Runtime: 120 minutes
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director: John Lee Hancock
Release Date: December 13, 2013, limited; December 20, 2013, wide
Saving Mr. Banks - Official Synopsis
Two-time Academy Award–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic Mary Poppins made it to the screen.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
Inspired by true events, Saving Mr. Banks is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney’s classic Mary Poppins made it to the screen—and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it.
Saving Mr. Banks - Fun for Families
Being PG-13, this movie won't be suitable for the younger audiences who love to watch the classic Mary Poppins movie. However, older kids will find a wealth of fascination in the story, as well as several great themes to discuss. Why did P.L. Travers have such animosity toward Hollywood? Were any of her feelings well-founded? How does making a book into a movie in general affect the original work? What are the ethical lines and how do the laws that govern artistic works protect writers and other artists? Yeah, the questions could go on and on. I predict this movie will be on several high school literary class syllabi.
Despite the fact that this classic movie (which has also been made into a Disney musical listed on About.com as one of the Top 5 Musicals for Kids) has been watched for generations and is based on a classic book, not many kids, or adults for that matter, have read the original work that was so vehemently protected by its author. Kids, as well as tweens and teens who may see Saving Mr. Banks, may enjoy reading the book and discussing whether the movie did the story justice or not. Young kids will also greatly enjoy the Marry Poppins soundtrack, which is just as fun today as it was when it came out in 1964.*Note: If you are looking for the Mary Poppins DVD, it may be hard to find for a decent price. Disney puts movies back into the "vault" after they have been available for a couple of years and then they become harder to get. But, Disney is releasing the 50th Anniversary Edition of the movie on Blu-ray an DVD December 10, 2013 just in time for the Saving Mr. Banks movie release. The new edition will include new bonus features as well as updated sound and picture.