Director John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks was not on my to-see list. Perhaps it was due to its unfortunate title. However, a few trusted friends said they really enjoyed it, so I decided to check it out.
I’ll start by saying that my initial instincts were correct. I confess to having a personal distaste…abhorrence, actually…of stories about alcoholism, especially as the affect is has on young children, who witness it in a parent. Such was the case with T.L. Travers, the writer of the book about Mary Poppins that Walt Disney so wished to turn into a film.
That being said, however, the film is very well made, is quite moving at times and is, often, quite charming. Overall, it is a nice package with great acting, but, in some respects the story didn’t ring true. I felt we weren’t being told the truth about the struggle between Disney and Travers and the old adage, “History is written by the victors,” kept ringing in my head. And, after doing a little digging, I discovered the Disneyesque ending wasn’t quite how the story really ended.
Yet, as Disney says (and I’m paraphrasing), art is about restoring order and instilling hope. After all, that’s what Bacon (Shakespeare) did with the resolution of all his plays. So, I can’t fault the film in that regard.
Putting aside my personal biases, I give Saving Mr. Banks a 3+ out of 5.