06 July 2014

Saving Mr Banks (starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks)

We had no idea what to expect from this DVD when relatives suggested we watch it with them. I’d seen it on Amazon and thought about adding it to my wishlist, but never in fact did so. I wasn’t even sure I would manage to stay awake for what, I learned, was essentially a true-life drama about the making of the film ‘Mary Poppins’.

How wrong I was! 'Saving Mr Banks' is a very well-made story, with Emma Thompson starring as the abrupt and somewhat bad-tempered PJ Travers, and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Set mainly in the 1960s, there are also flashbacks to PJ Travers’ childhood, with a happy-go-lucky impoverished father and a hard-working mother who struggles to make ends meet.

There are some tear-jerking moments along with some humour, and wonderful characterisation from the two main characters. Some of their interactions would have seemed unbelievable, had they not been based on what actually happened, as recorded for posterity on tape.

This movie gives a great insight into the way films were made in that era, as well as showing how songs were composed and also the way that an author clearly had a tremendous input into the script and general production of a film based on a book. I don’t know how true to life PJ Travers’ eventual capitulation was (that’s not a spoiler; we know perfectly well that a film of Mary Poppins WAS made, and was a tremendous success, despite the author’s reservations) but it was exceedingly well done.

The UK rating of 12 seems about right to me. While there's nothing indecent, or any mention of intimacies, and only the mildest of bad language, there are some scenes that could be quite disturbing to young children. I'm a little surprised that the US rating is only PG.

Definitely recommended to any adults and teens who have enjoyed the classic film … even though I found that the song ‘Let’s go fly a kite’ got stuck in my brain for the next 48 hours after watching 'Saving Mr Banks'!

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's DVD Reviews

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