Film review: Saving Mr Banks (PG)
A bit more than a spoonful of sugar
Friday 29 November 2013
Dir. John Lee Hancock; Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, 125mins
Walt Disney Pictures indulges in some self-congratulatory mythologising in this sentimentalised comic account of how avuncular Uncle Walt (Tom Hanks), after 20 years of asking, was finally able to persuade the precious, prim, haughty – and hard-up – British author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) to grant him the film rights to her Mary Poppins books. “Mary Poppins does not sing,” she insists, and “I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons.” But, of course, the joke is on her, because Walt’s film is a timeless family favourite. Thankfully, Thompson’s playing of Travers is so deft that we instantly warm to her, and forgive her her snobbery. Furthermore, her scolding of the song-writing Sherman brothers in the writers’ room is positively Joyce Grenfellian, while the snorting derision with which she greets Walt’s appraisal of Dick Van Dyke is priceless.
All of which jollity makes the repeated flashbacks to Travers’ formative years as the young child of an alcoholic Irish banker (Colin Farrell) frankly tiresome. We miss the twinkle of Thompson and Hanks in every one of these scenes. And, even worse, they insult the intelligence of both the film viewer and of Mrs Travers, with their implication that her stories were nothing but thinly fictionalised accounts of her own childhood.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 4 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Comic-Con 2014: Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Game of Thrones' George RR Martin set to attend
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
George R. R. Martin responds to 13-year-old fan's 'heartfelt' letter asking for a grisly death in Game of Thrones
Watch Susan Boyle sing 'Mull Of Kintyre' at the Commonwealth Games 2014 opening ceremony
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains