Saving Mr. Banks is a 2013 period drama film directed by John Lee Hancock from a screenplay written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Centered on the development of the 1964 film Mary Poppins, the film stars Emma Thompson as author P. L. Travers and Tom Hanks as filmmaker Walt Disney, with supporting performances by Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Farrell.
Named after the father in Travers’ story, Saving Mr. Banks depicts the author’s fortnight-long meetings during 1961 in Los Angeles, during which Disney attempts to obtain the screen rights to her novels.
The film merges two narratives. One showing Travers’ childhood in Australia and her relationship with her alcoholic father. The other covers the negotiations and development of the songs and story for Mary Poppins.
Emma Thompson is great and Tom Hanks captures the essence of Walt Disney. After seeing the stage production by the Court Theatre last year, the film changes the focus of the story, showing that Mr Banks is the central character of the story, not Mary Poppins.