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SAVING MR. BANKS

What to know: A compelling behind-the-scenes story of the making of Mary Poppins and the struggles Walt Disney faced in dealing with the author of the book in obtaiining the film rights.
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
Recommended age 12-18
125 minutes
FeatureFilm
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
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"Saving Mr. Banks" tells the untold story of author P.L.Travers and the journey she takes when meeting Walt Disney and working on the production of the movie "Mary Poppins." Mrs. Tarvers is a reserved, stubborn woman with a secretly troubled childhood. After 20 years of Walt Disney trying to get the rights to her best selling book "Mary Poppins," she reluctantly agrees to travel to Hollywood to meet the man himself. However, Mrs. Travers (Emma Thompson) has no intention of giving her beloved Mary up to someone she believes will ruin the characters she considers family. Mrs. Travers wrote the book and based the characters off of real people in her life as a way to hold onto the childhood she was deprived of and she feels that Walt just doesn't understand how important they are to her. Now. with the help of Walt and the rest of the writing team, Mrs. Travers has to learn to let go and forgive in order to better herself and make something magical happen.

I absolutely love this film. It is so surprisingly emotional and not at all what I expected. I think the entire film is absolutely beautiful and it captures Hollywood in the 60s perfectly. I love the fact that this film gives a huge look into the making of "Mary Poppins" and also opens up the secrets and struggles that both Mrs.Travers and Walt Disney dealt with as a child. Mrs. Travers lived in Australia with her mother, father and two sisters. She loved her father more than anything and he was also there for her with love and support. But he could never hold down a job, so the family had to move to the middle of nowhere. At this point you begin to see the real problems come to light. Her father is an out of control alcoholic and her mother is emotionally unstable. So, a woman comes to save the family and this is who Mrs.Travers bases her character Mary Poppins on. It is so emotional and touching to see the flashbacks to Mrs.Travers' childhood and the way they are seamlessly worked into the film is wonderful. It also gives a lot of insight to the film "Mary Poppins" itself because it shows how certain lines had a hidden message for Mrs.Travers and how her father was forgiven. It is a very sweet film and almost everyone in the theater, including me, was crying by the end.

My favorite character is Colin Farrell who plays Travers Goff, Mrs.Travers' father in the scenes of her childhood. It is so nice to see him play such a sweet and loving character because Colin almost always plays the villain or the tough guy in films. Even though Travers obviously had his issues with drinking, his heart was in the right place and he loved his daughters and would do anything for them. He did such a remarkable job of showing his character's subtle transformation from drinking and behaving in a way to where it doesn't seem like there's an issue, to making it very clear that all is not well for him and the family.

I recommend this film for ages 13+ because it is definitely much more mature than I expected and touches on some sensitive and intense subjects. When I saw the trailers I assumed this would be a good family film, something that is suitable for younger children. But after watching it, I strongly caution parents when considering letting their children see it. Overall this film is very good, despite the surprising maturity level. It is a very sweet, touching and funny film that made me laugh and cry and has a marvelous cast and characters. So be sure to head to a theater near you and see "Saving Mr. Banks!"

Reviewed by Raven Devanney, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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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.
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