2013’s Best: Saving Mr. Banks

Hold onto your hats… I’m going to be blogging about films made not only in this century, but in the past year! Sometimes I do make time for new films if I hear they are worthy of my time and attention. That sounds snootier than I intended, but I am picky.  For the first blog, I would like to devote my attention to my favourite film released in 2013. The exciting part is the film is STILL in theatres!

Okay, I teased you with hopes of a contemporary subject matter, but I forgot to say it’s about the past. Last week, I went to the movie theatre, spent my last dime on popocorn, and watched Saving Mr. Banks (2013) with my family. I allowed myself to get my hopes up based on the movie trailer, so I might as well share it with you:

The film lived up to its promises and more than I had imagined. I am an avid fan of Mary Poppins (1964) and have viewed it probably once every year of my life. Saving Mr. Banks provides the painstaking backstory to the woman behind the Poppins books, P. L. Travers. The lightheartedness of Mary Poppins would never allude to a twenty year process of gaining the rights to the film and pleasing a fastidious author with clear ideas of the adaptation of her books. The filmmakers based much of the film on the tapes recorded with P. L. Travers at Disney’s studios created upon her insistence to document her demands before handing over the rights. On paper, Travers sounds like a stick in the mud unwilling to budge, but Emma Thompson portrays her dry, cynical humour with a sophistication that kept me laughing throughout the entire film.

I loved the decision to use the timeline from Travers’ past to her present in the early 1960s to show the motivations behind the character, Mary Poppins and, ultimately, Mr. Banks. I would revoke my intentions to become a Hollywood historian if I agreed with the film entirely on its accuracy. Of course, they painted a positive picture of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), but I didn’t mind the inaccuracies because Disney was in the background for the majority of the film. The film seemed well-researched and interested in showing the harshness of reality in P.L. Travers’ childhood alongside the cuteness and hope Walt Disney strives to place in his films.

Saving Mr. Banks is, by far, the best film I’ve seen all year. The narrative is cohesive, meaningful, and contributory to knowledge. The costuming, set design, and creation of 1960s Disney magic is aesthetically pleasing. Overall, the acting is impressive and, I believe, Oscar-worthy on Miss Thompson’s part. If you’re interested in watching a film with your family during the Christmas holidays, I highly recommend Saving Mr. Banks.

Until Friday, Merry Christmas everyone! God bless!

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