love making people happy!” He’s not big on giant corporations, no matter if they built the happiest place on Earth. I swear, he’s not the downer he seems to be.
I guess I didn’t pay close enough attention to the previews for this movie because I assumed it was simply a Tom Hanks movie. There are a million big named people in this film, led by Emma Thompson‘s amazing portrayal of Travers. It really was once of those outstanding performances that makes you wonder if anyone else could have possibly done as well. She was incredible. Not only was Hanks overshadowed by Thompson, but he wasn’t even the 2nd best acting job in the film. Colin Farrell‘s Travers Goff (P.L.’s father) was really well done. Rounding out a great cast was Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, and Paul Giamatti. I had no idea any of these people were in the movie. They all brought their A game.
If like me, you’re a sucker for Disneyland, old Disney movies and nostalgia, go see it. If like my friend Matt, you hate Disney, you’ll hate this movie. But, if you hate Disney, you probably didn’t need to read this to know you were going to hate this movie. So why the hell did you read this in the first place?