The Disney production group has had a pretty good idea. I wouldn’t say SAVING MR. BANKS ranks with the best films I’ve ever seen, but I can say that this movie was sublimely acted by Emma Thompson (Helen Goff, alias P. L. Travers), and Tom Hanks (Walt Disney), performing at the peak of their craft. Paul Giamatti of the film SIDEWAYS played Ralph the limousine driver for Mrs. Travers in Los Angeles when she came to (not) sign the rights to the Mary Poppins book from London. I liked seeing Bradley Whitford of the TV series West Wing as top team member in the collaboration between Disney Studios and Mrs. Travers. The film was directed by John Lee Hancock and is rated PG.
This film was recommended by my brother-in-law who let on that I would be watching a story unfold about the Mary Poppins’ author’s life and some cruelties in it. We mentioned the recommendation to two friends, and they also had a desire to catch it on the big screen, given that the “serious” “must-see” film TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE starring Chiwetel Eljiofor had left our area. All four of us felt engaged and amused throughout the approximately two hours, and praised the work of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. We had a bit of a feeling of wanting to see MARY POPPINS again on the big screen, even though the dancing penguins were flat cartoons in that old flick. Anyone who has seen MR. POPPIINS’ PENGUINS can attest to the amazing upgrade in film technology comparing the two.
What I liked about Mrs. Travers was: her look that fit her achievements as a famous author of inspiring children’s books, a reined-in look of thorough organization and the public reserve often thought of as “keeping up appearances.” She had brown curls never straying far from her head, black eyeliner– no smudging, and a slightly downward-to-the-right lipliner mistake. Her skin-toned, not-sheer hose over thin calves, and her pencil straight skirts called out, “all business and things appropriate.” She said to her driver when she was starting to warm up to him, “You’re someone who asks a lot of questions, and you do not limit yourself.” To which he responded, “Two.” I liked Mrs. Travers’ leadership style. It is one I could have used as a teacher to succeed longer in my classroom career. She knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that she would retain the rights to the production of her beloved Mary Poppins, a children’s savior popping in under a magic umbrella out of thin air.