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Click the video for the full review including clips from the movie.
"Saving Mr. Banks" pulls back the curtain on the tumultuous process of making a classic Disney movie: 1964's "Mary Poppins." Walt Disney worked for 20 years to get the movie made - a promise he'd made to his daughters because they loved the books. But the prickly author, P.L. Travers, refused to hand over the rights.
So Disney did something unprecedented in granting Travers creative control and script approval. And she was, let's say, a bit picky and difficult.
Emma Thompson is outstanding as Travers - abrasive and brutally funny. Tom Hanks is wonderful as Disney - warm and caring, while showing signs of exasperation with his collaborator.
The lovely script by Kelly Marcel cares more about why "Mary Poppins" was made, rather than how. Why was Disney so adamant on making it, and why was Travers so protective of Mary and the Banks family? We get flashbacks of Travers' difficult childhood to help explain why she wrote the books and how she turned out this way.
Colin Ferrel is heartbreaking as Travers' father and the movie is filled with more strong supporting work from Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak.
"Saving Mr. Banks" is disarmingly emotional, but never manipulative. It all goes down in the most delightful way.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * *
Out of five stars