Author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for the adaptation of her novel, Mary Poppins.
That doesn’t begin to do the movie justice.
I never really cared for Mary Poppins. For one thing I almost never like musicals. And Mary Poppins just seemed to be a bunch of pointless skits strung together. But Barb and I saw a trailer for Saving Mr. Banks a few weeks ago and it looked like it might have some promise.
The major plot line of the movie was that Travers needs the money but is exceedingly reluctant to allow Disney to change her vision of the characters and story. She holds back on signing the rights while simultaneously “working” with the screenwriter and music composers. It’s a contentious relationship with Travers pitted against everyone she meets at Disney who do their best to understand her and accommodate her outrageous demands. The demands include changing the grammar of lines in the script which describe a scene and banning of the use of the color red in the entire movie.
Scenes from Travers childhood in Australia are intertwined with scenes from Disney Studios in 1961. As the exceedingly personal and troubling origins of the Mary Poppins characters are revealed Travers becomes more a sympathetic person rather than just a grumpy old lady. I sometimes thought the world would have been a better place if the adult version of Travers had been dropped off in the middle of the Outback and forgotten.
Even though you know how the essence of how the movie has to end it has a tremendous amount of stress as it reaches its climax and then resolves the conflicts.
Barb wasn’t affected nearly as much as I was, so it probably is something about my abnormal empathy for females, but I found it emotionally overwhelming and draining.
That said, it was a very good movie. I liked it much better than Mary Poppins.