“Saving Mr. Banks” Reveals the Drama Behind the Making of the Film “Mary Poppins”


Disney’s beloved film, “Mary Poppins” has quite a dramatic behind the scenes story that is told in this film. We get an inside look at how author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for the adaptation of her novel, Mary Poppins. And, it is an interesting turn of events that eventually wins Ms. Travers over. As KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B (age 13) says, “We learn it’s going to take Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) a lot of hard work to get Ms. Travers to share our favorite flying nanny, ‘Marry Poppins.’” Keefer’s full review is below.


Saving Mr. Banks

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Video review available here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR6i0yGJPGQ


This is a deeply emotional and inspiring untold story of “Mary Poppins.” The premise is based on the true journey of  Pamela L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the author of  the book. We learn it’s going to take Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) a lot of hard work to get Ms. Travers to share our favorite flying nanny, Mary Poppins.


This film is totally character driven. Tom Hanks is the first actor to portray Walt in a mainstream film.  Tom trained for this by visiting “The Walt Disney Family Museum” and talking with Disney’s former employees including his daughter Diane Disney Miller. Tom is Walt!  He captures the dream, drive, and love for life that Walt believed in and you buy every word he says. They also respect Walt’s wishes of never showing him with a lit cigarette. Of course, any leading man has a leading lady and we have a phenomenal portrayal of Ms. Travers by Emma Thompson. Emma trained, like Tom, by listening to the recording of the script read-through and practicing the way Pamela spoke. What adds up is a fantastic performance. You feel her emotion and why she is a stick-in-the-mud. This film’s cinematography is spot on. It takes place over time from 1906, with vintage clothing and horse carts, to 1961, with old cars and urban settings. The way they shift from time period to time period is flawless.


My favorite scene is when Mrs. Travers observes the film for the first time. You see all of the emotional scarring that she has kept inside her whole life, come out. I can say that Emma’s performs this amazingly well.


Honestly, it’s hard to pick my favorite character. Surprisingly I choose Ralph (Paul Giamatti), Mrs. Travers’ chauffeur. He’s the first person who Pamela likes and once you see this film you’ll understand how big of an achievement that is. Paul’s warm and humble performance has an affect on me that is unexplainable.


The moral of the story is, don’t let the past rule your present. Pamela has a hard time giving “Mary Poppins” up and, with her sad childhood, you can see why. However, she needs to understand that it’s time to let it all go.


I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to12-18 year olds. This film is little more emotionally heavy than the trailer shows. It’s a lighthearted film, but sensitive kids may have difficulty with some scenes. This is playing in theaters now.


Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions


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