Friday, January 10, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks is a movie about fathers.  For a while I hadn't understood the meaning of the title, until my dad explained to me that it was a metaphorical reference, based upon the father Mr. Banks from Mary Poppins.  With this new knowledge in mind, I walked into the theater expecting my heart to be genuinely moved, and it was.  As the movie engages with the story of Walt Disney trying to convince Pamela Tavers to sign over the rights of Mary Poppins, it also smoothly flows in and out of Mrs. Travers' backstory.  We discover her heartache-worthy childhood, heavily influenced by a father who was loving, filled with faults, and - most importantly -  adored by his daughter.

At the beginning Mrs. Tavers is just a stubborn, cranky old lady that I didn't find at all likable.  However, as her frozen demeanor thaws and she connects with Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) and her driver (played by Paul Giamatti) on a more personal level, she comes to grow on me.  Most of all, I begin to respect her for the way she treasures her work of art that is Mary Poppins, so much so that she fights Disney throughout their creative journey.  As a writer, I can appreciate her fears about maintaining the essence of her characters and the tainting that Disney and others may bring to them in the making of the movie Mary Poppins.  However, I know the argument and the walls that Mrs. Tavers erects have little to do with the art of her writing itself, but of the father that she desperately wishes to redeem.  Her story is both poignant and beautiful.

With its great actors, threads of humor, and a meaningful theme tying it all together, I think my father and I can both agree that Saving Mr. Banks is a MUST-SEE.  So, what are you waiting for?

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