movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Saving Mr Banks

 (12A)
© Walt Disney - all rights reserved
     
  Saving Mr Banks Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
 
Average Rating
5.70 /10
 
Starring
Emma Thompson , Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Written by: Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith

 
 
 
Released: 2013
   
Genre: DRAMA
BIOPIC
COMEDY
   
Origin: US
   
Colour: C
   
Length: 125
 
 


 
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If you were hoping this docudrama would give a thorough insight into the creation of the movie musical Mary Poppins, you will be sorely disappointed.
(Kristy Puchko, CinemaBlend.com)
An oppressively sentimental picture marrying simplistic personality-clash comedy to a thin Psych 101 character arc.
(John Serba, MLive.com)
The tagline reads, 'Where her book ended, the real story began.' The condescension only gets worse when you watch the actual film.
(William Bibbiani, CraveOnline)
Corporatist propaganda of the highest order, as the Disney juggernaut congratulates itself on the half-century anniversary of Mary Poppins.
(Burl Burlingame, Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
Travers' legitimate concerns are presented as the killjoy grinching of a dried-up prig who just needs a good you-know-what, with Uncle Walt -- or rather, Walt Disney Inc. -- as just the one to give it to her, metaphorically speaking.
(John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal)
In a Hollywood where men still pen 85% of all films, there's something sour in a movie that roots against a woman who asserted her artistic control by asking to be a co-screenwriter.
(Amy Nicholson, L.A. Weekly)
As much as the script strains to connect Travers' past with her present, Saving Mr. Banks instead resembles two very different movies shoved together.
(Ethan Alter, Television Without Pity)
A shameless wad of corporate PR, a feel-good, self-serving Disney film about the making of a Disney film.
(Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Advertising that audiences have to pay to see.
(Kelly Vance, East Bay Express)
A profoundly confused bit of corporate propaganda.
(Robert Levin, amNewYork)
If Saving Mr. Banks were 100 percent false and yet felt true, that would be fine. But this has the self-conscious whiff, if not of mendacity, then of public relations.
(Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
Saving Mr. Banks is two movies crammed into one cumbersome, overlong drama.
(Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald)
The irony of Saving Mr. Banks is that it takes this true story of Hollywood conflict, of artistic integrity pitted against studio moxie, and gives it the same warm-and-fuzzy treatment the company gave Poppins. One woman’s failed battle to stop her work from being Disneyfied has itself been Disneyfied... Why was Travers so adamant, so stubbornly uncompromising, about the adaptation of her work? To hear Saving Mr. Banks tell it, there was a simple psychological rationale for her reluctance. (Short answer: She had daddy issues.) That angle feels not just overly simplistic, but also convenient: Were the film to merely accept Travers’ distrust of Disney at face value, it might risk suggesting she was right to worry about what this corporate giant would do with her beloved characters. So, no, she’s just got a problem, and it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a guided tour of Disneyland, regular chats with a kindly chauffeur (Paul Giamatti, rarely this upbeat), and a climactic Tom Hanks monologue that’s about 25 percent honest emotion, 75 percent emotional manipulation. Depicting its hesitant heroine as a kind of Scrooge figure, whose cranky, principled stance can only be conquered by the magic of Disney, Saving Mr. Banks plays like a celebration of selling out. Naturally, the film neglects to note how much Travers actually hated the finished Mary Poppins movie. She’d probably have hated this one, too.
(A.A.Dowd, The Onion)
Most eager to present the audience with heaping spoonfuls of sugar. For all its determination to depict Travers as a highfalutin pain in the ass, its turn-on-a-dime catharsis strikes a specious and unearned tone; before long, she's cuddling with a Mickey Mouse doll, and in spite of Thompson's perpetual scowling, her character's emotional arc never feels in doubt. Throughout, the audience simply bides its time until the magic of Disney and Walt's persuasive final monologue finally unleashes Travers's generosity. Ultimately, the film is a tale of memory and redemption that does little to linger in the mind and even less to decry Travers's claim that Disney turns everything it touches into schmaltz.
(Nick McCarthy, Slant Magazine)
An awful film, perhaps an evil one. But it will make a great grad school paper. In it, Disney uses its considerable power to rewrite history, hoping attractive fiction will replace the nasty (albeit much more fun) truth. The subject is the making of Mary Poppins, the behemoth’s delightful desecration of P.L. Travers’ novels. Travers hated the movie with the fire of 10 million volcanoes. Her ire was so extreme that she nixed future movie sequels and, when the lavish musical was planned, even forbade brothers Robert and Richard Sherman, who wrote the film’s iconic songs, from contributing more. But that’s not a very nice story. And so in Saving Mr. Banks — named after the patriarch of the family for whom Julie Andrews’ deadpan do-gooder is employed — invents a new one.
(Matt Prigge, Metro)
When did Emma Thompson become so uninteresting? She used to be quick-witted, with naughty eyes, a fanged grin, and a hint of mystery. But playing Nanny McPhee seems to have ossified her, and there isn’t a surprising note in her performance. She and Hanks get nothing going in their long, draggy scenes, in part, I suspect, because the portrait of Walt has been vetted to death by every member of the Disney family along with a battery of executives. No way, no how can even a jot of unwholesomeness mar the Great White Father of an international conglomerate.
Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak supply some zest as the Sherman brothers (their Mary Poppins songs hold up, especially “Feed the Birds” and “Chi-chim-cheree”), but Paul Giamatti should be embarrassed to have accepted (and not risen above) the role of Travers’s life-affirming, working-class L.A. chauffeur, who calls her “Missus” and, after revealing that he has a disabled child, declares with gentle stoicism, “You can’t worry about the future, only today.” Too bad Mary Poppins wasn’t around to whomp him with her umbrella. A fair number of people have responded with tears and laughs to Saving Mr. Banks, but I found it interminable.
(David Edelstein, New York Magazine)
Nothing but a big corporation boasting about its own marvellousness.
(David Sexton, Evening Standard)

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