Friday, December 27, 2013
A reviewer should review the movie they have seen not the want they wanted it to be. P.L. Travers, born Helen Lynden Goff, had an alcoholic father who died at a young age, a suicidal mother, adopted a boy when she was 40 though she wouldn't adopt his twin brother. She was an actress before becoming a writer under the Travers name and became famous with "Mary Poppins". She had live in affairs with two women and would die at the age of 96.
"Saving Mr. Banks" is based on a trip she made to Hollywood, with all expenses picked up by Walt Disney, who wanted the rights to her best selling "Mary Poppins". Tom Hanks plays Disney as an easy going, easy to get along with guy, who portions out a lot more than 'A Spoonful of Sugar" to get those rights.
Emma Thompson is the back bone of the movie playing Travers as a woman who won't give an inch. She is cold, looks down her nose on Hollywood and feels they will only bring harm to the work so close to her. She doesn't like Dick Van Dyke, wanting only an English cast, refused to have animated animals, scoffed at the songwriters and screenwriters, really doesn't get the audience on her side, even with flashbacks to her childhood, but by the end of the film will move you to tears.
Joseph Schwartzman and B. J. Novak play the songwriting brothers, who won Oscars for Best Song "Chim Chim Che-ree and Best Original score, with Bradley Whitford, as Don DaGradi receiving a nomination for screenplay, doing an all around true person. There is an outstanding performance by Paul Giamatti playing Travers's Hollywood driver, Ralph. Colin Farrell as her father does a stereotype of the drunken Irish man with some warmth while most of the women in the movie have what would be called cameo parts by such names as Kathy Baker, Ruth Wilson and Rachel Griffiths.
After bombastic films like "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" it's a good change of pace to come across the story of an Australian writer in a two film about a beloved American movie but, hopefully, with Emma Thompson playing P.L. Travis agai we will get the more dramatic picture of her real life.