Hello Disnerds and Fangirls alike! This past Friday the Disney live action film Saving Mr. Banks came out, so Natalie and I went to see it.
I was really excited to see this, because I love Disney, I love Tom Hanks, and I’m a pretty big Mary Poppins fan. I remember being really young and sitting in the lobby of a spinning building (my mum used to teach spinning, shit was intense), and watching the videocassette of Mary Poppins. Parts of the video were worn out from kids watching it, so I fast forwarded a lot, but I still loved it. It wasn’t until recently that I found out about P.L. Travers’ side of the story.
Travers wasn’t a big fan of Walt Disney. I read that after seeing what he did to her beloved Poppins, she never spoke to him again. I also read that she fought Disney every step of the way, in creating the movie. Saving Mr. Banks does an amazing job showing that. Travers, played by Emma Thompson, almost refuses to leave England to even meet with Disney. But when she gets to California, her fight is even bigger. She starts by throwing all of the plushes and baskets, that Disney left for her, into the closet of her hotel room.
As the movie goes on, we see two different stories. The first is the story of young Helen Goff, who is imaginative and playful, with the help of her father, Travers Goff. That story goes hand in hand with the story of P.L. Travers fighting Disney about the production of Mary Poppins. Towards the end, P.L. Travers is outed, her real name is Helen Goff, and both of the stories are those of her childhood.
Mr. Banks, the father in Mary Poppins’ story, is based off of Helen’s own father. So when the song writers are singing a song where Mr. Banks is being a bit cruel with the children, Travers breaks down, in memory of her own father. It’s very upsetting.
In the end, we see Travers attend the movie premier in California, and her reactions throughout the film. I think the most dramatic part was right there at the end, when Travers starts to cry. One of the songwriters makes sure she’s okay, and her remark is, “I can’t do the animation.” Though the movie ends right after the premier, I think that’s one of the only ways they could show her displeasure with Disney without tarnishing his name too much.
I also really enjoyed that instead of just having music while the credits rolled, the final credits were accompanied by an audio recording by the real P.L. Travers, while they were working on planning out Mary Poppins. I thought that made the movie even more interesting and relevant.
Fangirls, if you love classic Disney, and great dance numbers, check out Saving Mr. Banks. It’s a lovely film that will make you laugh and cry for all the right reasons. It interested me so much, that I’m ready to go out and read the book Mary Poppins, and the book that exposes the truth behind the movie making process, Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers.
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.