Saving Mr. Banks is a great movie about making a great movie. True confession. I've never seen Mary Poppins. I wasn't into syrupy, musical kids flicks in 1964. I'm not into them now either, but I'm told it's pretty good.
The story is about how Walt Disney got the book's author, P.L. Travers, to turn her self-treasured work into a musical. Tom Hanks plays Disney and a most-excellent Emma Thompson is the prickly Travers. They're surrounded by a terrific supporting cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman and a brilliant piece of work from Colin Farrell, who plays Travers' alcoholic but inspirational father.
Pick the adjective and it works. Heartwarming, uplifting, moving and don't forget stirring. They all fit and then some. Saving Mr. Banks is all over the place. You'll laugh, be angry, be moved to tears and then start over again.
My only complaint is casting Hanks as Disney. Not that he's bad in the part. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks, and he's always terrific. It's just that I grew up watching Disney on TV. He had one of the most distinct voices of all time. It had depth and width. Hanks' voice is higher pitched and flat.
That one I just couldn't get past. But it's my problem and one you won't have. Saving Mr. Banks is not to be missed.
Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.