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Saving Mr. Banks

Disney movies walk a fine line between warm-and-fuzzy feel-goodery and all-out cheese, but few straddle the line as frustratingly as Saving Mr. Banks. This is, after all, a film that casts Tom Hanks as Walt Disney himself, struggling to get Mary Poppins made by awakening the inner child of prim, proper and persnickety British author P.L. Travers, played with eccentric hilarity by the great Emma Thompson. There’s considerable joy to be had in The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock’s depiction of 1960s Hollywood, and in watching Travers slowly seduced by the infectious songs that made Poppins a classic. Alas, Travers suffers more flashbacks than Timothy Leary. Each time the film hits a stride, we’re forced back to turn-of-the-century Australia to witness her upbringing with her whimsically alcoholic dad (Colin Farrell, definitely playing to character). These endless flashbacks take the wind out of the film like a rip in a kite. For all its considerable joy and fantastic performances, Saving Mr. Banks gets greedy: It starts out tugging at the heartstrings but, with its strained sentimentality, eventually tears a ventricle.
  • Genres: Docudrama
  • Running Time: 125 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, December 20, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Some Unsettling Images, Thematic Elements ]
  • Critic's Score: C
  • Starring: Emma Thompson [P.L. Travers], Tom Hanks [Walt Disney], Paul Giamatti [Ralph], Jason Schwartzman [Richard Sherman], Colin Farrell [Travers Goff], Bradley Whitford [Don DaGradi], Ruth Wilson [Margaret Goff], B.J. Novak [Robert Sherman], Rachel Griffiths [Aunt Ellie], Dendrie Taylor [Lillian Disney], Kathy Baker [Tommie], Victoria Summer [Julie Andrews], Ronan Vibert [Diarmuid Russell], Annie Buckley [Ginty], Melanie Paxson [Dolly]
  • Directed by: John Hancock [Director], Kelly Marcel [Screenwriter], Sue Smith [Screenwriter], Alison Owen [Producer], Ian Collie [Producer], Philip Steuer [Producer], Paul Trijbits [Executive Producer], Andrew Mason [Executive Producer], Christine Langan [Executive Producer], Troy Lum [Executive Producer], John Schwartzman [Cinematographer], Mark Livolsi [Film Editor], Thomas Newman [Original Music], Michael Corenblith [Production Design], Lauren Polizzi [Art Director], Daniel Orlandi [Costume Designer], Ronna Kress [Casting]
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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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