Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 216 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: 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. [Walt Disney Pictures] Expand
  • Director: John Lee Hancock
  • Genre(s): Biography, Drama, History, Comedy, Music, Family
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 125 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 46
  2. Negative: 2 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 19, 2013
    Taken on its own, Saving Mr. Banks is a pleasant, crowd-pleasing endeavor. For those with a soft spot for Mary Poppins, however, it's a treasure.
  2. Reviewed by: David Gritten
    Oct 20, 2013
    It’s Thompson as the heroically unbiddable Travers who makes the most of it; her bravura performance effectively dominates the film.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 12, 2013
    The slick but moving Saving Mr. Banks transcends its corporate pedigree to become a great Disney movie about making a Disney movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Dec 12, 2013
    This is a lovingly rendered, sweet film.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 12, 2013
    Edges have been softened, harshness has been transformed into happiness sprinkled with eccentricity. And the paradox, of course, is that we're glad to be seduced. As Disney films go, this is a good one.
  6. Reviewed by: Genevieve Koski
    Dec 10, 2013
    Those willing or prone to buy into the idea of “Disney Magic” are likely to choke up at least once or twice over the course of Saving Mr. Banks, while those who resist it—the Traverses of the world—will choke on the heaping spoonfuls of sugar the film ladles onto its story.
  7. 30
    A fair number of people have responded with tears and laughs to Saving Mr. Banks, but I found it interminable.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 56
  2. Negative: 1 out of 56
  1. Dec 25, 2013
    I think "Saving Mr. Banks" is a best movie that is based on the actual real life events that took place in the making of the 1964 classic "Mary Poppins" Expand
  2. Jan 25, 2014
    The film tells the story of P.L Travers. We follow two narratives_ one of which is a fictionalized account of the writer's childhood in Australia, the other one is about Walt Disney's attempt to have the writer approve of his adaptation of her book and thus sign away her rights.

    Emma Thompson plays Travers with a dry British humour. She is sarcastic and cynical, retorting with witty remarks at every opportunity. Everyone else goes along with it because they need what is hers. She is less than enthusiastic about having her book adapted and has her doubts about the intentions of Disney's company to stay true to the source material.

    Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney, a magnate with a view to life only a fourteen year old could have in real life. He is never serious until he is. Wanting to adapt the book he had promised his daughters years ago he would, he relentlessly pursues Travers to sign the document.

    Annie Rose Buckley plays Helen, a young girl who sees her father, Goff (Colin Farrell) as a hero, although it is apparent from the start that he isn't. But he is a brilliant father and despite his many failures at life this fact makes the young Helen forever hold her father in the highest regard, to the extent that her whole life is affected by it. The young actress showed great promise and I'm already rooting for her career.

    The supporting cast did a satisfactory job. Paul Giamatti plays a limousine driver, Ralph, who takes Travers to different places. From the Sherman Brothers to Dolly to Don DaGradi, the humour was always there, often in the form of all of them attempting to make her approve of the different aspects of the film they have come up with.

    Though it started at a light note, it becomes increasingly serious as the woes of life catch up with the characters. But even in the midst of all the drama, a touch of humour here and there helped lighten the mood.

    The film followed one story in 1901 and the other in the 1960s. Both of these times were captured brilliantly with set design and costume. Add to that the great job done with the acting and writing, I give the film a score of 9.
  3. Dec 26, 2013
    This is a fabulous charming Disney film that does Mary Poppins justice. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson give top notch performances and the supporting cast are pitch perfect as well. Expand
  4. Dec 24, 2013
    Saving Mr. Banks is wonderful and delightful that gives us strong performances but the key is the relationship between P.L Travers and her story, while simultaneously reinforcing what we’ve always loved about Mary Poppins. Expand
  5. Mar 23, 2014
    i thought this movie was terrible . but then i was wrong because its kinda enjoyable and so was emma thompson . this movie was heartbreaking like philonema . but its okay
    Grade A
  6. Mar 19, 2014
    La genesi di ‘Mary Poppins’, film amato da generazioni di ragazzi in tutto il mondo (ma non dal sottoscritto), fu lunga e travagliata: non tanto perchè fu il primo lungometraggio disneyano con attori in carne e ossa, quanto per i bastoni messi tra le ruote da P.L. Travers, la scrittrice britannica autrice dei libri dedicati alla supergovernante. Il corteggiamento per avere i diritti richiese molto tempo e i paletti messi dalla scrittrice per la trasposizione – no al musical, no all’animazione, no al rosso – furono infine forzati da Walt in persona vincendo la scommessa commerciale, ma assicurandosi il risentimento a vita della donna. Il film racconta questo lungo lavoro di convincimento (e un po’ di coercizione), concentrandosi principalmente sulla trasferta hollywoodiana di Travers, che si ritrova catapultata in un mondo che non capisce – o che si rifiuta di capire – con quasi solo l’eccezione del rapporto che nasce con l’occhialuto autista Ralph. In parallelo, c’è la narrazione della genesi autobiografica di ‘Mary Poppins’ attraverso i flashback che illustrano il tenero rapporto dell’autrice con il padre durante la di lui discesa verso la rovina e la morte nell’Outback australiano: la rivolta del signor Banks – il padre dei ragazzi affidati a Mary – è la rivincita regalata al proprio genitore per interposto personaggio. Questo doppio binario è il punto debole più evidente della pellicola: il dramma che si svolge nei ricordi mal si combina con il tono in prevalenza di commedia del filone principale anche perché la rappresentazione è di maniera, malgrado la fotografia da cartolina (John Schwartzman è il responsabile della parte visiva) e le sentite interpretazioni di Colin Farrell e della giovane Annie Rose Buckley. Lascia poi perplessi che la sceneggiatura (di Kelly Marcel e Sue Smith) tratti in modo così frettoloso la figura di zia Ellie (Rachel Griffiths), che sta alla base della figura di Mary Poppins, anche se non riesce a ‘mettere a posto le cose’: ben diversi sono il ritmo e la godibilità della narrazione al ‘presente’, dove la bravura degli attori e la possibilità di giocare con le situazioni più contrastate aiutano ad alzare il livello in modo considerevole. Il lavoro quotidiano della costruzione del film – le musiche, l’animazione, le caratteristiche dei personaggi (dal signor Banks alla discussione sul nome da dare a sua moglie) – si scontra con i dubbi di Travers, ma è costantemente supportato dall’incoraggiamento e dalla partecipazione di Walt in persona. Ovviamente il tutto è edulcorato, ma sarebbe anche stato difficile pretendere che un film disneyano parlasse male del padre fondatore, e c’è qualche forzatura che però migliora la resa drammatica (Disney non andò mai in Inghilterra per convincere la riottosa controparte, ma la telefonata reale avrebbe avuto molta meno efficacia sullo schermo), ma in questa parte il film sa coinvolgere fino a culminare nella scena madre della prima proiezione. Lo stesso Hancock che filma in modo abbastanza banale il segmento australiano sembra trovare qui un’altra sensibilità, come se fosse più in sintonia con questi momenti: di certo, come già detto, lo aiutano una scrittura più serrata e un cast di notevole sicurezza. Circondati da impeccabili professionisti fra i quali spicca l’umanità dolente che Paul Giamatti regala a Ralph, Thompson e Hanks interpretano con grande finezza i personaggi principali interagendo con classe ed evitando di prevaricare. L’attrice inglese riesce a restituire appieno la figura di una donna scorbutica e fragile (scorbutica perché fragile), mentre Hanks si cala a fondo nei panni di un Walt non si sa quanto vicino a quello reale – l’attore è riuscito però a imporre un accenno al fumo che il vero Disney negò sempre in pubblico – ma che, con quella voce calda e suadente, avrebbe convinto anche i sassi. Expand
  7. Jan 13, 2014
    This was the most boring movie I've seen in years. I. Never thought I'd be like my father and fall asleep in movie theaters. But in this case yes I was literally falling asleep. The woman character was so irritating you find yourself wondering why Walt Disney didn't just kick her out of his office the first day, instead of tolerating her incessant whining for weeks. I recommend not seeing it and don't even bother renting it later. Collapse

See all 56 User Reviews