Year of Release: 2013
Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Ruth Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Bradley Whitford, Lily Bigham, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths, Annie Rose Buckley
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
John Lee Hancock is a director whose films are very loose adaptations of truthful events, where the screenplays usually sidestep edgier or possibly controversial subject matters. "Saving Mr. Banks" sidesteps any information on the personal life of the author, and focuses solely on her trip to Los Angeles to work on the adaptation of her stories for the big screen. Emma Thompson in that regard excels, creating a character who is simultaneously irritating and ultimately endearing. Her possessiveness of the character Mary Poppins stems from her childhood, which is presented in a series of picture perfect flashbacks (with Colin Farrell and Ruth Wilson playing the parents), which are ridden with cliches and ultimately add nothing much to the story itself. Tom Hanks has little to do, but his performance as Walt Disney is subdued and adds the necessary backdrop for Emma Thompson's character friction and conflict. The remaining talented group of actors have little to do, but they bring the story to life with enthusiasm, particularly Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak and the stupendous Paul Giamatti. A film worth watching for the brief insight it provides about the process of bringing an iconic character to the screen.