Saving Mr. Banks (2013) (PG-13)

This is a guest review by Alan Jones

Everyone enjoys talking about themselves. In the same way movie makers love making movies about making movies. What more could a movie maker ask for except, "based on a true story". To sweeten the pot all you need is some feel-good, down-home,  Disney magic. My expectation of "Saving Mr. Banks", was another formulaic feature with all the requisite ups, downs and tissue worthy moments. I was not disappointed in this regard. 

However this movie did surprise me with a depth and style that exceeded my expectations. Disney had something to lose by making this movie. They could tarnish one of the most cherished movies of all time. Disney also had something to prove with this movie and that point alone is the triumph of this story. 

Which is greater, the creator or the created? When does the created leave the identify of the creator behind and become something that exists in the imagination of countless people. This is the question "Saving Mr. Banks" asks and answers with gratifying results. The entire structure of the telling of this story comes off with a genuineness that is not typical of your usual Disney fare. Part one of this success has to do with the quality of the acting. Tom Hanks plays the role of Walt Disney well without overdoing or sugar coating the role. Emma Thompson makes the movie with her portrayal of the difficult and complex P. L. Travers. It has earned her a well deserved Golden Globe nomination and I hope an Oscar nomination as well.  

We have all heard of the tortured soul of the artist. This is not something we normally associate with Walt Disney. The conflict of Disney and Travers makes a worthy story and a compelling movie. The first part of the movie dwells too long on the difficulty of the story of Travers' early life. There is also the predictable head long rush to the happy Disney ending. Despite these minor flaws, there is more food for thought, more conflict, and more satisfaction in the resolution than I expected. 

This is a movie that tells a great story, a story worth telling and is well worth the time. 

Four out of four stars.

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