Saving Mr. Banks  (2013)    79/100

Rating :   79/100                                                                     125 Min        PG

There was nary a dry eye in the house by the time this biographical tearjerker ended, and despite slightly over egging the pudding at times, it has set itself up nicely for multiple award nominations over the coming months. The plot focuses on the behind the scenes storyboarding and scriptwriting of ‘Mary Poppins’ (64), or, to be more exact, Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) invitation to P.L.Travers (Emma Thompson) to come work with his team in California to oversee that her Marry Poppins novel was being treated respectfully, in order to gain her signature on the rights to make the film – which Disney had been seeking for two whole decades. This task, however, would not prove to be easy.

Initially, Thompson’s Travers is far too ruthlessly curt and acidic to be likeable in any emotionally tangible way, but over time we warm to her and to the heart of the story as we learn that the titular Mr Banks (the father of the family in Mary Poppins) is in fact based upon Travers’ memories of her own father and her childhood in Australia – and we relive those memories via flashbacks, and great performances from Colin Farrell as her father and Annie Rose Buckley as her younger self.

Hanks is good as always (he grew his moustache to meticulously mirror Disney’s) but it is really Thompson that gives both a transformative and genuinely evocative performance – and so far she and Cate Blanchett for ‘Blue Jasmine’ are The Red Dragon’s top two contenders to take home the coveted best actress award at the Oscars next year …

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